Rays left-hander Blake Snell, the recipient of a cortisone shot in his elbow last week, threw 20 fastballs on flat ground Tuesday and came out of it “fine,” according to manager Kevin Cash (via Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times). Snell’s slated to continue working back this week, but even if things go well, it does seem the former Cy Young winner will miss at least the opening week of the regular season, Topkin suggests. Snell’s elbow issues date back to last season, as he underwent an arthroscopic procedure in late July that shelved him for almost two months.
- Nationals outfielder Adam Eaton left the team’s game after the first inning Tuesday with a tweaked left hamstring, manager Dave Martinez told Sam Fortier of the Washington Post and other reporters. The Nationals don’t regard it as a serious injury, however, as Martinez noted that Eaton likely would have stayed in had it been a regular-season game. Meanwhile, fellow Nats outfielder Victor Robles has been battling a sore left side since last week, but he also seems to be OK. If he gets through the next few days without issue, Robles could return to the team’s lineup during the upcoming weekend, per Pete Kerzel of MASNsports.com.
- It remains unclear how the Cubs will distribute playing time at second base this season, Jordan Bastian of MLB.com writes. Minor league pickup Jason Kipnis has been fighting for the starting job with holdovers Nico Hoerner, David Bote and Daniel Descalso this spring. “It really is a wait and see,” manager David Ross said of the four-way competition. A former All-Star with the Indians, Kipnis possesses the longest track record of the quartet, but his offensive production declined to a noticeable extent from 2017-19, thus stopping him from landing a guaranteed contract.
- Sticking with the Cubs, flamethrowing pitching prospect Manuel Rodriguez is down for the time being with a Grade 2 biceps strain, Bastian tweets. Rodriguez, 23, hasn’t pitched above the High-A level to this point, but the Cubs are believers in his potential. They added Rodriguez to their 40-man roster last November to prevent another team from grabbing him in the Rule 5 Draft.