C.J. Cron appears to be the favorite to claim the Rockies’ open first base job, writes Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post as part of a reader mailbag. Signed to a minor-league deal in February, Cron is competing with Josh Fuentes and fellow non-roster invitee Greg Bird. Installing Cron at first would allow Fuentes to see action at multiple corner positions off the bench. That might make it tough to also carry Bird as a lefty bench bat, although Saunders notes there’s a chance all three players make the season-opening active roster, particularly if Brendan Rodgers is forced to start the year on the injured list after straining his hamstring. Cron and Bird would each need to be added to the 40-man roster if they make the team, although Colorado currently has one open 40-man spot.
More from around the sport:
- Athletics left-hander A.J. Puk made his Cactus League debut today. He threw approximately 30 pitches this afternoon and plans to toss around 45 in his next outing, writes Matt Kawahara of the San Francisco Chronicle. Manager Bob Melvin has mentioned Puk as a potential option for the season-opening rotation if Mike Fiers, suffering from hip inflammation, isn’t ready by the first week of April. It remains to be seen if Puk will have enough time to sufficiently build up strength for the start of the season himself.
- The Brewers placed Mark Mathias on the 60-day injured list yesterday to create roster space for Travis Shaw. It seems Mathias will be on the shelf for significantly longer than that two-month minimum. The utilityman suffered a posterior labrum tear, he told reporters (via Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel). Mathias is awaiting a second opinion on the possibility of rehabbing the injury without surgery; even if he can avoid going under the knife, the 26-year-old says he’s likely looking at a three to four month layoff. Mathias made his MLB debut last season.
- Today’s news that Felix Peña likely won’t be available for Opening Day leaves the Angels’ bullpen down an important arm. After the injury, general manager Perry Minasian acknowledged the club might now go outside the organization to acquire additional relief help, Fabian Ardaya of the Athletic was among those to relay. Free agency still offers a few possibilities, with 32-year-old righty Shane Greene arguably the top arm available. Greene’s market has been rather quiet all offseason, but he continues to throw in anticipation of an opportunity, per Jon Heyman of MLB Network (Twitter link).