The Cubs have a pair of former players entering their front office, per a club announcement. MLB veterans Chris Denorfia and Matt Murton have been named, respectively, as special assistant to the president/GM and baseball operations assistant. Denorfia, a ten-year big-leaguer, spent just one year in Chicago — his final campaign in the majors, 2015. Murton, meanwhile, broke into the majors with the Cubs but mostly found success abroad as a member of Japan’s Hanshin Tigers.
Here’s the latest from the National League:
- Braves southpaw Luiz Gohara is going to be shut down for at least two weeks after suffering an ankle sprain, as David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. Though it doesn’t seem as if there’s anything approaching long-term concern for the injury itself, there are implications. For one, there’s now little chance that Gohara will open the season in the rotation, as he has already been limited in camp. That means another pitcher — O’Brien suggests Max Fried or Scott Kazmir, though others are also certainly in the mix — will likely take that slot. When Gohara is back to health, moreover, he’ll presumably need to boost his conditioning along with getting his arm up to full speed. The big-bodied southpaw previously strained his groin in a camp workout and has long faced questions about his weight. Of course, that did not prevent him from an impressive five-start debut showing in 2017.
- The Cardinals have decided to put righty Bud Norris in the bullpen, Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. That’s not terribly surprising, but the organization had at least been stretching him out as a starter to open camp. Norris showed some renewed vigor at times last year as a late-inning reliever and could be used in that capacity, though skipper Mike Matheny also did not rule out relying upon Norris for multiple innings in a swingman role. In other news from St. Louis, the club announced that outfielder Tyler O’Neill has been diagnosed with a hamstring strain. The severity is not known, but the the odds were already stacked against the well-regarded prospect cracking the Opening Day roster.
- Kevin Plawecki could receive the lion’s share of the time behind the dish for the Mets, Tim Healey of Newsday writes. New skipper Mickey Callaway says it will often come down to platoon splits in deciding whether Plawecki or Travis d’Arnaud is behind the dish, with the former’s advantage against right-handed pitching perhaps leading to greater opportunities. Surely performance levels over the course of the season will weigh into the calculus, but Callaway clearly indicated that the organization is disinclined to match up their backstops with particular starters.