Johan Camargo and Austin Riley are competing for not only the Braves’ starting third base job, but also potentially a spot on the 26-man roster altogether. Manager Brian Snitker told reporters (including The Athletic’s David O’Brien) that he feels both Camargo and Riley are best served by everyday playing time, rather than splitting third base in a platoon or one player working in a backup role. Sending one of the duo down to Triple-A is “not out of the question,” Snitker said. “They’ve got (minor-league) options, and if long term, for the health of our ballclub that’s (what) we see fit, that could happen.”
Plans could change in case of an injury, of course, and both players have experience at other positions. Riley played mostly left field in his rookie season and only four games at third base, as Atlanta had Josh Donaldson at the hot corner last year. Camargo, meanwhile, has a lot of experience at shortstop, second base, and both corner outfield positions in addition to third base, though Snitker felt that bouncing Camargo around the diamond last season hurt his productivity at the plate. After hitting .281/.343/.455 in 780 PA over his first two MLB seasons, Camargo struggled to a .233/.279/.384 slash line in 248 plate appearances in 2019.
More from around the baseball world…
- After signing a minor league deal with the Brewers this winter, Logan Morrison has no intention of actually playing in the minors if he doesn’t crack Milwaukee’s roster, the veteran told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Tom Haudricourt and other media. “Triple-A is not an option. That’s not going to happen. I have nothing to prove there. If they try to send me down, I can get out,” Morrison said, referring to the opt-out clause in his contract as an Article XX(B) free agent. Since Morrison has at least six years of MLB experience and finished last season on a 40-man roster (the Phillies’ roster) or 60-day injured list, he can ask to be released by the Brewers if they don’t put him on their 26-man roster or the injured list five days prior to Opening Day. Morrison would also be in line for a $100K retention bonus if the Brewers didn’t put him on the roster but wanted to keep him in the minors, but clearly that isn’t on Morrison’s mind. “I’m not worried about it because whatever happens, wherever I go, whatever they decide, I’ll be at peace with it,” he said.
- Tim Melville is recovering from a broken rib and will be sidelined for at least three weeks, Kyle Newman of the Denver Post writes. After pitching 33 1/3 innings for the Rockies last season, Melville signed a new minor league deal with Colorado earlier this month, though he thinks his rib injury might have taken place at the end of last season. The discomfort didn’t resurface until Melville began throwing in camp. The injury obviously lessens Melville’s shot at winning a roster spot, though the Rockies could place the right-hander on the IL and let him ramp up in the minors.
- Royals pitching prospect Ashe Russell underwent Tommy John surgery last year and is still recovering, MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports (Twitter links). The exact date of Russell’s procedure isn’t known, though Flanagan said it took place “awhile” before last June. That would put Russell roughly on pace to return to the mound sometime before the end of the season. Russell has tossed only 38 1/3 professional innings since being selected 21st overall in the 2015 draft, and hasn’t pitched at all since the 2016 season. Back in July 2017, we learned that Russell had taken a “mental break” from baseball, in the words of Royals assistant GM J.J. Picollo. Russell’s agent described the issue as somewhat more pitching-related in nature, saying Russell was “having trouble with his pitching mechanics” and “needed a change of scenery” from the Royals’ training facilities. The 23-year-old righty is currently at the Royals’ Spring Training camp.