Here’s the latest from both Buckeye State teams…
- Reds right-hander Michael Lorenzen suffered a Grade 1 strain of the teres muscle near his throwing shoulder, and will be kept from throwing “for several days,” manager Bryan Price told media (including the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Fay). Lorenzen’s injury isn’t as severe as the similar issue that kept Brandon Finnegan out of action for half of the 2017 season, though it does seem unlikely that Lorenzen would be ready to go by Opening Day. The 26-year-old was attempting to win a spot in Cincy’s rotation but struggled to an 8.38 ERA over 9 2/3 Spring Training innings. Between those poor results and now this injury, Lorenzen is sure to resume his old role as a late-inning weapon out of the Reds bullpen.
- The Indians don’t have much payroll on the books beyond the 2019 season, but president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti tells MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand not to expect the team to make any splashy signings next winter. “That’s not the reality of our team-building,” Antonetti said. “We are one of the smallest markets in professional baseball….We’ve had incredible support from our ownership in which we’ve spent well beyond our revenues as we’ve gone through this competitive period. But we can’t build teams through free agency. Our success model is we need to draft and acquire players that are younger and help provide the right environment for them to grow and develop because that’s going to be the nucleus of our team. We’ll use free agency to complement that group, but not to build that group.” The Tribe is poised to exceed the $100MM payroll mark for the third straight season (all record highs for the organization) in pursuit of a World Series, with the Edwin Encarnacion signing standing out as an uncharacteristic move for the smaller-market team. Any future spending isn’t likely to reach nearly the heights of 2016-18, however, and it could be more internally-focused, such as trying to sign in-house players (i.e. Francisco Lindor) to extensions.
- After releasing Melvin Upton Jr. yesterday, the Indians could potentially re-sign the outfielder to another minor league deal if he can’t find a contract elsewhere, MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez writes. Manager Terry Francona said that the team chose to let Upton know prior to his opt-out date that the veteran wouldn’t be making the team, so Upton could have extra time to explore his options. Cleveland already has several outfielders ahead of Upton on both the MLB and minor league depth charts, though there are enough question marks at the position that Upton could provide some extra experience at Triple-A.
- In another piece from John Fay, Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco said that he is finally feeling healthy after three injury-ravaged seasons. “I feel great. I don’t have to worry about health. I work on my swing, work on my catching, play ball,” Mesoraco said. After breaking out with a huge 2014 that earned him a four-year, $28MM extension after that season, Mesoraco has since played in just 95 total games due to hip, shoulder, and foot injuries. The lack of durability cost Mesoraco the starting job as the Reds catcher, but he is prepared to contribute anyway he can as Tucker Barnhart’s backup.