Former Twins and Reds reliever Jared Burton is attempting a comeback, LaVelle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune tweets. Burton last pitched in the Majors in 2014 and pitched 16 innings in the minors in 2015 before being suspended for 50 games to start the 2016 season after testing positive for the second time for a drug of abuse. He’s now 35. The righty has pitched parts of eight seasons in the big leagues, with a 3.44 ERA, 7.6 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9. Here’s more from the Central divisions.
- Both the White Sox and Red Sox organizations believe new top prospect Yoan Moncada can be an impact player, Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune writes. He’ll still have work to do, however, as his first taste of big-league action late last year (during which he struck out 12 times in 20 plate appearances) showed. “They were coming down, finishing him off underneath the hands down and in,” says White Sox manager Rick Renteria. “He’s a 21-year-old man who has not seen that type of bite coming from pitchers, and it’s probably changing the lane in which he’s looking for that particular type of slider, where he has to get it out and away.” Kane also reports that after learning the White Sox had acquired Moncada, Jose Abreu sent Moncada a congratulatory text message. The two played together in Cuba with Cienfuegos in 2012, when Moncada was 17.
- The Brewers lost Miguel Diaz as the top overall pick in the Rule 5 Draft on Thursday, as Minnesota selected Diaz and then traded him to San Diego. Diaz appeared to be a good prospect, but GM David Stearns says the organization left him unprotected because of his lack of experience, as Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel writes. The 22-year-old Diaz had elbow surgery in 2015 and only pitched his first full minor-league season in 2016, when he posted a 3.71 ERA, 8.7 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 in 94 2/3 innings for Class A Wisconsin. “He’s never pitched above the Midwest League. It’s very unusual for guys to be able to make that jump,” says Stearns. “We have to be prepared for that but it would be the exception to the norm if someone is able to make that jump successfully and contribute at the Major League level.” Of course, a Rule 5 pick doesn’t have to succeed for his original team to lose him. Before Stearns joined the Brewers organization, the team selected Wei-Chung Wang, a pitcher who had even less minor-league experience than Diaz now does, in the 2013 Rule 5 Draft. Wang pitched poorly in the Majors in 2014 and hasn’t yet returned to the big leagues, but the Brewers did manage to keep him.