The cuts keep coming in MLB. As spring training continues to separate the best from the rest, teams are trimming off the excess weight and sending players packing. Some are fortunate enough to be allowed to spend a little extra time sharpening their skills, while others are being sent away with a “don’t call us, we’ll call you” and a handshake. It’s all part of the game and, with Opening Day approaching quickly, teams are getting serious.
Bryce Harper Dodges Bullet……Yet Again
Bryce Harper’s lower extremities are magnets for baseball. A year ago, he caught a pitch in his right ankle during a spring training game and, fortunately, didn’t suffer any major damage. He was benched for the game and made a full return for the Philadelphia Phillies. As he was up to bat during today’s game against the Minnesota Twins, it was his left foot that took a bad pitch from Sean Poppen in the first inning. However, just like last year, it appears there’s no permanent damage, and Harper could be seen walking around the dugout without much difficulty.
Corey Ray and Trey Supak are off the Milwaukee Brewers roster. In addition, a number of players have been shipped off to minor league camp, including right-handed pitchers Jesus Castillo, Thomas Jankins, Drew Rasmussen and Miguel Sanchez, left-handers Clayton Andrews and Ethan Small. Lorenzo Cain and Luis Castro both showed that they’re ready to help the team when they picked up the only two runs for the Brewers in a 2-1 victory yesterday over the Seattle Mariners.
If anyone was hoping to see Joey Bart in the San Francisco Giants lineup, there’s bad news. He had been the team’s best prospect, but has been sent to minor league camp along with a few others – seven players have been optioned and another ten were reassigned. Bart had come far during spring training, but not far enough that the team felt the catcher was ready for the big league. He’ll work on his game in camp and then make another run after gaining some valuable experience.
The Chicago Cubs have now completed two rounds of cuts, with the latest reductions being announced today. Adbert Alzolay was assigned to minor league camp before being optioned to Triple-A ball, as were Zack Short and Colin Rea. With Alzolay’s departure, this means that Tyler Chatwood and Alex Mills are the two primary contenders for a spot in the rotation. The team is now down to 44 players, and more cuts are coming.
Several pitchers hoping to make it to the lineup for the Toronto Blue Jays have lost their chance. Thomas Hatch, Elvis Luciano, Patrick Murphy, Hector Perez and T.J. Zeuch have all been optioned to minor league camp, and Patrick Kivlehan, Nash Knight and Logan Warmoth have been reassigned to the camp. This was the first round of cuts for the team, but certainly not the last. The Blue Jays will play their first regular season game against the Red Sox on March 26, and will slim down even further before then.
The Washington Nationals are beginning to see a picture emerge and are ready to make some reductions. Carter Kieboom, who came into spring training as a top prospect, may find himself off the squad if he doesn’t begin to focus. He has a .250 average through 11 games in the Grapefruit League and has also made three throwing errors. Yet, the Nats aren’t ready to write him off and he still has a chance at securing a spot at third base if he can pull his act together.
The Houston Astros are going to play in front of a chorus of boos for perhaps the entire season. There’s no doubt that baseball fans are still not over the sign-stealing drama, and continue to show their aggravation as the Astros take the field during spring training. The only good news for the team is that the choruses are not as loud, as many fans are keeping away from games due to coronavirus concerns.