The start of spring training always brings plenty of reports of players experiencing ’tightness’ or ’discomfort’, and while many of those wind up being rather minor, the Rangers in particular are dealing with plenty of seemingly minor ailments this spring, as Levi Weaver of The Athletic reports.
Star winter signing Jacob deGrom was experiencing left-side tightness early in camp, but is scheduled to now throw his first live bullpen session on Wednesday, as Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports. Fellow off-season recruit Nathan Eovaldi is also experiencing some left-side tightness, and is taking a few days off. Jon Gray was a late scratch from Friday’s spring game with back tightness, while Jake Odorizzi is dealing with arm fatigue and is a bit behind in his schedule. It doesn’t stop there, as Jose LeClerc and Owen White are both feeling neck tightness.
There doesn’t appear to be a great deal of concern within the Rangers, and instead it seems the team is just being extra cautious so early in the spring. “When we started spring, in addressing the pitchers especially, we said, ‘Hey, in the early part here, let us know. Anything going on, we don’t want any major setbacks. We can back off at this time.’ Spring training can be pretty long, so in the early part, you’re going to be a little bit more cautious,” manager Bruce Bochy said Friday.
Here’s some more bits and pieces from around baseball:
- Austin Slater had an MRI on his elbow but it came back clear, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. The Giants announced during the week that Slater would rest for a week with elbow neuritis. The news that the MRI is clear is certainly a positive one for Slater, and it seems it won’t be long before he’s able to make his spring debut for the team. Slater hit .242/.337/.392 with seven home runs across 259 plate appearances for San Francisco last season, and looks set to serve as a bench bat for the Giants with Joc Pederson, Mitch Haniger, Michael Conforto and Mike Yastrzemski to get the bulk of the outfield reps.
- The Marlins are giving youngster Jordan Groshans time at first base this spring, as Jordan McPherson of the Miami Herald reports. Groshans typically handled the other infield spots coming up through the minors, and spent just 40 previous innings at first. Groshans is on the fringes of cracking Miami’s opening day roster, but if he can show he can handle first adequately it would certainly provide a boost to his chances. A first round pick by the Blue Jays in 2018, Groshans came over to the Marlins in the Anthony Bass deal last year. He got a brief cup of coffee in the big leagues, hitting .262/.308/.311 across 65 plate appearances. With Garrett Cooper, Joey Wendle, Luis Arraez and Jean Segura fairly well locked in as Miami’s infield starters, there’s no obvious path to a starting job there but the Marlins bench is a lot less certain, providing Groshans with a solid chance to stick on the active roster to begin the season.
- Speaking of positional changes, the Yankees are planning to give Oswaldo Cabrera some time in center field this spring, Aaron Boone told the YES Network’s broadcast during today’s game against the Rays. Cabrera impressed during his rookie year, posting a respectable .247/.312/.429 line with six home runs across 171 plate appearances. Yet it was his defense that really stood out, as Cabrera, an infielder for almost all of his career, took to the outfield extremely well, earning nine Defensive Runs Saved for his work on the grass. That’s put him firmly in the race with Aaron Hicks, Estevan Florial and Rafael Ortega to be the Yankees’ opening day left fielder. It does seem more likely he winds up in a utility role though, covering the infield, corner outfield spots, and now, perhaps, center field.