Blue Jays skipper John Gibbons signaled on Monday that Troy Tulowitzki won’t be ready for Opening Day, writes MLB.com’s Jon Morosi. “I think you can write Tulo off [for Opening Day] right now,” said Gibbons of his shortstop, who is currently dealing with a bone spur in his right heel. Tulo’s lack of availability likely means the Jays will carry just seven relievers to open the season Morosi notes, which will allow the team to bring four middle infielders — Devon Travis, Aledmys Diaz, Yangervis Solarte and Gift Ngoepe — when they break camp.
Meanwhile, both John Axford and Tyler Clippard are likely to make the Blue Jays’ bullpen after signing minor league deals, per Morosi. Gibbons praised a new two-seam fastball that Axford has been utilizing as well as improved control from the veteran righty. “What’s jumped out at me is he’s keeping that thing in the zone,” said Gibbons. “What little I’ve known in the past, at times he could scatter, but really that hasn’t happened at all this spring. That’s encouraging. And he still throws really, really hard.”
More from the AL East…
- The Yankees announced today that top prospect Gleyber Torres has been optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The move doesn’t come as a huge surprise given the team’s signing of Neil Walker to a one-year deal and Torres’ struggles this spring as he makes his way back from Tommy John surgery in his non-throwing arm. Torres, who has just 55 games above Class-A Advanced under his belt and just 96 plate appearances at the Triple-A level, went 4-for-25 with seven strikeouts in Grapefruit League play. The 21-year-old will likely make his MLB debut with the Yankees at some point in 2018, and optioning him comes with the added benefit of pushing back his service clock to gain an extra year of club control (assuming he spends at least three weeks or so in the minors to open the season).
- The Orioles spoke with Lance Lynn’s agents right up until the time he signed with the Twins, writes Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com. However, Lynn was seeking a two-year deal from the Orioles, whereas he agreed to a one-year, $12MM deal in order to join the Twins. Kubatko adds that the Orioles are of the impression that fellow right-hander Alex Cobb is also seeking a multi-year deal and that a contract comparable to Lynn’s pact with the Twins won’t get the job done.
- The Red Sox would like to stash some MLB rotation depth at Triple-A but are having a tough time getting deals done, Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston writes. Remaining hurlers are understandably interested in joining teams where they’ll have a reasonably achievable path to the Majors. Boston entered the winter with a rather full set of starters, though as Drellich notes, there’s increasingly more opportunity to offer with a variety of (hopefully) minor injuries cropping up. The Sox faced a similar struggle in attracting veterans on minor league deals last winter, Drellich notes.