Some rumblings from around both the NL and AL Central divisions…
- Reports back in December indicated that Cubs swingman Mike Montgomery wanted to be a full-time starting pitcher, though the southpaw told reporters (including Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times) that he was just indicating his preference rather than demanding a role change. “It wasn’t like, ’Hey, make me a starter or I get traded,’ ” Montgomery said. “It wasn’t that black and white. It was just, ’Hey, I want to be a starter.’….I think it’s obvious I want to do that, and I think it’s just a matter of time and place and situation.” Chicago’s addition of Yu Darvish would seem to bump Montgomery back into his swingman spot, yet that hasn’t changed his feelings about remaining a Cub. “I definitely want to be here. I know I want to be a starter, but, look, being a part of this team the last couple years, it’s a special group, and we not only have a good team, but I’ve never had more fun playing baseball,” Montgomery said.
- Also from Wittenmyer’s piece, he notes that the Cubs have been getting trade interest in Montgomery since the Darvish signing, with the Phillies and possibly other teams calling about Montgomery’s availability even long before Darvish came to Wrigleyville. Philadelphia’s interest isn’t a surprise, as the Phils have seemingly checked in on just about every controllable young starter that could conceivably be a trade candidate.
- The Cardinals will have evaluators at Tim Lincecum’s showcase tomorrow, according to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman (Twitter link). St. Louis will join at least 12 other teams in watching the former two-time Cy Young Award winner throw as he attempts a comeback after missing all over the 2017 season.
- Adam Frazier, Sean Rodriguez, and Jordan Luplow are the top choices competing for the open spot in the Pirates’ outfield, and GM Neal Huntington tells MLB.com’s Adam Berry and other reporters that the club feels good about that internal mix. “We’re comfortable with those three, that between those three we can get a productive outfielder out of that group, one that we feel compares well to the group of free-agent outfielders that are in our scope,” Huntington said. A new acquisition isn’t yet totally out of the question, however, as Huntington said last week that “There are still players of interest to us. If we’re able to find that common ground, then we’d be open to adding.”
- Hunter Dozier will mostly be used as a first baseman in the opening days of the Royals’ Spring Training camp, manager Ned Yost tells the Kansas City Star’s Rustin Dodd and other reporters. Dozier, Cheslor Cuthbert, and Whit Merrifield are the most viable first base options in camp, which Dodd notes is representative of the lack of depth at the position. Dozier, picked eighth overall by K.C. in the 2013 draft, has played just 12 games at first base over his five-year pro career. All of the uncertainty around the Royals’ first base spot would of course disappear if Eric Hosmer was re-signed, though not much seems to be developing on that front as Kansas City and San Diego continue to be perhaps the only two teams vying for Hosmer’s services.
- Tigers right-handed relief prospect Bryan Garcia has suffered a torn UCL and will undergo Tommy John surgery tomorrow, the team announced (hat tip to MLB.com’s Jason Beck). Dr. James Andrews will perform the procedure. Garcia was a sixth-round pick for Detroit in the 2016 draft and was making a rapid rise through the organization, pitching at four different levels in 2017 including 13 1/3 innings at Triple-A Toledo. Over 73 2/3 pro innings, Garcia posted an impressive 2.20 ERA, 12.2 K/9 and a 4.00 K/BB rate. Unfortunately, the 22-year-old now faces a recovery period of 12-15 months.