It’s the last weekend of draft season before the official games begin! Good Luck and Cheers!
— MLB GIFS (@MLBGIFs) February 18, 2018
On the Agenda:
1. Samardzija suffers a strained pectoral muscle
2. Conforto to DH on Friday
3. Various News and Notes
Samardzija to undergo an MRI
Jeff Samardzija underwent an MRI on his throwing shoulder on Thursday – and with the season less than a week away – will be headed to the disabled list for the first time in his career. Though most feared something was wrong with his shoulder, the MRI results showed a strained right pectoral muscle. “He’ll go a week without throwing the ball and then crank it up,” manager Bruce Bochy said Thursday night.
Samardzija has been one of the most durable starters in baseball since 2012, as he’s tallied at least 28 GS in every season, with 200+ IP in five-straight. He’s battled velocity issues this Spring – sitting 89-90 mph with his fastball – after averaging 94.3 mph on his four-seamer in 2017 per Statcast. The Giants coaching staff decided to pull the plug on his last outing after he gave up seven hits and two home runs in a minor league game against Triple-A Iowa. In total he’s allowed eight home runs in his last three starts.
The Giants will head into the season with Madison Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto, Chris Stratton, ad Ty Blach manning their rotation, with non-roster invitee Derek Holland and rookies, Tyler Beede, and Andrew Suarez as possible fifth options. As of now, Holland would be the likely candidate to fill in.
Conforto to DH on Friday
After swatting two home runs in a minor league scrimmage on Wednesday, Michael Conforto followed that up by hitting for the cycle while playing centerfield in a minor league game on Thursday. He’s now slated to make his Grapefruit League debut at DH against the Cardinals on Friday.
Things are starting to come together for the 25-year old outfielder, as his initial return date was supposed to be in May. Despite recent concerns, it’s looking like early-to-mid April is a possibility for him.
Various News and Notes
Steven Souza has been diagnosed with a strained right pectoral muscle after leaving Wednesday’s game against the Giants following his attempt to dive for a catch. His early timetable calls for “a couple weeks” according to manager Torey Lovullo.
Tim Beckham exited Thursday’s Grapefruit League game against the Red Sox due to a groin injury. He’ll be held out against the Rays today, but manager Buck Showalter expects him to be ready for Opening Day.
Danny Salazar was scheduled for a 20-pitch bullpen session on Thursday. There’s currently still no timetable for his return from right rotator cuff inflammation, but he’ll begin the season on the disabled list. Mike Clevinger in entrenched in a rotation spot, with Josh Tomlin set to begin the year in the fifth spot.
Lewis Brinson is fine after taking a relay throw to the side of the head in Thursday’s Grapefruit League game against the Astros. He exited the game, but the Marlins are saying it was “precautionary.”
Paul Blackburn’s MRI came back clean after suffering from a strained forearm. Oakland’s manager Bob Melvin expects him to start ramping things back up in about 10 days. Daniel Gossett will likely take the fifth spot in the A’s rotation to begin the year.
Jason Vargas played catch on Thursday – and according to MLB.com’s Mets beat writer Anthony DiComo – has left the door open to make his first turn in the rotation. Vargas underwent surgery on his non-throwing hand Tuesday after breaking it last week. Someone was handing him balls today, as he’s unable to play catch as of yet. If he can’t begin the season in the rotation, the Mets will likely use Zack Wheeler or Seth Lugo.
Jake Arrieta allowed two runs on three hits in two innings, while striking out two and walking zero against the Tigers on Thursday. He logged 31 pitches today – same as he did in a simulated game on Saturday – making his first start of the season possibly very limited in terms of pitch count.
Fantasy Baseball and Tampa Bay Rays enthusiast. Restaurant manager by day, fantasy analyst by night. Contributor to Rotographs, Baseball HQ, Fantasy Pros, and co-owner of Friends with Fantasy Benefits. Follow me @MikeWernerFWFB.