The latest on a few American League clubs…
- The Astros’ regular season will begin on the road from April 1-6, and recently signed right-hander Jake Odorizzi told reporters (including Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle) that it’s “reasonable to expect” he won’t be available during that stretch. However, Odorizzi could make his debut with the team sometime in its April 8-14 homestand. Odorizzi inked a two-year, $23.5MM guarantee with the Astros, but he’s a bit behind schedule after sitting on the free-agent market until earlier this month.
- First baseman Mike Ford and infielder Thairo Estrada were among the players the Yankees optioned Friday. The Ford move could be good news for first baseman/outfielder Jay Bruce, a minor league signing who looks more and more likely to earn a season-opening roster spot. Ford’s career began auspiciously in 2019, during which he showed off serious power while limiting strikeouts, but he stumbled to a horrendous .135/.226/.270 line with just two home runs in 84 plate appearances last year. Estrada, who also debuted in 2019, has spent time in both the infield and outfield. He batted a weak .167/.231/.229 over 52 PA in 2020.
- The Twins optioned southpaw Devin Smeltzer and righty Shaun Anderson, ruling them out for the Opening Day roster, Phil Miller of the Star Tribune relays. Both pitchers had been competing to earn spots in Minnesota’s staff. Smeltzer made 18 appearances (seven starts) with the Twins from 2019-20 and registered a 4.57 ERA with a below-average strikeout rate (19.3 percent) and an above-average walk rate (6.2 percent) in 65 innings. Anderson, whom the Twins acquired in a trade with the Giants during the offseason, could only muster a 5.17 ERA/5.26 SIERA over 111 1/3 frames in the previous two years.
- Righty Garrett Whitlock has emerged as a lock to make the Red Sox bullpen, according to Chris Cotillo of MassLive.com. Whitlock – whom the Red Sox took from the Yankees in last December’s Rule 5 Draft – has starred so far this spring, having allowed one earned run while striking out 12 over nine innings. The 24-year-old has also put up stellar numbers in the minors, where he owns a 2.41 ERA in 205 1/3 innings, but hasn’t pitched professionally since he underwent Tommy John surgery in July 2019. FanGraphs’ Eric Longenhagen ranked Whitley as Boston’s No. 30 prospect in January.