Mining the News (6/5/20) by Jeff Zimmerman June 5, 2020 I’m cleaning up any news I have a backlog because I’m off on vacation next week and hopefully when I return, a decision will exist on an MLB season. As a reminder, the focus of this article is to dive deeper than the headline news like Chris Archer’s surgery. General information The effects of a concussion can still be felt two years later. Interesting nugget on #concussions. Remember this when you have an athlete that suffered a concussion less than 2 years ago… pic.twitter.com/y70wfYiuPt — Dr. Jesse Morse (@DrJesseMorse) May 1, 2020 Here is a list of players who have been on the IL for a concussion over the past two years. American League Angels • Both Shohei Ohtani and Griffin Canning are ready to go for the season. #Angels fans will be happy to know Shohei Ohtani and Griffin Canning have three live batting practice sessions under their belts. They’ve reached the 55-pitch mark and will hang there for the time being. — Maria Torres (@maria_torres3) May 31, 2020 Indians • Jefry Rodriquez has been expanding his pitch repertoire this offseason. The possibility of expanded rosters if Major League Baseball resumes this summer could help Rodriguez find a spot in 2020. How Francona decides to use him, whether that’s in long relief, as a potential “opener” or as a spot starter, remains to be seen. But the club remains high on the 26 year old and likes the fact that he spent much of the offseason trying to develop his repertoire in Arizona. If there’s a spot available, it’s likely that Rodriguez, who has one option remaining, could get it. His curveball is good (17% SwStr%) and his sinker is OK (64% GB%) so a third pitch would boost his value. • Connor Byrne has a nice writeup on the issues Carlos Carrasco might face as a cancer survivor with the COVID-19 outbreak on-going. … Carrasco has continued to throw bullpen sessions and send videos of them to manager Terry Francona and Carl Willis. Carrasco has been a regular attendee of Indians workouts at Progressive Field. Those actions show Carrasco plans to pitch this year, as Hoynes writes, though he adds that the team’s “prioritized the health of their players and staff members above all else so that decision is still on hold.” According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cancer survivors are among those who are at the highest risk of contracting the coronavirus, which puts people like Carrasco in especially dangerous territory. Mariners • Jarred Kelenic and Julio Rodriguez will likely not be added to the Mariners roster this year. If you’re asking if we’re going to see guys such as Logan Gilbert, Jarred Kelenic and Julio Rodriguez in Seattle this year, then the answer is probably no — other than maybe Gilbert, who isn’t far off from being big-league ready. Kelenic and Rodriguez just aren’t ready for baseball’s highest level, though Kelenic might have been after a few months of playing every day in the minors. Plus, there’s the whole issue of starting their arbitration clock early by playing them this year. Other than the novelty of it, why bother? Orioles • Alex Cobb is healthy. Alex Cobb reported to camp fully healed from the right hip issue he underwent surgery for in July, and he was in line to assume the No. 2 spot in the Orioles’ rotation when camp was halted. Cobb was nagged briefly by some blister issues in camp, but nothing related to the hip and back problems that plagued him in 2019. When baseball returns, he’s expected to play a key role in the O’s rotation. Rangers • Joey Gallo thinks Globe Life Field will suppress home runs. [Joey Gallo] On taking batting practice at Globe Life Field: “It’s playing big. It is definitely going to be a pitchers’ park, I think. We are trying to get those fences moved in a little bit. It’s a little deep, I am not going to lie. It’s a little deep to center. “Us hitters are getting a little nervous about that. But it’s a beautiful park and an amazing field. Honestly, we are blessed to be able to play in that but definitely worried how big it is playing. Maybe when [the roof] is open [the ball] will travel better. But not many guys are hitting homers to center or in the gaps.” Here is a comparison of the two parks. Tales of the tape. pic.twitter.com/rHAFmYzbhX — Texas Rangers (@Rangers) December 4, 2019 • Willie Calhoun has been working on improving his game. “JD really flat out just told me the stuff I needed to work on and he was saying at the time I don’t think I was doing as well offensively. He said ‘if you’re going to be an offense only guy you’ve got to put up offense only numbers, like J.D. Martinez type numbers. “At the time I don’t think I was doing too well. Him having that wake up call with me at that point and at the exit meeting in Anaheim when he sat me down and told me ‘you have to get better in pretty much all aspects of the game. You can’t just be one out of shape kid and expect everything to be handed to you. You have to work for it.’ Danny Santana seems to be a lock as the Rangers starting center fielder. Danny Santana should be the Rangers’ center fielder this season. All those Spring Training experiments with Nick Solak and others will likely need to be pushed aside out of expediency in getting a team together as quickly as possible. Red Sox • The Red Sox expect their starters to be able to go throw five innings by the end of Summer Training. Providing updates on a few players, Roenicke said starters Eduardo Rodriguez, Nathan Eovaldi, Martin Perez, and Ryan Weber have been throwing two simulated innings per week in order to stay fresh, with the idea being that the quartet can quickly ramp up to being able to toss five innings by the end of an abbreviated second Spring Training. Royals • Brad Keller is looking at improving his change and curve. Not only did Keller touch on the aforementioned subjects, but he talked about much more. He’s been working on improving his changeup and adopting a curveball so he can be a more complete pitcher in 2020. National League Brewers • It’s unsure how far the Brewers starters will throw each game to start the season. With a restarted spring training likely to last only a couple weeks, pitchers will likely need a couple of starts before they are tasked with anything more than, say, four innings. Again, just a guess. While guys have been doing their best to stay ready and continue to throw in most cases, they haven’t known exactly how much they should be pushing from a strength standpoint or for how long because of all the uncertainties. Eventually, it’s conceivable that starters will pitch deeper into games, but likely not initially. Pirates • The team expects their starters to go three to four innings when they report to camp. Last week, pitching coach Oscar Marin told me he expected all of his starters will be able to throw either three or four innings “right off the bat.” The pitchers have been working out on their own and throwing bullpen sessions for several weeks. Keller, for example, has been among a handful of minor and major league players who’ve gathered in training facilities in Iowa. • Gregory Polanco will get quite a few at-bats at DH. Heredia and Martin might get more starts than anyone expected back in March because Polanco, whose surgically rebuilt shoulder will have to be closely monitored, will often be used as the DH. Rockies • Nick Groke of the Athletic tries to clear up how the Rockies will utilize the DH. The [DH] afforded the bubble players will be the biggest boon. It also hides some of their problems. Daniel Murphy seems perfect as a designated hitter. They can maximize his bat without any drop from his defense at first base. Ryan McMahon can move back to his natural position. Hampson and Rodgers can rotate at second. Boom. Multiple problems solved. • The outfield seems to be Charlie Blackmon, David Dahl with Ian Desmond and Raimel Tapia in a platoon. And Sam Hilliard on the bench. Desmond was set up to be a pinch-hitter and platoon starter in left field with Tapia. Nothing about expanded rosters changes that concept. But now the Rockies have the gift of Hilliard’s availability off the bench, too. And if somebody catches a hot hand, they can edge into being a starter. If they all go cold, Yonathan Daza is available, too (see below).