- The Rangers continue to play it safe with third baseman Adrian Beltre in his recovery from a right calf strain, meaning he probably won’t debut until May, relays Brandon George of the Dallas Morning News. “I think we need to continue to rehab,” said manager Jeff Banister. “The conservative nature is probably in our best interest.” Meanwhile, after upper back spams slowed Tyson Ross’ comeback from thoracic outlet syndrome surgery, the expectation is that the right-hander will resume throwing from a mound by the end of the upcoming week, Banister told George.
- Rangers minor league left-hander Joe Palumbo will undergo Tommy John surgery during the upcoming week, tweets TR Sullivan of MLB.com. Palumbo, one of the Rangers’ 10 best prospects, will now lose a year of development as a result of a torn ulnar collateral ligament. The 22-year-old was extremely impressive this season at the High-A level, where he recorded a 0.66 ERA, 14.49 K/9 and 2.63 BB/9 in 13 2/3 innings.
The Rangers have returned Rule 5 pick Mike Hauschild to the Astros, MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan tweets. That means Hauschild cleared waivers after being designated for assignment earlier this week, and the Astros paid the Rangers $50K to have him back in their system. He has been assigned to Triple-A Fresno.
The Rangers attempted to keep Hauschild on their roster this season as a long reliever, but he allowed ten runs and a remarkable five home runs over eight innings of work (although he did have seven strikeouts against only two walks, and he averaged a solid 92 MPH on his fastball). The Rangers ultimately opted to go with veteran Anthony Bass in that role instead.
The 27-year-old Hauschild had previously established himself as a worthwhile starting depth option in the Astros’ system, posting a 3.22 ERA, 7.7 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 with a 53.9% ground-ball rate in 139 2/3 innings with Fresno last season. He was the 16th pick in the Rule 5 Draft last December.
Star Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera left tonight’s game with a groin strain, as Evan Woodberry of MLive.com reports on Twitter. For now, there’s no real indication of the severity of the injury; Detroit will take a closer look tomorrow.
Here’s more on the injury front:
- Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca provides an update on some injured Blue Jays hurlers. While there had been some hope that J.A. Happ would be able to return after missing just one start, he was still feeling elbow discomfort when he played catch yesterday. There is still hope, though, that Aaron Sanchez will be ready to return from his blister issues to re-take his turn in the rotation.
- The Rockies have received promising updates on the injury front, as Nick Groke of the Denver Post reports. Ian Desmond’s hand has healed to the point that he was able to hit off of a tee. He’ll soon be followed by David Dahl, whose latest medical check-brought positive news.
- Likewise, the Orioles have reason to hope they’ll welcome back closer Zach Britton in short order. As Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com tweets, manager Buck Showalter says that Britton’s MRI results were very promising. Britton, who hasn’t been quite his dominant self thus far in 2017, hit the DL with forearm soreness.
- Rangers righty A.J. Griffin is heading to the 10-day DL with what the team is describing as ankle inflammation caused by gout. It doesn’t seem likely to require an extended absence, but the issue arises at an unfortunate time for the 29-year-old (and the struggling ballclub). Griffin is off to a solid start, having allowed seven earned runs on nine hits — and an excellent 16:4 K/BB ratio — over 15 1/3 innings.
- There were a few updates from the Reds, as provided by Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer (Twitter links). Righty Homer Bailey could be ready for mound work as soon as the end of the month, per skipper Bryan Price. Bailey has made just eight starts since the start of the 2015 season; he’s working back from surgery to remove bone spurs. Southpaw reliever Tony Cingrani, meanwhile, was placed on the 10-day DL with an oblique strain, with outfielder Phil Ervin taking his place on the active roster.
- Alex Meyer made a start tonight for the Angels, taking the roster spot of reliever Mike Morin, who is headed to the DL with neck stiffness, as Maria Guardado of MLB.com tweets. Morin, who’ll soon turn 26, has been hit hard in his 6 2/3 frames to open the season.
- Meanwhile, Angels righty Garrett Richards is said to be making some progress but isn’t yet able to begin throwing, Guardado tweets. Continued biceps weakness is still the culprit. The Halos are understandably taking care to ensure that Richards is at full health before pushing him forward.
- Rays lefty Xavier Cedeno is experiencing forearm tightness will require at least a brief DL placement, as Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports. It’s not seen as a significant injury, but the loss of Cedeno does leave Tampa Bay without a southpaw in the pen. The 30-year-old has not looked sharp early; as Topkin notes, he has struggled to prevent inherited runners to score. And Cedeno has surrendered four walks without recording a single strikeout in his seven appearances.
- Dodgers lefty Scott Kazmir is still dealing with hip tightness that is preventing him from progressing back to the hill, as Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times reports on Twitter. The veteran southpaw is not yet nearing a rehab stint, per the report.
- The Brewers will welcome back righty Matt Garza from the DL to make a start on Monday, per a team announcement. Garza was not ready to open the year due to a groin strain. He’ll bump southpaw Tommy Milone to the bullpen.
The Rangers announced today that they have released outfielder Josh Hamilton from the minor-league deal that the sides struck during the offseason. Per the club, Hamilton suffered another knee injury during his rehabilitation efforts and will again require surgery.
Hamilton’s most recent surgery was on his left knee, the latest in a long line of procedures performed on the joint. But his new injury — the details of which have not been reported — occurred to the opposite knee.
It’s not known what’s next for the 35-year-old, who was in the mix for a roster spot in Spring Training before going under the knife. Last he played in the majors, back in 2015, Hamilton still had above-average power but struggled to reach base with a declining walk rate.
You have to go further back to find a full season of action — 2013, with the Angels — and further still to find one in which he was a highly productive player. That’d be 2012, when Hamilton set himself up for a big free-agent payday by slashing .285/.354/.577 and swatting 43 home runs in Texas. The Angels are paying off the last of that deal (less $2MM still owed by the Rangers) this year.
In his latest GM Q&A, Mark Feinsand of MLB.com sits down with Rangers GM Jon Daniels and discusses a number of trade- and front-office-related topics. The interview ranges from Daniels’ entrance into the industry, to his hiring as a general manager at the age of 28 to a number of trades (both good and bad) that he’s made as the Rangers’ top decision-maker over the years. Daniels candidly admits that he was in over his head when he was first named GM. “I’m still surprised,” Daniels tells Feinsand. “Very green at the time; admittedly not ready for it. But what are you going to do, turn it down? ’A contract to be the GM for a Major League team? No, sir, I’m not ready.'” Daniels goes on to detail the lessons he learned early in his tenure, including a vital one from his first major trade: one that sent Alfonso Soriano to the Nationals.
“The mistake we made was not in trading [Soriano], but when we made the deal for [Brad] Wilkerson, [Armando] Galarraga and [Terrmel] Sledge, no sooner had we made the deal and agreed to it at the Winter Meetings did we have 15 clubs calling on Wilkerson,” Daniels recalls. “…Had we engaged clubs on Brad Wilkerson at that point, we could have done pretty well. … [Y]ou make a deal and you have the new player, the bright shiny object, and you fall in love and don’t want to be open-minded to at least considering other things. That was the mistake we made.”
The entire Q&A is a highly recommended read. And once you’ve processed that, a bit more on the Rangers…
- Rangers minor league lefty Joe Palumbo has been diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament, and Tommy John surgery is on the table as an option, reports Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. Palumbo rates as the club’s No. 6 prospect at MLB.com, No. 8 on Keith Law’s list at ESPN, No. 9 per Baseball America, and No. 7 per Fangraphs’ Eric Longenhagen. The scouting reports on Palumbo range peg his ceiling anywhere from league-average starter to late-inning lefty, with multiple mentions of a significant uptick in the southpaw’s velocity last season. Unfortunately, the injury to Palumbo could wipe out a full season of development and sideline him into next summer. The 22-year-old posted a 2.24 ERA with a 122-to-36 K/BB ratio and a 50.2 percent ground-ball rate in Class-A last season and opened the 2017 campaign strongly for the Rangers’ Class-A Advanced affiliate.
- Adrian Beltre still isn’t close to running at full speed as he rehabs a calf injury, writes MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan. While Beltre was doing light running as recently as Wednesday of this week, there’s still no firm timetable on when he’ll be able to begin a rehab assignment, let alone actually return to the Rangers’ lineup. In his absence, Joey Gallo continues to get an extended look and has impressed manager Jeff Banister. “I think he has done a stellar job handling it physically and mentally,” Banister tells Sullivan. “I haven’t seen any reaction other than he is engaged and ready to play.”
The Rangers have designated right-hander Mike Hauschild for assignment and selected the contract of right-hander Anthony Bass from Triple-A Round Rock, per a club announcement. Hauschild was the Rangers’ Rule 5 pick out of the Astros organization. If he passes through waivers unclaimed, the Rangers will have to offer him back to Houston for $50K.
The 27-year-old Hauschild made his big league debut for the Rangers this season, tossing eight innings but yielding an unsightly 10 earned runs on the strength of 14 hits and two walks. Of those 14 hits, five of them cleared the fence — further fueling Hauschild’s struggles. He did manage seven punchouts and a 48.3 percent ground-ball rate in his eight innings, but those modest silver linings weren’t enough to keep him on the team’s active roster.
Bass, 29, will be returning for his second stint with the Rangers. The 2008 fifth-rounder (Padres) spent the 2015 season with the Rangers, pitching to a 4.50 ERA with 6.3 K/9 against 2.8 BB/9 in 64 innings as the team’s primary long reliever. Last season, he logged his first year in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball, tossing 203 2/3 innings with a 3.65 ERA, 6.2 K/9 and 4.1 BB/9 as a member of the Nippon Ham Fighters.
- Rangers righty John Fasola underwent Tommy John surgery today, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports on Twitter. Fasola, 25, isn’t exactly a hyped prospect. But he did win the club’s award as the top reliever on the farm last year after throwing 51 innings of 3.18 ERA ball with 10.2 K/9 against 2.1 BB/9. Fasola went on to have a solid Arizona Fall League run and might soon have been a factor in the major league mix were it not for the injury.
The Rangers have outrighted right-hander Tyler Wagner to Triple-A after he cleared waivers, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News tweets. With the move, Texas has opened a second unclaimed spot on its 40-man roster.
Wagner, 26, was claimed off waivers last fall. He had reached the big leagues only briefly in each of the past two seasons, but had largely thrown well in the upper minors.
Thus far, however, Wagner has struggled at Triple-A Round Rock. Through 14 innings over three starts, he has allowed a dozen earned runs on 19 hits with as many walks as strikeouts (eight apiece). It seems he’ll continue to work from the rotation there.
Here are the day’s minor moves from around baseball…
- The Rangers announced on Wednesday that they’ve signed veteran infielder Josh Wilson to a minor league contract. He’ll head to Triple-A, though it’s not clear if he’ll first make a stop in extended Spring Training. The 36-year-old Wilson is no stranger to Texas, having spent 24 games with the Rangers back in 2014. The versatile journeyman has seen Major League time with nine teams across parts of eight big league seasons, most recently appearing with the 2015 Tigers. Wilson is a career .229/.280/.319 hitter in 430 Major League contests and a lifetime .263/.324/.395 hitter in parts of 11 Triple-A seasons. Wilson spent the 2016 campaign with the independent Atlantic League’s York Revolution, appearing in 120 games and batting .255/.299/.383 with eight homers and 14 steals.