As the 2023 regular season continues, here are three things we’ll be keeping an eye on around the baseball world throughout the day today:
1. Dodgers’ prospect to debut:
According to Juan Toribio of MLB.com, the Dodgers are set to call up right-hander Emmet Sheehan to make his major league debut today. Sheehan, who ranks 13th in the Dodgers’ system per MLB Pipeline, was picked in the sixth round of the 2021 draft and has impressed over the past calendar year, posting a 2.83 ERA in High-A last season before making six strong starts in the Arizona Fall League (3.54 ERA, 29.3% strikeout rate). In 2023, Sheehan has improved on those performances, pitching to a sterling 1.86 ERA in 53 1/3 innings at the Double-A level while striking out a whopping 41.7% of batters faced. Now Sheehan figures to be tasked with taking the ball at Dodger Stadium against the club’s biggest rival. The youngster will need to be added to the 40-man roster, but with an open spot available, the Dodgers will only need to make an active roster move to accommodate Sheehan.
2. Angels’ infield woes:
After putting Zach Neto on the injured list earlier in the day with an oblique issue, the Angels saw their infield depth taken apart in last night’s game against the Rangers, as discussed by Sam Blum of The Athletic. Gio Urshela exited the game with a hip injury and spoke to reporters on crutches after the game, indicating he expected to miss time. Meanwhile, third baseman Anthony Rendon was struck in the wrist by a pitch and left him unable to swing the bat for the rest of the game, though he did stay in the game on defense due to the lack of options on the bench. Rendon is set to undergo testing today to determine the severity of his injury.
The injuries come at a brutal time for the Angels, who have surged in recent weeks to a 39-32 record, just one game back of a Wild Card spot in the AL. If Urshela and Rendon both join Neto on the shelf, however, the club’s infield will be in dire straits. Jared Walsh can take over for Urshela at first base while Luis Rengifo and Brandon Drury combine to cover second and third, leaving shortstop to Andrew Velazquez. Michael Stefanic and Livan Soto are both infield options on the 40-man roster who could provide depth behind that group.
3. Steele poised to return tomorrow:
Per MLB.com, Cubs left-hander Justin Steele did a light workout on the mound yesterday in preparation for what the club plans on being his return to the starting rotation tomorrow against the Orioles. Though the Cubs have not yet announced a starter for tomorrow’s game, manager David Ross confirmed to reporters that the hope is for Steele to take the ball. Steele went on the injured list at the beginning of the month with a mild forearm strain, meaning the Cubs will need to make an active roster move to accommodate him.
Steele’s return would be a major boon for a Cubs team that has struggled to a 31-37 record this season but is coming off a sweep of the division-leading Pirates that put them within 3.5 games of the crown in a weak NL Central. In 12 starts this season, Steele has impressed with a 2.65 ERA and 2.84 FIP across 68 innings while slotting into the front of Chicago’s rotation alongside right-hander Marcus Stroman.