Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic breaks down the race for some open spots in the Diamondbacks’ bullpen, noting that minor league signee Fernando Salas has outperformed the rest of the competition in terms of pure results. The eight-year veteran has tossed 6 2/3 shutout frames with a 6-to-1 K/BB ratio this spring, though competitors Neftali Feliz, Michael Blazek and Rule 5 pickup Albert Suarez (from the Giants) have all pitched well. Piecoro notes that there appear to be two or three spots up for grabs due to the fact that right-hander Randall Delgado is likely ticketed for the disabled list to open the year because of a left oblique injury. Piecoro also checks in on injured righty Shelby Miller, who had positive reports following a bullpen session and could return from Tommy John surgery in June or July.
One more item of note from Piecoro is that because Suarez has been previously outrighted off a 40-man roster in his career, the D-backs wouldn’t have to offer him back to the Giants if he clears waivers; he could instead elect free agency.
A bit more out of the NL West…
- Padres skipper Andy Green tells the San Diego Union-Tribune’s Kevin Acee that right-hander Adam Cimber has pitched his way into consideration for a spot in the team’s Opening Day bullpen. Cimber, 27, spent Spring Training 2017 in minor league camp and by Green’s own admission wasn’t near the top of the team’s list headed into big league camp this year. A sidearming righty, Cimber has hurled six shutout innings with two hits, no walks and five strikeouts. Recently, he’s been facing high-profile hitters such as Edwin Encarnacion, Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Willson Contreras and still finding success, Acee notes. The opportunity before him isn’t lost on the former ninth-rounder, who signed for a $5K bonus in 2013. Cimber discusses the opportunity to finally earn a big league salary playing the game he loves, as well as some of the ups and downs that come with being a minor league relief prospect.
- Andrew Baggarly of The Athletic reports that Giants outfield prospect Gustavo Cabrera has elected to retire (Twitter links). As Baggarly chronicled in a harrowing story for the San Jose Mercury News in March 2016, Cabrera could have lost his right hand at 17. Then a vaunted prospect who had received a $1.3MM signing bonus a year prior, Cabrera was simply bracing his hand on a glass table as he bent to pick up a spilled glass of water, but he slipped on the wet floor and sent his arm crashing through the table, severing nerves and causing catastrophic damage. Baggarly details the frantic process of saving Cabrera’s limb and his ultimate return to the baseball field in a must-read story. As for Cabrera’s decision to retire, Baggarly notes that the physical challenges simply became too much for his reconstructed wrist/hand. He adds that while the Giants do have a recourse to claim a portion of that $1.3MM bonus due to Cabrera’s early retirement, the organization has no plans to do so. Best wishes to Cabrera in his post-playing days.