Indians first baseman/designated hitter Mike Napoli and outfielder Rajai Davis will be able to opt out of their minor league contracts Thursday, according to Paul Hoynes of cleveland.com. It’s unclear whether one or both will vacate their deals, though Napoli has seemed especially likely to do so since his late-February signing with the Indians, who don’t have an opening for him in the majors. Asked Wednesday if Napoli could stay in the organization in a minor league role, manager Terry Francona said: “The next step is for him to talk to (president) Chris (Antonetti) a little bit more to figure out what he wants to do and what is available as far as the organization goes. Obviously, we think a ton of Nap and respect him a lot. There’s just a lot of unknowns.”
More on Cleveland a few other Central clubs:
- Indians infielder Giovanny Urshela will miss 10 to 14 days with a right hamstring strain, Hoynes tweets. Urshela may open the season on the DL, which would enable the Indians to delay their decision on him and Erik Gonzalez, who are each out of options and battling for the same bench role.
- Although Cardinals president John Mozeliak suggested over the winter the team would deploy offseason pickup Luke Gregerson as its closer, it now appears the Redbirds will take a communal approach to the ninth inning to open 2018, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch explains. “We don’t have a closer,” manager Mike Matheny said. “Ideally, would we like to have that title on somebody? Ideally, yeah. But right now we’ve got a bunch of guys who can do that. Over time we’ll figure it out. We have a bunch of guys who can pitch any inning.” The Cardinals’ general bullpen plan is “to maximize the flexibility,” Matheny revealed, meaning they’re likely to shuttle optionable relievers between the majors and minors throughout the season.
- Pirates righty Tyler Glasnow, a former top prospect, had a rough time in the majors last year, but pitching coach Ray Searage has seen legitimate progress this spring, Liz Bloom of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette details. “Oh, yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes,” said Searage, who added that Glasnow “has embraced” the adjustments the Pirates have suggested this year. Searage likened the 2017 version of Glasnow to a deer in the headlights, but now, even though there’s still work to be done, “he’s mature.” The 6-foot-8 Glasnow, 24, will kick off the season in the Pirates’ bullpen, though their hope is that he’ll ascend to the rotation, per Bloom. He made 13 starts in 15 appearances last year and pitched to a 7.69 ERA/6.30 FIP with 8.13 K/9 against 6.39 BB/9.
- Royals middle infielder Adalberto Mondesi is dealing with a right shoulder impingement, and he could begin the year in extended spring training as a result, Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com reports. Mondesi appeared to be the Royals’ likely Opening Day starter at shortstop a couple months back, but that was before they re-signed Alcides Escobar in late January. Thanks to both Escobar’s presence and Mondesi’s injury, the 22-year-old certainly won’t be a factor in KC at the start of the season.