The Athletics seem to be receiving more promising news on the pitching front, as Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle has reported (Twitter links). Southpaw Sean Manaea is said to be “well ahead” of schedule in his effort to return from shoulder surgery. Whether that means there’s real hope he’ll be able to make it back on the MLB mound this season isn’t clear, but it appears that’s at least a possibility given that Manaea is beginning to throw. Meanwhile, youngster James Kaprielian seems to be making a quick recovery from the lat issue that sidelined him at the outset of camp. The last thing anyone wanted to see was another significant health problem for him, so that’s certainly promising news.
More on the injury front …
- Tigers righty Chris Smith appears headed for Tommy John surgery, as Evan Woodberry of MLive.com was among those to report on Twitter. It’s dreadful news for a hurler who has only briefly touched the majors but seemed to have a shot at earning a pen spot in Detroit. Smith pitched to a 3.93 ERA with 10.6 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 last year at the Triple-A level.
- The Rays will likely go without righty Ian Gibaut to open the season, as Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times tweets. It seems the broader prognosis for his lat injury is a good one, but the club will likely take things slow with the 25-year-old hurler. Gibaut hasn’t yet thrown at the game’s highest level, but has generally torched minor-league hitters throughout his four seasons as a pro. Last year, he worked to a 2.09 ERA with 12.1 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 over 56 Triple-A frames.
- Veteran utilityman Sean Rodriguez has a meniscus tear that may require surgery, per Matt Breen of Philly.com (Twitter link). That likely won’t make for a terribly lengthy absence, but obviously knocks out any chance of him breaking camp with the Phillies. Rodriguez could certainly still challenge for a job in Philadelphia or elsewhere after working back to health.
- White Sox prospect Luis Alexander Basabe has a hamate fracture, as MLB.com’s Scott Merkin recently reported on Twitter. That’ll keep him from full game action for about three months, according to initial estimates. Basabe, 22, isn’t a near-term consideration at the MLB level, so this news won’t have much of an immediate impact. It will slow his start to the season, though, which is unfortunate — particularly since he was looking to bounce back from a tepid showing at Double-A and tough trip through the Arizona Fall League.