Cardinals manager Mike Matheny suggested Friday that Jhonny Peralta, not Jedd Gyorko, will win the team’s third base job, according to Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “He’s looked as good as we had hoped,” Matheny said of the 34-year-old Peralta, who dealt with a thumb injury last season and slashed a modest .260/.307/.408 in 313 plate appearances. Gyorko posted far superior production last year, when he hit .243/.306/.495 with a team-high 30 home runs in 438 PAs. Nevertheless, it appears he’ll open 2017 as a frequently used utilityman — a role he’s better suited for than Peralta.
Here’s more on some roster situations around the National League:
- It seems that Erick Aybar currently holds the inside track to the Padres’ starting shortstop job, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune tweets. Aybar hasn’t hit much this spring — he’s slashing .273/.319/.318 through 16 games — but seems to be the logical solution barring a trade. Luis Sardinas, meanwhile, is competing for a spot as a utility player, per manager Andy Green. He has spent some time in left field in a bid to enhance his versatility, and will seemingly be jockeying with options such as Cory Spangenberg and Rule 5 pick Allen Cordoba.
- Meanwhile, the Padres are still sorting through a variety of bullpen options, as AJ Cassavell of MLB.com writes. Rule 5’er Miguel Diaz seems to be well-positioned, while either Trevor Cahill or Jarred Cosart will also likely crack the pen if either fails to make the rotation. (The odds of both functioning as starters increased, it seems, with an injury to Christian Friedrich.) Veterans Craig Stammen, Carter Capps, and Kevin Quackenbush are among the notable names also in the running. Capps seems unlikely to be ready in time, per Cassavell, while Quackenbush’s poor showing in camp could result in an assignment to Triple-A.
- The division-rival Diamondbacks have settled on their own starting five, as MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert reports. That grouping — Zack Greinke, Taijuan Walker, Robbie Ray, Shelby Miller, and Patrick Corbin — contains no surprises, but manager Torey Lovullo did note an interesting decision on another hurler. Former top prospect Archie Bradley will open the year in the major league bullpen. The 24-year-old has struggled in his MLB opportunities over the past two seasons and has allowed 13 earned runs on 23 hits over 14 2/3 innings this spring. While he could still factor as a long-term rotation possibility — Bradley has produced quality results of late at Triple-A — the club will see whether the move to a relief role helps spur some positive momentum.
- When the Phillies optioned outfielder Tyler Goeddel to minor league camp Friday, they informed him he’d likely start 2017 at the Double-A level, writes Matt Breen of Philly.com. Considering he spent all of last season in the majors, Goeddel isn’t thrilled with his multi-level demotion. “I’m not too happy about that but you can’t control it,” said Goeddel, who hit a meager .192/.258/.291 in 234 PAs as a Rule 5 pick in 2016. With Nick Williams, Roman Quinn and Dylan Cozens set to comprise the Phillies’ Triple-A outfield, there aren’t any openings for Goeddel at that level. Regarding those three, Goeddel stated: “I know who’s at Triple-A with Cozens, Williams and Quinn. But I was still surprised. They hadn’t really told me anything so it was definitely surprising.”
- A neck issue has kept Brewers catcher Andrew Susac out of action for the past week-plus, but an MRI on Friday revealed no structural damage to his trapezius, tweets Adam McCalvy of MLB.com. Susac will be able to ramp up his rehab as a result, though he’ll still start the year on the disabled list. Milwaukee will open with Jett Bandy and Manny Pina as its top options behind the plate.