Hernan Iribarren has enjoyed a largely unremarkable major league career, but he still has an interesting personal tale to tell C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer. Once a reasonably notable prospect, Iribarren hasn’t quite yet appeared in fifty MLB games. And at 32 years of age, he’s unlikely to make a significant on-field impact for the Reds organization even if he does crack the MLB roster. Still, writes Rosecrans, Iribarren’s presence will continue to be felt, as he has provided invaluable mentoring to a variety of Cincinnati players — most notably, fellow Venezuelan infielders Jose Peraza and Eugenio Suarez.
Here’s more from the NL Central:
- GM Neal Huntington suggested that the Pirates are basically resigned to the fact that third baseman Jung Ho Kang will not be available on Opening Day, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports on Twitter. There still has not been any movement on Kang’s visa application following his conviction for driving drunk in his native South Korea. Even assuming he’s able to make it over in short order, there’ll probably be at least some time required for him to get up to speed.
- The Brewers have informed catcher Manny Pina and righty Jhan Marinez that they’ll be on the active roster to open the year, MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy reports (Twitter links). Both were among the many Milwaukee 40-man members who enter the year without any options, so the news means that the club will avoid the need to expose them to waivers. Pina, 29, has a thin MLB track record but will share duties behind the plate with either Jett Bandy or Andrew Susac; the latter is currently dealing with neck and back issues, clouding his outlook, though both still have options. As for Marinez, he will have a chance to follow up on his solid 2016 season, in which he threw 62 1/3 innings of 3.18 ERA ball with 7.2 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9.
- Meanwhile, the Brewers received some disappointing news on the farm, as righty Devin Williams is headed for Tommy John surgery, per Jim Callis of MLB.com (via Twitter). In the most recent prospect rankings of the MLB.com team, Williams takes the 18th spot among Milwaukee farmhands. The 22-year-old, a second-round pick in 2013, reached the High-A level last year and is said to carry future mid-rotation upside.