Adrian Gonzalez will return to playing first base for the Dodgers tomorrow before joining Team Mexico for the WBC, as Alana Rizzo of Sportsnet LA tweets. The veteran first baseman has been battling a minor injury described as “tennis elbow,” but it seems that it has improved enough to allow participation in the global tournament.
Here’s more from the rest of the NL West:
- We already checked in on Dodgers lefty Scott Kazmir, who left his spring outing today with hip tightness. We’ll need to wait for more news, though it seems he won’t head straight for an MRI; instead, as Eric Stephen of SB Nation tweets, Kazmir will be reevaluated tomorrow. The veteran southpaw clearly wasn’t pleased with the health issue, as Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports. “The frustration is through the roof right now,” said the veteran southpaw, who bemoaned the need to “manipulate my body just to be able to get through an outing.”
- While there’s nominally a competition for the Giants’ fifth starter role, primarily featuring Matt Cain and Ty Blach, Andrew Baggarly of the Mercury News writes that it may not be much of a battle. Though manager Bruce Bochy says nothing has been decided, he did intentionally bring Blach on in the middle of an inning in his most recent outing. Per Bochy, it could be that the young southpaw opens the year in the bullpen, functioning as the club’s long man and/or in a setup capacity. (Certainly, utilizing him to piggyback with Cain could make some sense, if there’s roster space. There are loads of competitors for the club’s few open pitching jobs.)
- There’s little doubt that the Padres are open to multiple possibilities in their rotation. As MLB.com’s AJ Cassavell writes, though, the club has begun to pare down the number of competitors. Righty Cesar Vargas was the first to go; he was sent down to minor-league camp in part to give him enough time on the hill to build back to full strength after dealing with a flexor strain in 2016. Vargas, 25, had turned in six eye-opening starts before the day of his injury, and could certainly still enter the picture at some point during the season to come.
- One Padres starting job will go to righty Jered Weaver, who Cassavell spoke with about his progress thus far. The 34-year-old says that focusing on flexibility has allowed him to make huge strides in his mechanics, calling it “night-and-day from last year.” He’s hoping the change will make him looser and allow better extension, while also preventing the neck and shoulder issues that plagued him previously.