Wednesday's thoughts – Wieters goes deep Wieters

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– The latest evidence that Trey Hillman is a joke as a major league
manager: Kyle Farnsworth, who had allowed one run in eight weeks,
wasn’t the reliever of choice with the Royals down 6-2 tonight. Nor was
he the reliever of choice with the team down 7-2. No, Hillman waited
until it was 11-2 and then brought in Farnsworth to get some work. It
was his first appearance in six days.

– Chris Young is still hitting below .200 for Arizona, but he walked
three more times tonight, bringing his total of the month to 11 in 54
at-bats. He had eight in 163 at-bats between April and May. He also has
three homers and six steals in June, so I hope no one dropped him in
mixed leagues.

– Matt Wieters’ first big-league homer
didn’t look like much off the bat, but it was still nice to see him go
the other way for a change. He had been taking most everything to right
field while hitting left-handed.

– B.J. Ryan sure didn’t help his chances of seeing save
opportunities by allowing three of the four batters he faced to reach
in the ninth against the Phillies. Rather than risk the six-run lead,
the Jays opted to replace him with Brandon League, who stranded all
three runners to finish out the 7-1 game. Jason Frasor is probably
going to be the man in Toronto with Scott Downs out.

– Would it really embarrass any Reds regulars if Micah Owings hit,
say, fifth in his starts? They obviously know just how good he is, and
it’s hardly such a disadvantage to be using pinch-hitters in the middle
of the order after Owings departs. Owings, of course, hit his seventh
career homer in his second and final plate appearance tonight. He
delivered a sac bunt in the first one. I’m holding out hope that he was
actually bunting for a hit, but MLB.tv is being a real pain tonight.
Anyone see it?

Tanner Scheppers leaves Cactus League game with lower core injury

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Rangers’ bullpen candidate Tanner Scheppers left Friday’s Cactus League game with pain in his “lower half,” according to reports by Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. The specifics of the right-hander’s injury have yet to be determined, but he was accompanied by the athletic trainer when he exited the game and is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Saturday.

Scheppers, 30, has a long history of elbow and knee injuries. He missed all but 8 2/3 innings of the 2016 season after undergoing a procedure to repair torn articular cartilage in his left knee. While he appeared healthy enough through his first seven appearances this spring, he failed to impress with three runs, five walks and six strikeouts over 7 2/3 innings with the club.

Should Scheppers find himself on the disabled list for another lengthy stay, MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan speculates that his absence could clear some room in the bullpen for Rule 5 draft pick and fellow righty Mike Hauschild. Hauschild, 27, has dealt seven runs, five walks and 15 strikeouts through 17 1/3 innings in camp.

Report: Jose Ramirez close to four-year extension with Indians

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Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan reports that third baseman Jose Ramirez is finalizing a four-year extension with the Indians. The deal is said to be worth north of $30 million, and may crest $50 million if all options are exercised. While the extension won’t take effect until the 2018 season, it guarantees Ramirez a $26 million sum with two options worth $11 and $13 million and will give the Indians control of the infielder through the 2023 season.

Ramirez, 24, is entering his fifth season in the Indians’ organization. He posted career-high numbers during his first full season in the majors, slashing .312/.363/.461 with 11 home runs, 22 stolen bases and 4.8 fWAR in 2016. He’s projected to have a strong follow-up season at the plate and will likely see some time at second base as Jason Kipnis works his way back from a shoulder injury.

Although 2016 only showcased the beginning of Ramirez’s success with the club, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman says it’s a standard move for Cleveland to “sign their stars early,” and indicates that Ramirez was rumored to want the deal. Jeff Todd of MLB Trade Rumors adds that the extension will keep Ramirez under club control through three arbitration-eligible years and one year of potential free agency.