Amidst a pitching staff that has continually shuffled through under-the-radar options, the Rangers have been impressed by Rafael Montero, writes T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com. A reclamation project who didn’t pitch in 2018 thanks to Tommy John srugery, Montero made a name for himself as a promising prospect in the Mets’ farm system. However, the New York organization relinquished the righty when he opted for free agency in lieu of an outright assignment. After cutting his teeth as a starting pitcher for years, the 28-year-old has transitioned to a bullpen role in Texas, where he has excelled for a team that has constructed a bullpen out of dozens of cast-offs and scrap parts. Appearing in 10 games since coming up in late July, Montero has compiled a 1.08 ERA while striking out 19 batters in 16 2/3 innings of work. He, along with the likes of Emmanuel Clase and Jonathan Hernandez, has been a second-half revelation for a team that employs an increasingly youthful bullpen after dealing Chris Martin and losing Jesse Chavez to injury. Factor in Jose Leclerc, and the Rangers may indeed have discovered some foundational bullpen pieces.
Here are all the latest updates from around the American League…
- Rays outfielder Kevin Kiermaier exited Sunday’s game prematurely after crashing into the outfield wall while attempting to catch a DJ Stewart fly ball. After the game, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times offered an encouraging update on the defensive virtuoso, Tweeting that X-rays indicated no broken bones, and that Kiermaier sustained a left ribcage contusion in the collision. It seems to be a minor injury for the Rays and their center fielder, who expects to be back in the lineup after an off day tomorrow. For the time being, it appears that Kiermaier has avoided a stint on the injured list, which would have been his second this season after a thumb sprain in July.
- In the same game, the Orioles’ Hanser Alberto sustained a knee to the head while attempting to take second base on a ball in the dirt. Manager Brandon Hyde did deliver some promising news, telling reporters (including Joe Trezza of MLB.com) that there was no evidence that the Orioles’ leading hitter suffered a concussion. Rather, it looks to be a head contusion and a cervical neck strain for Alberto. While it looks that the worst-case scenario has been avoided, it’s yet unclear what the diagnosis means for Alberto, with a recovery timeline unknown.
- More injury news coming from Chicago, where White Sox utilityman Leury Garcia also underwent X-rays after leaving today’s game following a hit by pitch. He was struck in the lower left leg while trying to bunt against the Rangers’ Emmanuel Clase. After the game, Scott Merkin of MLB.com reported that X-rays came back negative and that Garcia’s injuries did not extend beyond a left shin contusion. He’ll be day-to-day for the South Siders, who will have an off day tomorrow before hosting the Twins for a three-game set.