Rustin Dodd of The Athletic chronicles Cheslor Cuthbert’s improbable ascent to the Major Leagues from his humble beginnings in a fishing village of 6,000 on a small island off the coast of Nicaragua (subscription link). As Cuthbert explains as part of the excellent interview, when he moved from Corn Island to Managua (Nicaragua’s capitol), he actually didn’t even speak any Spanish. His hometown spoke a form of English Creole, making the move to Managua to pursue a career in baseball at the age of 15 all the more difficult. With no understanding of the language in Managua and no family in the city, the decision for Cuthbert to move wasn’t an easy one to make, but it paved the way for him to receive a $1.5MM signing bonus — the largest for any Nicaraguan player in history — just a few years later with the Royals.
Some notes from around the AL Central…
- An MRI revealed that Tigers reliever Alex Wilson has a 95 percent tear of the plantar fascia in his right foot, reports Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press (Twitter links). While that doesn’t sound like great news for the right-hander, the nearly complete tear isn’t actually as bad as one might think. One doctor to whom Fenech spoke pegged the recovery time for such an injury at a mere two to three weeks, creating some hope that the veteran righty could return in relatively short order after being placed on the DL yesterday. Wilson has managed just a 4.50 ERA in 20 innings this season, though his 16-to-6 K/BB ratio gives a bit more cause for optimism.
- In a full column, Fenech adds that Tigers center fielder Leonys Martin is undergoing an MRI on his swollen left knee, per manager Ron Gardenhire. The issue seems to be related to a tendon in the back of Martin’s knee, though there’s no word yet as to how serious the issue or how much time he might miss. Through 138 plate appearances, Martin, who signed a one-year deal worth $1.75MM this winter, is hitting .294/.355/.508 with five home runs as Detroit’s primary leadoff hitter.
- Indians right-hander Danny Salazar will be shut down for at least the next week after receiving a platelet-rich plasma injection in his ailing right shoulder (link via Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer). Salazar was moved to the 60-day disabled list last week and has yet to pitch in the Majors this season due to an impingement in that right shoulder. At this point, there’s clear indication as to when the Indians can plausibly expect him to return to the roster. Mike Clevinger has stepped up and filled Salazar’s rotation spot quite nicely, though the fifth spot in the Cleveland rotation continues to be an issue.
- MLB.com’s Scott Merkin tackles several White Sox questions in his latest reader inbox, kicking off by discussing Adam Engel’s spot with the club moving forward. Per Merkin, the organization believes that Engel’s blistering speed gives him the potential for elite range in center field, but GM Rick Hahn has also been “forthright” in stating that the 26-year-old will need to produce more at the plate if he is to have any sort of long-term role with the team. The ChiSox have given Engel 423 plate appearances dating back to Opening Day 2017, but he’s posted a miserable .167/.237/.271 slash with a 33 percent strikeout rate in that time.