The latest from around the AL East…
- The Blue Jays have gotten little from their outfielders this season, though reinforcements could be on the way in the form of Lourdes Gurriel Jr. Sportsnet.ca’s Shi Davidi checks in on Gurriel’s development as a utilityman, after Gurriel was sent to Triple-A in mid-April following some rough defensive showings at second base. While Gurriel has continued to see a lot of time (10 games) as a second baseman at Triple-A, he has also been moved around to shortstop and left field. The latter position seems like Gurriel’s clearest route to playing time with the Jays, as the veteran combo of Freddy Galvis and Eric Sogard have performed well as Toronto’s middle infield duo, plus Brandon Drury and (when healthy) Devon Travis will be in the second base mix.
- The Orioles are facing more challenges than just an extensive on-field rebuild, as The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal explores in a wide-ranging look at the organization. The piece touches on such topics as the ownership transition to John and Lou Angelos from their father Pete, the league’s displeasure at the Orioles continuing their longstanding legal dispute with the Nationals over MASN broadcast rights, and the team’s declining attendance, which reflects both the Orioles’ losing records and the larger economic realities facing the city of Baltimore as a whole. Despite the latter issues, it doesn’t seem likely that the Orioles would actually move out of Baltimore — Rosenthal notes that negotiations are already underway to secure a new lease for the team at Camden Yards, as the current deal expires in 2021.
- Orioles pitching prospect Zach Pop underwent Tommy John surgery earlier this week, sidelining the right-hander for the rest of this season and likely at least half of the 2020 season. As MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko notes, Pop was shut down in Spring Training due to a significant drop in velocity, though the 22-year-old did eventually take the field and post an 0.84 ERA over 10 2/3 relief innings at Double-A Bowie. Pop was one of the five prospects Baltimore acquired for Manny Machado last summer, and MLB.com (which ranked Pop as the 19th-best minor leaguer in the Orioles’ farm system) touted his high-90’s fastball and a “plus-plus” sinker in its scouting report.
- After his rehab assignment was shut down over the weekend, Dustin Pedroia will be back playing on Friday, Alex Speier of the Boston Globe tweets. Pedroia experienced some discomfort in his bothersome left knee, though things have improved enough for the longtime Red Sox second baseman to begin games at Triple-A (Pedroia had previously been rehabbing for Boston’s Double-A affiliate). Knee problems have kept Pedroia out of action for all but nine games since the start of the 2018 season, and with rookie Michael Chavis on fire at the plate, it will interesting to see how the Sox handle things when Pedroia is finally ready to resume regular duty.