Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register runs through a number of factors that could contribute to the remarkable discrepancy between Shohei Ohtani’s uninspiring spring performance and his dominance on both sides of the ball during the regular season. Meanwhile, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic highlights (subscription link) Ohtani’s ravenous consumption of data and analytics that the Angels are providing him and his ability to make unnaturally quick adjustments. Veterans Ian Kinsler and Chris Young marveled to both Fletcher and Rosenthal about Ohtani’s work ethic and adaptability, while hitting coach Eric Hinske praised his willingness to ditch a leg kick he had long utilized at the plate in an effort to make his swing more efficient. Pitching coach Charles Nagy and catcher Martin Maldonado also weighed in on the way in which Ohtani has quickly adapted to his new environs while taking MLB by storm.
More from the division…
- Jurickson Profar exited Monday night’s game after a rough landing upon being upended by a sliding Mallex Smith at second base and is currently in MLB’s concussion protocol, as Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News writes. Even a short-term absence for Profar would further devastate the Rangers’ middle infield depth, as both Rougned Odor and Elvis Andrus are currently on the shelf. As Fraley points out, Eliezer Alvarez is the only middle infielder in the minors that’s on Texas’ 40-man roster, but he’s primarily a second baseman. Hanser Alberto could see his contract selected if Profar needs to go on the disabled list, though that’d require a corresponding 40-man move. Andrus is the only player who presently stands out as a potential 60-day DL candidate to make that move, but the initial prognosis on him called for a recovery of six to eight weeks. If the Rangers are optimistic that he can return on the shorter end of that window, they won’t want to lock him into a 60-day absence, creating the possibility that they’ll need to designate someone for assignment.
- The Athletics will call on right-hander Trevor Cahill to take the ball in tonight’s game against the White Sox, as MLB.com’s Jane Lee writes. Oakland brought Cahill back to the organization on a one-year, $1.5MM deal late in Spring Training after it was learned that young righty Jharel Cotton would require Tommy John surgery. The veteran Cahill, who broke into the Majors with the A’s back in 2009, has made a pair of starts in the minors as he builds up arm strength and tossed 83 pitches in his most recent outing, Lee notes. Manager Bob Melvin said that the right-hander might be able to go a bit longer than that this time out, though it obviously Cahill’s performance will dictate what type of leash he’s given.
- The Mariners are facing a significant number of roster decisions in the coming days, beginning with the debate over how to clear space on the 25-man roster for fifth starter Ariel Miranda tonight, writes Greg Johns of MLB.com. Seattle also needs to find space to activate Ben Gamel from the disabled list, as he’s now played nine games on his minor league rehab assignment and is largely ready for big league activity. But Gamel’s return presents its own set of issues, as the club will face a decision on struggling 44-year-old Ichiro Suzuki. As Johns examines at much greater length, the team essentially needs to determine whether it’s best to move forth with a seven- or eight-man bullpen while also clearing space for a few returning regulars and making some sort of determination on Ichiro.