Royals first baseman Ryan McBroom caught the eye of Mike Matheny before Kansas City even acquired him and before Matheny was the team’s manager, writes Alec Lewis of The Athletic in an interesting profile of the 27-year-old (subscription required). Matheny, a special advisor with the Royals last year, was taking in a Red Sox Triple-A game to watch his son, Tate; Boston’s Triple-A club was playing the Yankees’ Triple-A affiliate, and Matheny happened to catch the Scranton club on a night when McBroom blasted two of the 26 long balls he hit in Triple-A last year. Two days later — and not through any recommendation of his own — Matheny was further surprised when the Royals acquired McBroom from the Yankees. As Lewis details, McBroom’s play following a September call-up and a very strong spring have positioned him to occupy a bench spot with the Royals at the very least.
Some more news from around the American League..
- It was something of a surprise to see the Mariners cut ties with right-handed reliever Sam Tuivailala last week, but Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times writes that shoulder fatigue has troubles 27-year-old since last year. The issue began while Tuivailala was rehabbing from a torn Achilles, and it culminated this spring with an alarming velocity drop. Tuivailala, who averaged 96.4 mph on his heater with the Cardinals in 2015 and 95.2 mph in his last mostly healthy season (2018) sat 85-86 mph and didn’t top 88 mph on the radar gun this spring, per Divish. Because he’s out of minor league options, the Mariners wouldn’t have been able to send him down to the minor leagues to build up arm strength, either.
- Rays first baseman Ji-Man Choi will fly back to his native South Korea this week, writes Jee-ho Yoo of the Yonhap News Agency. Choi will quarantine himself for the first two weeks of his return but then plans to begin working out with his brother, who runs a training facility in their hometown. That facility will be closed until early April as South Korea endeavors to slow the spread of the Coronavirus, but if able to reopen, that would seemingly provide Choi a better avenue to prepare for the season than he has in Florida, where both Tropicana Field and the Rays’ spring complex are closed. Since being acquired in a 2018 trade with the Brewers (which sent Brad Miller to Milwaukee), Choi has batted a combined .263/.365/.472 with 27 home runs, 32 doubles and three triples in 676 plate appearances (125 OPS+).