Some items from both the NL and AL West divisions…
- The Dodgers are moving Kenta Maeda and Ross Stripling to the bullpen, manager Dave Roberts told reporters (including The Athletic’s Pedro Moura and the Los Angeles Times’ Andy McCullough). The club was facing a rotation overload with Alex Wood and Hyun-Jin Ryu both coming off the DL this week, though Stripling’s role change is a bit of a surprise given how well he has pitched. Roberts said he hopes to let Stripling start again at some point this season, though the Dodgers have a greater need in the bullpen with Kenley Jansen on the DL for the near future. Maeda has also pitched well this year, though he “appears there [the bullpen] to stay,” McCullough said. It’s probably safe to assume that the team’s pitching plans will continue to remain somewhat fluid, given how Dodgers seem to be constantly dealing with injuries, yet they also get consistently good results from just about everyone they slot into the rotation.
- Baseball America recently released its updated organizational talent rankings, rating all 30 teams on the quality and depth of prospects in their minor league pipelines. The Padres took the #1 spot, rising from third place in BA’s previous ranking from earlier in the season. San Diego is deep enough is both pitching and position player prospects that “general manager A.J. Preller’s biggest task is sorting out which prospects are keepers and which ones should be traded to speed the big league club’s rebuild.” The full 30-team ranking is available to Baseball America subscribers.
- The Angels announced that left-hander Tyler Skaggs has been placed on the 10-day DL due to a left adductor strain, with righty Eduardo Paredes called up from Triple-A in a corresponding move. Skaggs was only just activated yesterday from a DL stint with the same injury, and he also missed time in July due to a problem with his right adductor. No stranger to injuries throughout his career, Skaggs has already tossed a career-high 116 2/3 innings this season, posting a 3.78 ERA, 3.51 K/BB rate, and 9.5 K/9.
- Astros manager A.J. Hinch provided some updates on injured players to reporters today, including MLB.com’s Christian Boutwell (Twitter links). Chris Devenski and Brian McCann are on pace to begin rehab assignments soon, while outfielder Jake Marisnick is facing a lengthy absence after being placed on the DL yesterday with a groin injury. Marisnick will be out of action for “at least for the next few weeks,” Hinch said, possibly not returning until the September roster expansion.
- The Rangers’ “de-load” program for pitching prospects focuses on “acclimation, education and, they hope, injury prevention,” for these prized young arms, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News writes. The idea behind the program is to help better prepare these minor leaguers, some of whom are just out of high school, as they begin their careers in professional baseball. This includes sessions on everything from physical fitness to charting pitches to even just how to conduct oneself in a clubhouse. Interestingly, there isn’t much actual pitching (whether in practice or games) involved in this program. “Let’s get their bodies and minds right on a daily basis so that when they are ready to pitch, they’ve got building blocks,” said Paul Kruger, Rangers assistant director of player development. “We wanted something that could be used to build a better routine from Day One.”