With Opening Day nearly upon us, here are a few of the notable roster decisions from around the game …
- Right-hander Wes Parsons and non-roster invitees Matt Joyce and Josh Tomlin have made the Braves’ Opening Day roster, the team announced to reporters today (Twitter link via Gabe Burns of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution). Meanwhile, as The Athletic’s David O’Brien writes, Bryse Wilson and Kyle Wright will be a part of Atlanta’s rotation to begin the season. That makes for quite an interesting and unexpected collection of roster pieces. The club is waiting to finalize its roster completely while evaluating external options.
- Right-hander Trent Thornton, whom the Blue Jays acquired in exchange for Aledmys Diaz this winter, will be Toronto’s fourth starter to open the season, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet tweets. Fellow righty Sam Gaviglio will open the year as a long man in the bullpen. In other decisions for the Jays, also via Davidi, the club has decided to keep Rule 5 righty Elvis Luciano despite some rocky moments this spring. Southpaw Thomas Pannone and infielder Richard Urena are also heading north, with the team’s final roster spot still up for grabs. It may go to Bud Norris if he’s ready, says Davidi, with the team also pondering Javy Guerra while eyeing outside possibilities.
- The Tigers have informed righty Spencer Turnbull that he’ll be in the rotation to begin the season, as Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press reports. He took that job over lefty Daniel Norris, who’ll open the year in the bullpen. Norris will work in a long capacity, with the goal being to keep him stretched out in case a starting spot comes open. Turnbull, 26, earned the nod with an excellent spring showing: 15 frames of 1.80 ERA pitching with 15 strikeouts and just a pair of walks. The former second-round pick reached the big leagues briefly last year, but spent most of his ’18 season at Double-A. He pitched to a 4.47 ERA with 9.6 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9 in 98 2/3 innings over 19 starts at the penultimate level of the minors.
- In one of the better stories of Spring Training, Ryne Harper has made the Twins’ Opening Day roster, as manager Rocco Baldelli recently announced (Twitter link via Betsy Helfand of the St. Paul Pioneer Press). Harper, who turns thirty today, enjoyed a terrific spring with the Twins and will now have the opportunity to pitch in his first big league game after grinding through eight minor league seasons. The call to the big leagues for Harper is surely sweetened by the fact that he’s come as close to making his big league debut as possible in the past; the Mariners selected Harper’s contract back in 2017 but optioned him back to Triple-A before he ever appeared in a game. He was outrighted before ever being summoned back to the big leagues.