We’ll cover some news and notes from the game’s central divisions.
- Cardinals’ reliever Jordan Hicks is recovering as expected from his Tommy John surgery last June, reports Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (via Twitter). He remains on target for a midseason return, Goold adds. Should Hicks return at full strength, he and his 102 MPH fastball figure to have a good shot at reclaiming the ninth inning for manager Mike Shildt. Carlos Martínez, who took the closer’s role in Hicks’ stead last year, is preparing for a return to the rotation this spring.
- The White Sox have been among the offseason’s most active teams in free agency. While the additions of Yasmani Grandal, Dallas Keuchel, Edwin Encarnación and Gio González (among others) figure to help Chicago next season, they’re all under team control through at least 2021, GM Rick Hahn points out to James Fegan of the Athletic. That jibes with the franchise’s long-term plan, the exec notes. The Sox have myriad prospects and young players at or near the MLB level, particularly on the pitching staff and in the outfield. Plugging some immediate holes with veterans buys Hahn and the rest of the front office additional time to sort through those largely unproven options.
- Jorge Bonifacio stands a good shot at earning a spot in the Tigers’ corner outfield mix, observes Chris McCosky of the Detroit News. Bonifacio, who’ll be in camp on a minor-league deal, has struggled in recent seasons with the division-rival Royals. That said, he’s still just 26 years old and showed some promise in an extended run in 2017 with Kansas City. McCosky breaks down further position battles in the piece, which could be of interest to Tigers’ fans.