- With the Pirates enjoying a midseason resurgence, general manager Neal Huntington made it clear last week that he’d like to strengthen the club’s roster prior to Tuesday’s non-waiver trade deadline. The Pirates have since been connected to relievers Keone Kela and Brad Brach in trade rumors, though they’re also interested in upgrading their starting staff. Pittsburgh, like many teams, is seeking a “controllable starter,” Rosenthal reports. However, he suggests that the Bucs don’t appear to be aggressive suitors for Rays right-hander Chris Archer, who’s under control through 2021 and has drawn vast interest leading up to the deadline.
- Rangers slugger Joey Gallo was in the rumor mill Saturday, though it’s “unlikely” the team will deal him this summer, Rosenthal hears. Meanwhile, teammate Jake Diekman is the likeliest Ranger to end up on the move, Rosenthal adds. The left-handed reliever possesses a strong track record and an affordable salary ($2.7125MM), but he’s not controllable beyond this season. Diekman, 31, has pitched to a 3.79 ERA/3.48 FIP with 10.89 K/9, 5.45 BB/9 and a 45.4 percent groundball rate in 38 innings this year. Along with his control problems, Diekman has been surprisingly poor this season versus left-handed hitters, who have slashed .273/.429/.364 against him (on the other hand, righties have only hit .192/.292/.309). Historically, Diekman has been tough on both lefty- and righty-swingers.
- The Braves have interest in both Diekman and fellow Rangers reliever Kela, Rosenthal and Joel Sherman of the New York Post suggest. Moreover, Atlanta’s willing to move left-hander Luiz Gohara to upgrade its team, per Rosenthal, with Sherman noting that the Rangers have been scouting the 21-year-old. Gohara hasn’t pitched much in the majors this year (19 2/3 innings, nine appearances, one start), in part because of injury issues. But he showed well during a five-start debut in 2017, after which Baseball America ranked him as the game’s 23rd-best prospect. There’s a “good chance” the Rangers will acquire Gohara if he “shows anything at all” in the minors Sunday, David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweets.
- Sticking with Texas and Atlanta, Rosenthal reports that the Braves have greater interest in bolstering their pitching (perhaps via Diekman and Kela) than acquiring Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre. Rosenthal doesn’t rule out a Beltre acquisition for the Braves (though, as a 10-and-5 player, he’d need to approve the trade), but he points out that incumbent third baseman Johan Camargo has actually outhit the eventual Hall of Famer this season. The switch-hitting Camargo, 24, has done so on a league-minimum salary, too, while the 39-year-old Beltre is owed the balance of $18MM.
For his part, Gallo will become arbitration-eligible after the 2019 season, and is under control through 2022. That makes him an attractive asset to teams pursuing outfield help, especially considering his strength. The former top ten prospect enjoyed a breakout campaign last season, smacking 41 dingers to go along with a 14.1% walk rate en route to a 3-fWAR season. That comes with a well-known Achilles heel, however, as Gallo’s gargantuan 36.8% strikeout rate severely limited his production ceiling. In addition, more than half his batted balls were of the fly ball variety and his penchant for pulling the ball half the time as well makes him easily shiftable; those two factors put a stranglehold on his BABIP, which ended 2017 at .250. All told, this profile resulted in him barely hitting above the Mendoza line (.205 AVG), and the issues have become even more pronounced in 2018.
That said, however, Fangraphs still pegs Gallo as a 1.3 WAR outfielder, meaning he’s about league average in terms of position player value. He’s also quite young at just 24 years of age, giving him plenty of time to iron out his issues and/or improve upon his power ceiling. As such, it’s no surprise that the Rangers are torn about whether or not to deal their 2012 supplemental first round draft selection. On the one hand, he’s perhaps the club’s best chance to reap a significant prospect return as they embark on what promises to be a fairly arduous rebuild. On the other hand, though, it might not be the right time to deal the power prodigy, as his value is depressed due to an average follow-up to his breakout campaign. There’s at least a fairly good chance that Gallo will improve upon the .190/.306/.458 batting line and 102 wRC+ he’s posted so far this season, and if he does, he might net a better trade package in the future than he would now.
The Indians have perhaps the bleakest outfield outlook of any contending team. Outside of Michael Brantley, who’s been producing at close to his vintage levels after missing most of the past two seasons due to shoulder and ankle injuries, the Tribe’s situation in right and center field has taken a disastrous turn. Opening Day center fielder Bradley Zimmer’s out for the season after undergoing shoulder surgery, their best right field option Lonnie Chisenhall’s out until September with another calf issue, and even Tyler Naquin has recently joined the injury report with a hip issue that could keep him out awhile. That leaves the Indians trying to piece together an outfield puzzle with pieces like Melky Cabrera, Rajai Davis, Brandon Guyer and Greg Allen, none of whom have been particularly inspiring this season. It’s understandable that the Indians would be checking in on each and every outfield option available.
Meanwhile, the fit for Gallo in Philadelphia is less clear. Rhys Hoskins continues to be a revelation and will be firmly cemented in left field for years to come, while Odubel Herrera’s got a similar stranglehold on the center field job. Gallo could push Nick Williams into a fourth outfield role, which is probably the most likely scenario, but it’s not as though Williams has been bad- he’s hit .257/.331/.457 as a member of the Phillies this season and has been only slightly worse defensively than Gallo. It’s worth noting that Gallo came up through the Rangers’ system as a third baseman and incumbent Maikel Franco looked to be close to losing his job earlier this season, but he’s done more than enough to keep the keys to the hot corner with his recent performance; since the start of June, Franco’s hit .285/.333/.533 with nine homers and a meager 11.6% strikeout rate.
It remains to be seen what other teams have inquired on Gallo, though it seems possible the Yankees could potentially be interested following a serious injury to Aaron Judge. The Red Sox and Astros are known to be looking for outfield pieces as well, though they’re far more likely to invest in players with a lower price tag.
The Mariners optioned Gordon Beckham to Triple-A Tacoma last night, but as a player with five years of Major League service time, he’ll have the ability to decline the optional assignment in favor of free agency. It doesn’t appear that Beckham has made up his mind yet, as MLB.com’s Greg Johns tweets that the Mariners are hopeful he’ll decide to remain in the organization but apparently have not yet been informed whether he’ll report. The veteran 31-year-old hit just .206/.270/.235 in 39 plate appearances with Seattle, but he raked at a .300/.412/.500 pace in 114 plate appearances at the Triple-A level prior to having his contract selected earlier this season.
Here’s more from the division…
- Jake Kaplan of The Athletic takes an interesting look at the Astros’ revamped scouting department in its first full year of deployment (subscription link). The Houston organization took plenty of heat for electing not to renew the contracts of eight pro scouts last season, and Kaplan examines the new operation and chats with GM Jeff Luhnow about the team’s scouting processes. While the Astros still send scouts to watch amateur talent (high school, college, Latin America, etc.), their pro scouting now relies primarily on video and data analysis. As Kaplan notes, they’ll occasionally send scouts to a park to watch a Major League or Minor League player if they feel they need a closer look, but the organization no longer does so with regularity. “It’s allowing us to have what we think is the best balance for us of field scouting versus information scouting,” says Luhnow. “Because we’re capturing a lot of information out in the field from technology, from video, from other things, and we have to spend a tremendous amount of time reviewing that information.”
- The Rangers’ decision to option Ryan Rua to Triple-A has pushed Joey Gallo into the role of backup center fielder for the time being, writes Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Manager Jeff Banister explained that he’s comfortable playing Gallo at any of the three outfield spots if needed, though Gallo would only need to shift over to center field if Delino DeShields were unable to take the field due to an injury. It’s a bit surprising to see Gallo in that role, though as Wilson notes, it’s possible that he may only need to be DeShields’ backup for a matter of days. Texas has to activate outfielder Carlos Tocci from the disabled list this weekend, and as a Rule 5 pick, he’ll have to either be added back to the 25-man roster or designated for assignment. It’s not clear which way the Rangers will go, but given that they’re already out of contention on June 1, the team can certainly afford to roster a Rule 5 player through season’s end if they choose. Tocci, 22, has just two hits and a walk through 28 plate appearances for the Rangers this season. The fleet-footed outfielder has a strong defensive reputation, though, and hit well for the Phillies’ top two minor league affiliates in 2017 (.294/.346/.381).
There continues to be in-house “conversation and debate” about what the Dodgers will do in regards to their left field competition, according to Dave Roberts, but the manager seems bullish on veteran Matt Kemp (via Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register). “When you make the trade and you look at the seasons guys had last year who we have coming back, we were already a very good team without Matt,” said Roberts. “But to have a former All-Star in as good a shape as he’s been in years and add him to the mix, it only increases the level of competition to play for everyone around him. That’s a good thing. That’s a good thing for all of us.” The 33-year-old Kemp has gone 12 of 36 with four home runs this spring as he attempts to grab a job as part of a mix that also features Joc Pederson, Enrique Hernandez, Andrew Toles, Alex Verdugo and Trayce Thompson. Plunkett examines each of those players’ cases and suggests that Kemp may well open 2018 as the Dodgers’ primary option in left. Kemp, a former star with the Dodgers, rejoined the team over the winter in a luxury tax-geared trade with the Braves. He’s in the penultimate year of a huge contract, which he signed during his original run with the Dodgers, and set to make $21.5MM this year.
More from out West…
- Thanks to his struggles this spring, right-hander Bartolo Colon isn’t a lock to make the Rangers, TR Sullivan of MLB.com writes. Further clarity should come Sunday, when left-hander Martin Perez starts. Perez underwent surgery on a fractured right elbow last December, but if he’s healthy, he’ll take a season-opening rotation spot. That would leave the 44-year-old Colon vying for a long reliever/swing starter role, though the Rangers signed Jesse Chavez with the goal of using him in that capacity, Sullivan notes. For his part, Colon would be willing to fill that position if it’s available – “I will do anything I need to do to make the team,” he said. Notably, Colon has come out of the bullpen a mere nine times in 537 career appearances.
- The Rangers have considered extending first baseman Joey Gallo and outfielder Nomar Mazara this spring, but it doesn’t appear either those two or any of Texas’ other young players will receive a long-term deal at this point (via Sullivan). “We are always interested in talking to our best young players,” general manager Jon Daniels said. “But I don’t expect anything at this point.” As things stand, both players are still under control for several more years. Gallo won’t become eligible arbitration until after the 2019 season, while Mazara is in his last pre-arb year.
- Rockies outfielder David Dahl is likely to begin the year in the minors, thus opening up a spot on Colorado’s bench for fellow outfielder Mike Tauchman, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post explains. The 27-year-old Tauchman brings minimal major league experience (32 plate appearances, all of which came last season), but he has performed well in the minors and could make more sense for a reserve role than Dahl, 23. While Dahl’s a former high-end prospect who impressed as a rookie two years ago, a rib injury kept him from the majors last season, and there’s no obvious path to playing time for him in Colorado at the moment. As such, he’s likely to begin the year as a full-time player at the Triple-A level.
Before Yu Darvish agreed to join the Cubs on a six-year, $126MM contract Saturday, the Dodgers joined them with a willingness to offer six years, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag (Twitter link). However, the value of Los Angeles’ proposal was worth less (closer to $100MM) and contingent on the team jettisoning money via trade, Heyman adds. Unsurprisingly, LA couldn’t find a taker for at least a portion of its worst contract – outfielder Matt Kemp’s two years and $43.5MM – which helped lead to Darvish’s exit in free agency.
More from baseball’s West divisions:
- Rangers slugger Joey Gallo logged significant time at first base, third base and left field in 2017, a breakout year in which he offset a paltry .209 batting average with 41 home runs and an .870 OPS/123 wRC+ across 532 plate appearances. Now, with third baseman Adrian Beltre healthy and enough left field options on hand, the Rangers are planning on using Gallo at first full-time, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News relays. “When you are playing multiple positions, it does take a toll,” manager Jeff Banister said. “This will keep him fresh, allow him to settle in, to work on things and focus on the offensive side.”
- In a separate piece, Grant writes that he doesn’t expect the Rangers to re-sign free agent center fielder Carlos Gomez. The 32-year-old met with Rangers brass last month, but it seems they’re content to go with younger options – including fellow center Delino DeShields, 25. Gomez, who signed with Texas in late 2016 after a disastrous run with rival Houston, accrued 556 PAs as a Ranger over the previous two seasons, hitting a more-than-respectable .262/.345/.481 with 3.5 fWAR.
- The Giants’ Hunter Pence has taken his switch from right to left field in stride, which the team’s management appreciates, per John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle. The soon-to-be 35-year-old Pence has never played left during his 1,489-game career as an outfielder, but he’ll head there this year as a result of the Giants’ acquisition of Andrew McCutchen. Pence is embracing the move, which Shea notes was difficult for ex-Giant Angel Pagan when they had him shift from center to left two years ago. “I think it’s going to be a lot of fun to have a whole new perspective,” Pence said. “It’s kind of refreshing on the mind. It’s an exciting challenge that I anticipate.”
- Gorkys Hernandez, one of Pence’s outfield mates, underwent surgery on a broken hamate bone in his left hand after last season, broadcaster Marvin Benard revealed Saturday (Twitter link via Shea). Hernandez played with the injury for at least some of 2017, when he batted a meek .255/.327/.326 with no home runs and a .071 ISO over 348 PAs. The out-of-options 30-year-old will compete to retain his spot on the Giants this spring.
Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto understandably regrets the deal that sent Chris Taylor to the Dodgers,telling Matt Calkins of the Seattle Times that “it’s clearly the worst deal I’ve ever made.” The veteran baseball executive surely had little reason to expect Taylor to break through as he has, but he still says he “whiffed” by parting with such a controllable player for a pitcher (Zach Lee) that has not worked out.
More from out west:
- He is playing for the Dodgers in the World Series, but Joc Pederson might conceivably not remain in Los Angeles beyond the present season, Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes. There are alternatives on hand, particularly in light of Taylor’s emergence, and the Dodgers could also look to add other pieces. Of course, the Los Angeles front office has thrived on ensuring plenty of depth and surely won’t just give Pederson away despite his struggles in 2017, though surely there’d be quite a few teams intrigued at the idea of buying low on Pederson’s powerful bat. Sherman also notes that the Dodgers were in on Yulieski Gurriel before he landed with the Astros, though Dodgers president of baseball ops Andrew Friedman says his team never formally bid on the Cuban star.
- MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan looks at some recent Rangers players currently slated to hit the open market. As he notes, veteran knuckler R.A. Dickey could conceivably be a consideration for a reunion, though it’s not clear that the team will suit Dickey’s geographical preferences. More intriguingly, perhaps, Sullivan adds that Miles Mikolas — who excelled in Japan after leaving Texas — has left the Rangers “highly intrigued.” Elsewhere, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News analyzes the team’s options at first base. Ronald Guzman could be an option alongside Joey Gallo, notes Grant, perhaps leaving the team interested in acquiring a part-time, right-handed-hitting option to join the mix.
- First, the Rangers will have to decide upon a qualifying offer for righty Andrew Cashner. Despite some prior indications that the team might issue one, Jon Heyman of Fan Rag reports that’s not likely at this point. Similarly, says Heyman, the Reds are “leaning against” a QO for shortstop Zack Cozart — though the team is said to be willing to pursue a multi-year deal in free agency.
- The Athletics may be looking into some intriguing extension possibilities, Heyman further reports. Young standouts Matt Olson and Matt Chapman appear to be in the team’s sights. While neither is really even approaching arbitration, let alone free agency, perhaps Oakland will look to find value by making an early-career guarantee or two over the winter to come. Otherwise, says Heyman, the A’s are focused on adding some pieces to the bullpen and perhaps getting a righty outfield bat over the offseason.
The Dodgers have placed both Alex Wood and Cody Bellinger on the DL, the team announced Tuesday. Wood is once again dealing with inflammation in his SC (sternoclavicular) joint, though the breakout southpaw is targeting a return for the first weekend of September against the Padres. As for Bellinger, he’s been slowed recently by a right ankle sprain that has been called mild in nature, but he’s already been out of the lineup for two games, allowing the Dodgers to backdate the move by two days. That’d put Bellinger on track to be eligible to return from the DL as soon as next Wednesday. Manager Dave Roberts told reporters today that top prospect Walker Buehler and rehabbing ace Clayton Kershaw are not candidates to start for the Dodgers in place of Wood this weekend (all Twitter links via Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register). Rather, a bullpen game started by Ross Stripling seems the likeliest course. In corresponding roster moves for Wood and Bellinger, the Dodgers have recalled righties Brock Stewart and Josh Ravin.
More injury news from around the game…
- The Red Sox are no closer to determining a return date for left-hander David Price, manager John Farrell said in an appearance on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM today (Twitter link that includes audio). Farrell said it’s still too early to consider bringing Price back in a bullpen capacity, as he’s yet to progress to throwing off a mound. Once he’s able to do that, the Red Sox will be able to gauge a conceivable timeline and weigh their options. Evan Drellich of CSN New England tweets that Price has thrown from 90 feet on flat ground and is slated to throw again tomorrow. It’s now been exactly one month since Price’s last start, as the former Cy Young winner has been battling inflammation in his left elbow.
- Joey Gallo has been placed on the 7-day concussion disabled list, the Rangers announced today. Gallo suffered a nondisplaced nasal fracture in a recent collision with teammate Matt Bush (who landed on the 10-day DL as a result) and has also been dealing with concussion-like symptoms. Texas had hoped that he could avoid the DL, but he’ll now be sidelined until at least next Tuesday as a result of today’s move. Gallo was on an otherworldly power binge at the time of his injury, having launched 10 homers in his past 18 games (73 plate appearances) in the month of August. Infielder Phil Gosselin is up from Triple-A Round Rock to take Gallo’s roster spot.
- Carlos Correa told reporters today that while he’s not yet certain exactly when he’ll embark on a minor league rehab assignment, he thinks he’ll need about a week’s worth of at-bats in the minors before he’s ready to return (Twitter link via Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle). Correa cited a target of 20 to 30 at-bats before he’d be back up to speed. It’s been just under five weeks since the Astros announced that Correa would miss six to eight weeks with a torn thumb ligament.
- Reds right-hander Anthony DeSclafani received a second opinion on his injured right elbow, per Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer. After an initial MRI revealed that there was no ligament damage in his ailing right elbow, DeSclafani sent his scans to Dr. Keith Meister for a second look, and Meister confirmed as much. DeSclafani is on a throwing program and hopes to ramp up quicker than usual to “really be able to test the ligament and get back on the mound,” but Buchanan notes that time could be starting to run out for DeSclafani to take the mound in a Reds uniform this season. DeSclafani has not pitched for the Reds this season due to a sprained UCL in his right elbow and this latest bout of inflammation.
The Rangers have activated veteran third baseman Adrian Beltre, as had been expected. He’s starting and hitting cleanup in tonight’s lineup. Infielder/outfielder Drew Robinson was optioned to open a spot on the active roster.
This’ll represent the first action on the year for Beltre, the 38-year-old star. He excelled yet again last year, slashing .300/.358/.521 over 640 plate appearances while continuing to play excellent defense at the hot corner. Beltre is owed $36MM in total for this year and next under the extension he signed with the Rangers last April.
Beltre was held out until now, though, with ongoing calf issues that took longer than expected to resolve. He hasn’t played in less than 111 games since way back in 1998, when Beltre debuted at 19 years of age. He has averaged 147 games per year ever since.
In Beltre’s stead, long-time top prospect Joey Gallo had an extended opportunity and perhaps earned a lengthier run at the MLB level. While his batting average (.198) and on-base percentage (.305) leave plenty to be desired, Gallo has launched 15 home runs and carries a .525 slugging percentage through fifty games of action.
For tonight, Gallo is sliding over to first base, though that’s due in part to a minor injury issue for incumbent first bagger Mike Napoli (per Anthony Andro, on Twitter). It’s not yet known just how the team will handle things in the long run, though. Gallo has spent some time in the outfield in the past and might appear there, too, particularly while Carlos Gomez is on the DL. The DH slot would also be an option, though Shin-Soo Choo has commanded the bulk of the time there thus far.
The Dodgers are experimenting with using outfielder Brett Eibner as a pitcher, Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times writes. Eibner pitched in college and reached 95 MPH with his fastball, and he’s now working on developing secondary pitches; it remains to be seen, of course, how those would play against big-leaguers. The Dodgers’ plan is to continue to treat Eibner primarily as an outfielder, but they envision using him as a pitcher more frequently than the typical position player taking the mound to relieve an exhausted staff. If Eibner were to prove effective as a pitcher, he’d become a useful and interesting tactical piece, reminiscent, perhaps, of a two-way player like Brooks Kieschnick, who first arrived in the big leagues as an outfielder but who also ended up pitching for Milwaukee in 2003 and 2004. The added versatility might also help Eibner from being shipped back and forth to Triple-A so frequently, Shaikin suggests — the Dodgers have already optioned him to Triple-A Oklahoma City four times this season. Here’s more from around the game.
- The Yankees have promoted top prospect Gleyber Torres to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, as MLB.com’s Matt Kardos first tweeted. Torres hit well for Double-A Trenton, batting .277/.363/.504 over 135 plate appearances this season. The move suggests the 20-year-old could make his big-league debut in the not-too-distant future, meaning that the Yankees could perhaps continue to see relatively quick returns on the trade that sent Aroldis Chapman to Chicago for Torres, Adam Warren, Billy McKinney and Rashad Crawford. (Warren, of course, is currently in the midst of a strong season in the Yankees’ bullpen.) Torres ranks second on MLB.com’s list of the game’s top 100 prospects, topped only by another recently traded player, White Sox infielder Yoan Moncada.
- The Padres are doing “exactly what they should be doing,” Shaikin writes. The Padres are losing games (their current .348 winning percentage is worst in the Majors), but they’re also piling up prospects through Latin American signings, the Rule 5 Draft and trades of veterans, and they’re grabbing top draft picks as well, just as the Cubs and Astros did prior to their current runs of success. Interestingly, manager Andy Green says one challenge of leading a rebuilding club is getting his players to focus on getting better while ignoring Internet commentary about their current struggles. “Everybody is on Twitter. Everybody reads everything everybody says,” Green notes. “You’re fighting a cultural battle. You have to create something special inside the house, so guys will guard their minds, guard their focus and show up every day to play. Without a doubt, it’s a challenge, but a challenge I welcome every single day.”
- Rangers infielder Joey Gallo’s wild season thus far is testing the limits of three-true-outcomes baseball, writes ESPN’s David Schoenfield. The “three true outcomes,” of course, are home runs, walks and strikeouts, and Gallo has piled up big numbers in all three categories, particularly the first and last. In 165 plate appearances this year, he has 13 homers, 21 walks and a ridiculous 65 strikeouts. He’s currently on pace to break Mark Reynolds’ record for whiffs in a season (223), and he could also top Reynolds’ record for most homers in a season with a sub-.200 average (32). Of course, Gallo’s immediate future is up in the air, since Adrian Beltre could soon return from a calf injury. (There’s hope Beltre can begin a rehab assignment next weekend, as Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram recently tweeted.) And as Schoenfield notes, Gallo has faded in recent weeks, with a May batting line of just .148/.268/.443.
The Athletics’ promising stable of starters could make right-hander Sonny Gray expendable this year, posits FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal (video link). Major leaguers Kendall Graveman, Jharel Cotton, Sean Manaea and Andrew Triggs all look like viable building blocks, while prospects Grant Holmes and last year’s sixth overall pick, A.J. Puk, are among potential future starters within the organization. Gray endured a nightmarish 2016 and is currently on the mend from a lat strain, so his stock surely isn’t where it was when he performed like an ace from 2013-15. Still, Gray’s fairly young (27), affordable ($3.575MM) and controllable via arbitration through the 2019 campaign. If Oakland does place Gray on the block, it could seek outfield help in return, Rosenthal says.
Here’s more from the AL West:
- The Rangers aren’t inclined to trade corner infielder/outfielder Joey Gallo, whom they view as an important long-term piece, according to Rosenthal. The powerful Gallo has been strong at third base this year in place of the injured Adrian Beltre, who’s 38 and only signed through next season. Even if Gallo exits the lineup when Beltre returns, the 23-year-old could become an everyday player at first base or in the outfield by next season, Rosenthal notes. At that point, free agents-to-be Mike Napoli and Carlos Gomez might be in other uniforms, thus creating room for Gallo. The former big-time prospect has slashed a productive .235/.350/.529 in 40 PAs this year, and while he’s still striking out too much, his 35 percent K rate is a vast improvement over the unsightly 63.3 percent mark he put up in 30 PAs last season.
- The Astros faced a scary situation in Oakland on Saturday when shortstop Carlos Correa left early after taking a 96 mph fastball from Frankie Montas to the left hand. Fortunately for the Astros and Correa, X-rays only revealed a contusion. “Good news, obviously,” Correa told Brian McTaggart of MLB.com. “I thought it was going to be a lot worse. Obviously, it was a hard-throwing guy and it was a fastball inside. He didn’t give me a chance to get out of the way and I got hit in the hand. Thank God no fracture.” Correa, who’s day-to-day, hopes to return to Houston’s lineup Sunday.
- Athletics shortstop Marcus Semien has a bone contusion in his right wrist and will undergo an MRI on Monday, tweets Joe Stiglich of NBC Sports California. Semien’s wrist has been an issue since late in the spring, adds Stiglich, and that could at least partially explain his early season power outage. After swatting 27 long balls and posting a .197 ISO last season, Semien has gone homer-less and managed a paltry .057 ISO in 46 plate trips this year.
- Rangers reliever Keone Kela, demoted to Triple-A on March 31 as a disciplinary measure, is a candidate to rejoin Texas’ bullpen next time the team needs help from the minors, writes Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “Kela’s never not been an option,” said manager Jeff Banister. “They’ve all been possibilities. It just depends on what you need.” The 23-year-old Kela was excellent as a rookie in 2015, but he took significant steps backward last season and then earned a ticket to Triple-A by showing a lack of effort in a minor league intrasquad game this spring.