Cardinals shortstop Ruben Tejada left Thursday’s game with a muscle strain in his left quadriceps and will begin the season on the disabled list, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Twitter link). As a result, both infielder Greg Garcia and outfielder Jeremy Hazelbaker have made the Cardinals’ Opening Day roster, Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com tweets. Tejada’s injury is the latest unfortunate news at shortstop for the Cardinals, who signed the ex-Met earlier this month to replace the injured Jhonny Peralta. With Tejada on the shelf, the Cardinals are expected to start Jedd Gyorko at short in their Sunday opener against Pittsburgh, Goold writes. Garcia, meanwhile, has dealt with his own injury – a sore knee – and put up a meager .289 slugging percentage in 52 plate appearances this spring. Hazelbaker has been far more successful at the plate, amassing a .300/.364/.500 line in 44 PAs. The 28-year-old, a longtime minor leaguer, will finally have a chance to see his first major league action since Boston took him in the fourth round of the 2009 draft.
Here’s more from the National League:
- Righty Matthew Bowman will join Garcia and Hazelbaker on the Cardinals’ Opening Day roster, per Adam Rubin of ESPN.com. The injury to Jordan Walden helped clear a path in the bullpen for Bowman, whom the Cardinals took from the Mets in the Rule 5 draft last December. Bowman has allowed seven earned runs in eight innings this spring while striking out five and walking three.
- Dodgers third baseman/outfielder Alex Guerrero will start the season on the DL after an MRI showed “minimal damage” in his knee, manager Dave Roberts announced (Twitter link via Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times). The fact that Guerrero is DL-bound gives the Dodgers time to delay a roster decision on a player whose contract precludes them from sending him to the minors without his permission. The Dodgers reportedly tried to trade Guerrero over the winter, but they didn’t find any takers. If dealt sometime this season, Guerrero will have a chance to void the final year of his contract and become a free agent next offseason. The 29-year-old is slated to earn $5MM this season after compiling a dismal -0.2 fWAR in 106 games in 2015. In 21 plate appearances this spring, Guerrero slashed .238/.238/.571.
- The Pirates’ decision to give Juan Nicasio their last rotation spot over Ryan Vogelsong was an agonizing one for team brass, general manager Neal Huntington said. “It was the most intense conversation we’ve had,” Huntington stated (via Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh-Tribune Review). “There were strong convictions on both sides.” In the end, Nicasio’s dominant Spring Training showing – 15 innings, no runs, 24 strikeouts, five walks – was simply too much for the Pirates to ignore.
- An MRI revealed Thursday that Brewers southpaw Sean Nolin has a left elbow strain, general manager David Stearns said. Nolin will get a second opinion before a prognosis is announced, tweets Adam McCalvy of MLB.com. If Nolin’s diagnosis proves correct, McCalvy expects the 26-year-old to avoid Tommy John surgery. Nolin was a candidate to serve in the Brewers’ bullpen before they had to shut him down earlier this month with the injury. He’ll begin the season on the DL.