After he missed all but two games last season, the Astros are set to welcome back slugger Yordan Alvarez this year. It appears the 2019 AL Rookie of the Year will be limited solely to designated hitter, though, as manager Dusty Baker said Friday (via Brian McTaggart of MLB.com) that it’s “very unlikely” he’ll play any outfield in 2021. Alvarez underwent surgery on both knees, and Baker commented, “It’s shown in the past that whenever [Alvarez] plays in the outfield, he’s hurting for two or three days, you know what I mean?” If Alvarez doesn’t see any action in the grass, it’ll leave left field to Michael Brantley, who battled his own injury troubles a year ago and spent most of his season at DH.
- Red Sox left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez will return to the mound Saturday when he throws two innings in a simulated game, Chris Cotillo of MassLive.com relays. That’s welcome news after Rodriguez missed all of last year because of myocarditis and COVID-19. Rodriguez was one of Boston’s top pitchers during the previous couple seasons, and as a pending free agent, the 27-year-old is heading into a pivotal campaign.
- Reds right-hander Brandon Bailey announced on Twitter that he underwent Tommy John surgery on Friday. It was the second TJ procedure for the 26-year-old Bailey, whom the Reds acquired from the Astros in November. The 26-year-old Bailey made his major league debut last season in Houston with 7 1/3 innings of two-run ball, six hits allowed, and four walks against three strikeouts. During his most recent minor league action in 2019, Bailey recorded a 3.30 ERA with more than a strikeout per inning across 92 2/3 Double-A frames.
- Brewers catcher Jacob Nottingham is not recovering from late-December thumb surgery as quickly as expected. Nottingham is only doing “small baseball activities” right now and will not be ready for the start of Cactus League play, according to manager Craig Counsell (via Todd Rosiak and Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel). A healthy Nottingham and free-agent pickup Luke Maile figured to jockey for the No. 3 catcher position behind Omar Narvaez and Manny Pina, so Nottingham’s injury could help Maile in his quest to land that job. Nottingham, who is out of minor league options, amassed 54 plate appearances last year and hit .188/.278/.458 with four home runs.
- Nationals outfielder Gerardo Parra underwent right knee surgery in the fall and is currently at 70 to 80 percent, he told Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post and other reporters Friday. Parra expects to be ready for Opening Day, but having signed a minor league deal in the offseason, he has work to do this spring in order to earn a spot on Washington’s roster.