Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano departed in the third inning Sunday after taking a pitch off the right hand from Tigers starter Blaine Hardy, Greg Johns of MLB.com was among those to report. Seattle’s left to hope this isn’t a serious injury for Cano, who has slashed a robust .287/.381/.441 over the first 168 plate appearances of his age-35 campaign. Thanks in part to Cano’s efforts, the Mariners have jumped out to an encouraging 22-16 start as they attempt to break a league-worst 16-year playoff drought. The club replaced Cano on Sunday with utilityman Andrew Romine.
More from the AL…
- With second baseman Dustin Pedroia nearing a return from offseason knee surgery and knuckleballer Steven Wright set to come back Monday from a 15-game suspension for a violation of the league’s domestic violence policy, the Red Sox have some difficult roster questions looming, Jen McCaffrey of The Athletic observes (subscription required). Pedroia’s return looks likely to force a choice between Brock Holt and Blake Swihart for Boston’s utility infielder spot. Holt’s better suited for that, even though he has an option left and Swihart doesn’t, McCaffrey argues. On the pitching side, the Red Sox may have to select between sending down righty Hector Velazquez (who does have an option left) or losing the out-of-options lefty Brian Johnson once Wright’s back. Alternatively, the Red Sox could keep those two and jettison Wright, who’s also out of options, McCaffrey notes. Wright’s only two years removed from earning an All-Star nod, but injury issues – including season-ending left knee surgery last May – have helped derail him since then. He hasn’t made a big league appearance since April 29, 2017.
- Rays two-way prospect Brendan McKay, the fourth pick in last year’s draft, is inching closer to the majors. The Rays have moved him from Single-A to High-A, per Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. Prior to his promotion, the left-handed McKay, 22, opened the year with a 1.09 ERA and 14.59 K/9 against .73 BB/9 in 24 2/3 innings. He also held his own as a hitter, albeit not quite as much, with a .254/.484/.333 line in 91 PAs. Rays senior VP Chaim Bloom told Topkin that McKay “has been exceptional,” adding: “The results we’ve seen (as a pitcher) have been so phenomenal that he would be really hard-pressed to match that as a hitter. But he’s shown such as advanced approach at the plate, in fact to the point it felt at time he was being pitched around at that level.”
- Tigers third baseman Jeimer Candelario was out of the starting lineup Sunday with a left wrist problem. The issue has bothered the 24-year-old “off and on” throughout his career, notes MLB.com’s Jason Beck, who adds that Candelario will undergo an MRI (Twitter links). Despite his balky wrist, the switch-hitting Candelario has gotten off to a terrific start this year with a .272/.359/.497 line and five home runs in 167 trips to the plate. Meanwhile, teammate Jordan Zimmermann won’t come off the disabled list to make his scheduled start Wednesday, Evan Woodbery of MLive.com tweets. The right-hander isn’t ready to return from the shoulder impingement that shelved him earlier this week.