Zach Britton appears to be making good progress in his recovery from Achilles tendon surgery, and some in the Orioles organization think the closer could return to action by early June, MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko writes. An even quicker return isn’t out of the question, though Britton’s 60-day DL placement means that May 28 is the absolute earliest he can get back on the field, and the O’s might not want to rush him unless they’re absolutely certain Britton is ready to go.
Here are some more items from both the AL and NL East divisions…
- Blue Jays manager John Gibbons told Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi (Twitter links) and other reporters that infielder Gift Ngoepe will break camp with the team. Veteran Danny Espinosa was recently signed to a minor league deal to provide some competition for the utility field job, though it appears Ngoepe will head north to begin the season. He’ll provide backup at shortstop behind Aledmys Diaz, who is himself filling in at the position for the injured Troy Tulowitzki. Gibbons also said that more roster moves will be in the works tomorrow, as the Jays need to clear 40-man roster spots for John Axford and Tyler Clippard.
- One of those 40-man spots could be opened up if Tulowitzki is moved to the 60-day DL, as the Blue Jays veteran continues to be plagued by bone spurs in his right ankle. Davidi reports that Tulowitzki is visiting with an ankle specialist tomorrow to determine the next course of action, and surgery could be a possibility.
- The Mets don’t have another trade in the works involving Bryce Brentz, MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo reports, so it looks like they will try to keep the outfielder in the organization. Brentz was claimed off waivers from the Pirates on Monday and would have to pass through waivers again before the Mets could send him down to Triple-A, as Brentz is out of minor league options. New York already has a crowded outfield picture that includes Yoenis Cespedes, Jay Bruce, Juan Lagares, and Brandon Nimmo, plus Phillip Evans and Jose Reyes capable of corner outfield work and Michael Conforto expected back from the DL early in the season.
- Sam Fuld’s status as a former player and a newly-minted member of the Phillies analytics department makes him an ideal conduit for bridging the gap between advances metrics and everyday baseball use, Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Daily News writes. “Players are told to do something from someone that doesn’t quite have playing experience at a high level and it can be frustrating when you’re told to do something that is really, really difficult,” Fuld said. “It’s taken for granted sometimes. Hopefully I can relate.” Rhys Hoskins, for one, has already taken to Fuld’s advice, such as using a “cheat sheet” to determine specific batter-by-batter positioning while in the outfield.