With the 2023 MLB regular season 60% complete, here are three things we’ll be keeping an eye on around the baseball world throughout the day today:
1. Hall of Fame Induction Weekend:
The Hall of Fame induction ceremony for the class of 2023 is set to take place this weekend, with Fred McGriff and Scott Rolen set officially join the ranks of Hall of Famers enshrined in Cooperstown. 50 Hall of Famers will be in attendance in total, with the full list of participants available through the National Baseball Hall of Fame website. A variety of programming leading up to the induction ceremony is scheduled on MLB Network throughout the weekend. The ceremony itself will take place on Sunday at 12:30pm CT and can be watched via MLB Network, MLB.com, MLB.TV, or through the MLB app.
2. Mejia to undergo MRI:
Rays catcher Francisco Mejia exited yesterday’s game with the Orioles after the sixth inning after seemingly injuring his knee on a play at the plate in the fourth inning. Following the game, manager Kevin Cash told reporters, including Kristie Ackert of the Tampa Bay Times, that Mejia was undergoing an MRI to determine the severity of the injury, which Cash suggested could be a sprain. The only extra catcher on the club’s 40-man roster is Rene Pinto, who Ackert notes is currently with the Florida Complex League on a rehab assignment.
If Mejia misses time and Pinto isn’t ready to go, the club’s other Triple-A options are Blake Hunt, Roberto Alvarez, and Nick Dini. Of the three, only Dini has past experience in the majors. If Mejia’s injury proves to be significant, it could incentivize the club to swing a deal for a catcher ahead of the trade deadline. Joey Bart of the Giants and Yan Gomes of the Cubs were the only two catchers to appear on MLBTR’s Top 50 Deadline Trade Candidates list earlier this month, though Tom Murphy of the Mariners and Austin Hedges of the Pirates both received additional mentions.
3. Cubs infielders getting healthy:
Some positive injury news from the north side of Chicago today, as infielder Nick Madrigal is headed for a rehab assignment with Triple-A Iowa, per MLB.com. The 26 year old has been on the injured list since the beginning of the month with a hamstring strain. Madrigal isn’t the only infielder who could return to the lineup in the near future, as MLB.com adds that 2023 All Star Dansby Swanson could be activated from the 10-day injured list during this weekend’s series against the Cardinals. Swanson has been out with a bruised heel for just over two weeks to this point.
In 167 trips to the plate this season, Madrigal has hit .278/.335/.364 with a wRC+ of 95 while primarily playing solid defense at both second and third base. Madrigal struggled badly in the early part of the season to the point where he was optioned to Triple-A in mid-May, but since returning to the big leagues he’s improved dramatically with a .328/.408/.466 slash line in 19 games. Swanson, on the other hand, has slashed a solid .258/.343/.409 (108 wRC+) in 367 plate appearances with the Cubs to go along with stellar defense at shortstop but had cooled off in the weeks prior to his injury, with an uninspiring .237/.297/.330 line in his last 30 games.