Rockies infielder Brendan Rodgers left yesterday’s Spring Training contest after pulling up while trying to steal second base. He has since been diagnosed with a right hamstring strain, per Thomas Harding of MLB.com (Twitter link). It isn’t yet clear if the issue threatens his availability for Opening Day. If healthy, the former #3 overall pick looks to have a clear path to everyday playing time at second base. Should he be forced to miss time, Garrett Hampson or Josh Fuentes could stand to see an increased role (the latter at third base with Ryan McMahon playing the keystone). Chris Owings is also back in camp as a non-roster invitee and has plenty of second base experience.
More from the Senior Circuit:
- Carlos Carrasco was slowed a bit by elbow soreness early in his first camp with the Mets. The right-hander played catch this morning and will throw a bullpen session Tuesday. He told reporters (including Tim Britton of the Athletic) that he expects to be ready for Opening Day. Manager Luis Rojas echoed Carrasco’s optimism about his potential season-opening availability, although the skipper cautioned that’ll partially depend on “how things go (next) week” (via Enrique Rojas of ESPN).
- The recent injury to Kwang-hyun Kim gives Daniel Ponce de Leon a good shot to begin the season in the Cardinals’ rotation, writes Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Miles Mikolas’ own health woes had already opened up a spot, likely to be claimed by John Gant. Now, with Kim questionable to be ready for Opening Day after experiencing some back stiffness, there could be another job available behind Jack Flaherty, Adam Wainwright and Carlos Martínez. The Cards will also continue to lengthen out Jake Woodford and Johan Oviedo, Goold notes. Ponce de Leon has more MLB starting experience than those two, seemingly giving him the clearest path to the job if Kim isn’t fully recovered by the first week of April.
- Nationals starter Jon Lester feels good after throwing a pair of innings of live batting practice this morning (per Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post and Maria Torres of the Athletic). Lester underwent surgery to remove his thyroid gland last week. Lester’s teammate Aaron Barrett had a minor surgery of his own, relays Dougherty. The 33-year-old reliever underwent a cleanup procedure on his right knee earlier this week but has returned to camp.