The Orioles recently benched Adam Jones for the entirety of a three-game series, and Eduardo A. Encina examines the awkward situation, writing that it’s becoming more apparent that the organization doesn’t have long-term plans for Jones. Encina notes that Jones “threw a wrench” into Baltimore’s plans when he vetoed a trade to the Phillies prior to the non-waiver trade deadline but opines that it’s nonetheless surprising to see the popular Jones sitting behind a cast of waiver claims and former Rule 5 picks (e.g. John Andreoli and Joey Rickard). Cedric Mullins is the only well-regarded prospect who’s been playing over Jones — the team did call up DJ Stewart earlier today — making Jones’ lack of playing time in his final weeks as an Oriole all the more curious. Jones’ benching did occur on the road, so perhaps the organization plans to give him more playing time for the team’s remaining home games, where fans can show their appreciation for the 11 seasons Jones has given them.
More from the division…
- Despite some questions in the Red Sox bullpen, the organization didn’t give much thought to calling up either Durbin Feltman or Travis Lakins in September, writes Rob Bradford of WEEI.com. President of baseball ops Dave Dombrowski tells Bradford that despite a strong minor league showing for each right-hander, neither can be considered a clear upgrade over the relievers currently in the Boston ’pen. A promotion of Feltman would’ve been extraordinarily aggressive, as he was selected in the third round of this year’s draft, though he was labeled a potential fast-track candidate and did pitch brilliantly across multiple Class-A levels. Bradford adds that Lakins’ injury history likely kept the 24-year-old down this year, as the team was wary about subjecting his arm to another two months of innings after he had a stress fracture in his elbow in 2017.
- Yankees slugger Aaron Judge took on-field batting practice for the first time since fracturing his wrist yesterday and is slated to do so once again today, writes Bryan Hoch of MLB.com. There’s no set timeline for him to face live pitching, however, and an eventual return date is even less clear. Judge said he felt “great,” though a day prior he’d acknowledged that the pain in his still-fractured wrist ranked at about a “four” on a scale of 10. Hoch noted recently that skipper Aaron Boone had previously said Judge wouldn’t resume swinging until his wrist had fully healed, but the lengthier-than-expected absence for Judge looks to have altered those plans.
- Rays pitching prospect Jose Mujica will miss the 2019 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery, reports Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times (via Twitter). The promising young righty, still just 22 years of age, reached Triple-A earlier this season but spent a bit more than two months on the DL this summer and hadn’t pitched since Aug. 22. He’s previously ranked among the organization’s top 30 farmhands, though not since the 2015-16 offseason, in Baseball America’s estimation. That said, Mujica posted a 3.03 ERA in 154 1/3 innings of Double-A ball last year (albeit with just 5.0 K/9) and turned in a stellar 2.70 ERA with 8.4 K/9, 2.5 BB/9 and 0.25 HR/9 in 36 2/3 innings of Triple-A work earlier this season. He’ll be just 24 years of age when he returns in 2020, so youth is still on his side as he looks to claim a spot in the team’s plans moving forward. It’s been a tough season for Rays farmhands, as the organization has seen Brent Honeywell, Anthony Banda and Jose De Leon as Tommy John victims in 2018.