Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram runs through some potential September call-ups for the Rangers, listing outfielder Scott Heineman, left-hander Brady Feigl and veteran right-hander Chris Tillman as potential options who are not on the 40-man roster. Per Wilson, the Rangers are intrigued by Tillman as a potential piece for the 2019 rotation, and a September call-up would serve as an audition of sorts. Tillman hasn’t had any big league success since 2016 and has missed time with a groin injury since signing a minor league deal with the Rangers. However, he has a fairly lengthy MLB track record, and the Rangers are thin on upper-level pitching depth. At the very least, Tillman could be a candidate to head to Spring Training as a non-roster invitee in 2019, though perhaps with a strong September showing the team would consider a guaranteed deal.
Here’s more from the AL West…
- Fernando Rodney doesn’t know what the Athletics’ plans for him are as pertains to the 2019 season, but the league’s leading arrow-shooter made clear to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle last week that he has every intention of playing. Whether the A’s exercise a $4.25MM club option on Rodney remains to be seen, but the 41-year-old right-hander has certainly given his new team plenty of reason to consider retaining him. Rodney has fired off eight scoreless innings with a 7-to-2 K/BB ratio since being acquired in exchange for young righty Dakota Chalmers earlier this month. As Slusser notes, he’s four saves shy of Francisco Cordero’s all-time record for a Dominican-born player. Rodney is keenly aware of that fact, acknowledging that he’d hoped to set the record with the Twins and still has his sights set on doing so in the future.
- Angels pitcher/DH Shohei Ohtani seems to be champing at the bit to make his next major-league start after a long layoff following the diagnosis of a UCL sprain. As Jeff Fletcher of the Southern California News Group reports on Twitter, the prized 24-year-old feels he’s ready to go after throwing fifty pitches today in a simulated game. While skipper Mike Scioscia indicated that Ohtani’s stuff is crisp, the club is surely prioritizing the long-term in deciding how to proceed. This campaign won’t end in a postseason appearance, after all, and Ohtani’s right arm is of critical importance to the Halos’ hopes in 2019 and beyond.
- Corey Brock of The Athletic takes a look at the rise of Edwin Diaz to one of the game’s elite closers (subscription required). Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto, manager Scott Servais, bullpen coach Brian DeLunas and first base coach Chris Prieto are among those to weigh in on Diaz’s ascension from a prospect who never appeared on a major Top 100 list to the second-fastest player ever to reach 100 big league saves. As Dipoto recalls, there was a fair bit of internal debate in his first offseason as GM with the team about whether to develop Diaz as a starter or a reliever. It was eventually decided to see how Diaz’s stuff would play in shorter stints and, if things didn’t go well, to then transition him back to the Majors. Diaz uncorked a 101 mph fastball on his first pitch out of the Double-A bullpen, per Dipoto, and the right-hander’s ensuing dominance made the organization’s decision fairly straightforward. Brock also chats with Astros manager A.J. Hinch and a few of Diaz’s teammates about his emergence as one of the game’s premier relievers.
- In other Seattle pitching news, the Mariners have placed southpaw Marco Gonzales on the 10-day DL with a cervical neck muscle strain, per a club announcement. He’ll be replaced on the active roster by outfielder Guillermo Heredia. As Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times writes, it’s still not clear how the M’s will address the newly opened rotation hole. While it’s possible southpaw James Paxton will be ready to go in time to take the ball on Wednesday, when Gonzales had been scheduled to start, that would mean moving up his schedule. It’s certainly not an optimal situation for a Seattle club that is trying to catch up to the division-leading Astros and Athletics. Gonzales entered the month of August with a strong 3.37 ERA, but has faded of late. He coughed up eight earned runs in just three innings in his most recent start and has seen his earned-run average climb all the way to 4.32. It has been a compelling season for the 26-year-old, regardless, but as Divish explains the southpaw may be wearing down now that he has reached 145 2/3 frames on the year — a significant workload for a pitcher who has been limited by injuries for most of the past three campaigns.