Mariners fans in particular will want to read up on the club’s faded ace, Felix Hernandez, in this piece from Scott Miller of Bleacher Report. The veteran hurler has taken his downfall hard, but he’s still working to rediscover the magic that once made him one of the game’s very best pitchers. Of course, his lost fastball velocity means the odds are long; it’s still in full retreat despite the fact that Hernandez says his “body feels good” after dealing with injuries over the past two seasons. It’s a well-conceived and well-paced story — at once deep and, refreshingly, not unnecessarily lengthy — with some notable observations from current and former M’s personnel and others close to Hernandez.
More from the AL West:
- Athletics second baseman Jed Lowrie acknowledged today in an appearance on MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM (Twitter link) that he has had some contact with the club about staying on past the present season. The team’s interest in maintaining the relationship has been known for some time, but it’s interesting nevertheless to hear Lowrie address the matter. To this point, Lowrie says, talks haven’t moved past an initial expression of interest. But he says he likes it in Oakland and believes he fits the club well, so it certainly sounds as if the good vibes flow in both directions. No doubt that’s due in some part to the immense success both player and team have found this year. It’s a second-straight eyebrow-raising season at the plate for Lowrie, who owns a healthy .276/.360/.455 slash since the start of the 2017 campaign. He has set himself up for an interesting trip onto the open market — if nothing comes together first with the A’s.
- In yet more unwelcome health news for the Athletics, righty Trevor Cahill has gone down with a rhomboid muscle strain, as Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The upper-back ailment comes at an uncomfortable proximity to the postseason, though it seems as if the expectation is he won’t miss more than a single start. To be sure that things aren’t more serious, Cahill is headed in for an MRI.
- Angels southpaw Tyler Skaggs was able to work up to a 48-pitch sim game today, skipper Mike Scioscia tells reporters including Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register (via Twitter). It’s still not clear whether he’ll return to the majors this year, though that figures to be a topic of discussion in the coming days. The 27-year-old, who is rehabbing from an adductor strain, is looking to extend his personal-best 116 2/3-inning, 3.78 ERA showing on the season. Whether or not he’s able to do so, Skaggs has impressed and now seems to be one of the club’s best bets to provide quality frames in 2019 — if he can stay healthy. Skaggs will likely command a nice raise in his second-to-last trip through the arbitration process after earning $1,875,000 this year.
- It’s still not clear when Rangers prospect Willie Calhoun will get his first real crack at the big leagues. As T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com writes, Calhoun had seemed likely to see much more action in the 2018 season. Instead, after a relatively tepid season at the plate at the Triple-A level, Calhoun is seeing scattered time late this season. It seems the organization still wants to see more from the key piece of last year’s Yu Darvish swap before clearing the way. Beyond his known deficiencies in the field and on the bases, manager Jeff Banister seemingly hinted that there are some strength and conditioning steps that the youngster could take to improve.
- In other Mariners news, the club will part ways with Triple-A skipper and longtime big leaguer player Pat Listach, Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times recently tweeted. That’ll put an end to a four-year run at Tacoma for the former infielder, who has at times been mentioned as a future MLB managerial candidate.