Rays left-hander Brendan McKay has been dealing with shoulder stiffness early in camp, Eduardo A. Encina of the Tampa Bay Times writes. McKay’s “fine,” though, according to manager Kevin Cash. He long tossed from 120 feet Friday, and the hope is that he’ll throw his first bullpen session of the spring in the next couple days. If healthy, the 24-year-old figures to rack up at least some starts for the Rays this season. McKay totaled 13 appearances and 11 starts last season, when he pitched to a 5.14 ERA/4.03 FIP in 49 innings. He – like his organization as a whole – is an unconventional player, as someone who’s also capable of hitting. Two-way McKay batted a respectable .239/.346/.493 with five home runs in 78 Triple-A plate appearances last season. He only garnered 11 trips to the plate during his first MLB campaign, though.
- The pricey Dee Gordon has seemingly become superfluous to a Seattle team that doesn’t figure to contend this season, the last guaranteed year of his contract. The Mariners are planning to start Shed Long, not Gordon, at second baseman. However, although Gordon and Long are friends, the veteran’s not ready to give up his position, as Greg Johns of MLB.com relays. “I’m the best player in the locker room,” Gordon said. “I’m the best player when I walk on the field. Y’all ain’t seen it. I’ve been hurt. I’ll just get ready and you’ll see something fun.” Injuries did limit Gordon to 117 games last season, but it has been a couple years since the speedster has been productive. He turned in a 60-steal, 3.6-fWAR campaign in 2017 – his final season as a Marlin – but has combined for 52 stolen bases and 0.5 fWAR over 1,009 plate appearances as a Mariner. In an ideal world, they’d probably like to get his $14.5MM guarantee off the books, but they haven’t been able to do it on the heels of back-to-back replacement-level seasons for Gordon.
- The Astros’ pitching depth has taken a couple blows. The team shut down right-hander Rogelio Armenteros on account of soreness in his elbow and shoulder, and it has also shut down fellow righty Riley Ferrell because of shoulder soreness, Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle tweets. The 25-year-old Armenteros threw 18 innings in the majors last season; he spent most of the year at the Triple-A level, where he pitched to a 4.80 ERA/5.08 FIP with 9.07 K/9 and 3.31 BB/9 over 84 1/3 innings. Arm injuries are nothing new for Ferrell, who dealt with biceps tendinitis last season and didn’t pitch much as a result. Miami took him from Houston in the 2018 Rule 5 Draft, but the Marlins returned him to the Astros last June.