Let’s take a look around the majors’ West divisions…
- With the Athletics looking to add a third catcher when rosters expand, they’re set to choose between minor leaguers Sean Murphy and Dustin Garneau, manager Bob Melvin told Martin Gallegos of MLB.com. “There will be a lot of talk leading up into Sunday on who that will be,” Melvin said. The more hyped option is certainly Murphy, one of the best prospects in baseball (MLB.com ranks him 44th). The 24-year-old has gotten his first extensive action at the Triple-A level this season and laid waste to enemy pitchers, whom he has teed off on for a .337/.415/.702 line (158 wRC+) with 10 home runs in 123 plate appearances. However, injuries have led to an abbreviated campaign for Murphy, and the A’s might not promote him yet if they don’t expect him to garner much playing time. In that case, the edge would go to the veteran Garneau, who was with Oakland earlier in the season before it outrighted him to Triple-A on Aug. 19.
- The Giants are shutting down right-handed reliever Trevor Gott for two weeks because of a Grade 1 UCL sprain and a flexor strain, according to Andrew Baggarly of The Athletic. Surgery’s not an option at the moment, fortunately, and manager Bruce Bochy’s hopeful Gott will pitch again this season. If not, this will go down as an encouraging year for Gott, whom the Giants acquired from the Nationals for cash considerations in February. While Gott has put up an unappealing 4.44 ERA in 52 2/3 frames, he has also notched a 3.12 FIP with 9.74 K/9 against 2.91 BB/9 and almost doubled his swinging-strike rate since last year (from 5.6 percent to 10.8).
- More from Baggarly, who tweets that righty Johnny Cueto’s another Triple-A start away from rejoining the Giants. The 2018 Tommy John patient’s scheduled to take the ball Saturday, after which the Giants hope to activate him. That would seem to align with Bochy’s Sept. 8 projection for Cueto. The Giants’ playoff hopes are all but dead at this point, but they’ll nonetheless be glad to welcome Cueto back in advance of 2020. Next season will be the second-last guaranteed campaign of the six-year, $130MM contract San Francisco handed the then-ace prior to 2016.
- The Rangers are contemplating September promotions for hard-throwing minor league relievers Joe Barlow and Demarcus Evans, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports. Neither pitcher is on the Rangers’ 40-man roster, which is full, but the team plans to add the soon-to-be Rule 5-eligible pair in the coming months anyhow, as Grant notes. The 23-year-old Barlow has largely mowed down pro hitters since he joined the Rangers as an 11th-round pick in 2016, though he has struggled over his first 15 1/3 Triple-A innings this season. Evans, 22, was a 25th-rounder in 2015 who has risen to Double-A ball for the first time this season. He has overcome a high walk rate there (5.4 per nine) to post a microscopic 1.08 ERA with 14.58 K/9 in 33 1/3 innings.