With each bump and bruise this time of year comes the potential for missed time during the regular season, perhaps especially so for those late signees getting delayed starts to their Spring Training. As Opening Day fast approaches, let’s get the lowdown on a few injury reports from camp…
- Rockies righty Antonio Senzatela has an infected blister on his right heel and will be out “a while,” per manager Bud Black (via the Denver Post’s Patrick Saunders). Senzatela, 24, was competing for the final spot in Colorado’s rotation with Chad Bettis, who now appears to have the role on lock. The Venezuelan-born righty had made just eight starts above the high-A level before opening the 2017 season with the team, and again played a major role in the club’s wild card-run last season. His fastball-heavy repertoire is devoid, at this point, of a true swing-and-miss pitch, so perhaps the 6’1 righty could indeed use further minor league seasoning. Still, despite some sophomore regression, Senzatela’s been reasonably effective thus far in his young MLB career, and the Rockies are almost certain to require his services at some point this season.
- Padres righty Jacob Nix has been shut down with right arm soreness, per MLB.com’s AJ Cassavell. Nix, 23, shares with Senzatela the same allergy to missing bats, but was a legitimate candidate for the fifth spot in a wide-open San Diego rotation. Once the victim of a too-clever Astros draft scheme, in which the team agreed to terms with the young righty but was forced to renege after a bonus-pool shortage resulting from the Brady Aiken fiasco, Nix has long flashed top-of-the-rotation tools but struggled with consistency. Last season’s debut was a disaster: the 6’5 righty was torched to the tune of a 7.02 ERA/5.83 FIP with 8 HRs allowed in just 42 1/3 IP. He, too, is due for a longer minors simmer, having made just one start above the AA level in his young career thus far.
- Bryce Harper is day-to-day with ankle swelling, per ESPN’s Jeff Passan (via Twitter). Harper was hit by a pinch in yesterday’s Phillies game, though even by this morning the swelling had reduced. All tests came back negative, per Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Inquirer (via Twitter), while a number of reporters quote manager Gabe Kapler as projecting confidence in Bryce’s ability to be ready by Opening Day. All in all, this appears to be much ado about nothing, but as is the case with any injury, it’s worth tracking for aftereffect. Due to the late date of his signing, Harper has seen limited action in spring thus far, going 0-5 with three strikeouts, three walks, and a stolen base, though the focus here is obviously not yet on production. The Phillies season opens less than two weeks from today with their home opener against the Braves on Thursday, March 28th.
- Tigers presumptive right fielder Nick Castellanos remains out of the lineup for the time being, per MLB.com’s Jason Beck (via Twitter). Castellanos is likely to return to Grapefruit League play within a couple of days. He was seen taking batting practice in the cage today and at least provided cursory affirmation that tests on his bruised left hand revealed no significant damage, per Chris McCosky of the Detroit News (via Twitter). Castellanos has been bandied about often here at MLBTR this winter as a trade candidate, which appears likely to continue as there have been no extension talks between the right-handed slugger and the club.
- The Braves may be without their ace until “mid/late April,” per the Athletic’s David O’Brien (via Twitter). Mike Foltynewicz has missed most of Spring Training with a sore elbow after a breakout season. Folty was stellar in 2018 as he went 13-10 with a 2.85 ERA (3.37 FIP) over 183 frames. There was much speculation about the Braves bolstering their rotation this winter, either via free agency or by bundling their prospects in a trade, but they mostly hung tight despite losing Anibal Sanchez – who enjoyed a different variety of 2018 breakout – to the rival Nationals. The Braves have plenty of depth to cover, but much of their standing pat must have been predicated on a healthy Folynewicz leading the charge again in 2019. Atlanta will lean on Julio Teheran, Kevin Gausman, and Sean Newcomb to hold down the fort until Folty’s return.