* Erika Gilbert of MLB.com reports
that Roy Halladay is on track to return from his groin injury to start
Monday against the Rays. Halladay threw a bullpen session yesterday,
with manager Cito Gaston saying afterward that “he felt good.”
Halladay hasn’t pitched since June 12, yet still leads the league in
wins and ranks fourth in innings. He’s eligible to come off the
disabled list Sunday, but Gaston noted that the Blue Jays want to “give
him another day’s rest.”
* Tim Lincecum had some Giants fans concerned when he began the season with back-to-back poor outings, but after last night’s complete-game victory
against the A’s the NL’s reigning Cy Young winner is now 7-1 with a
2.14 ERA and 114/22 K/BB ratio in 96.2 innings spread over his last 13
starts. He leads the league in innings and strikeouts while ranking
fourth in ERA.
* Barack Obama has signed on to throw out the ceremonial first pitch
at the All-Star game in St. Louis next week, following in the footsteps
of John F. Kennedy., Richard Nixon, and Gerald Ford. And then he’ll be
rooting for an American League win.
A report from the Baltimore Sun’s Dan Connolly suggests that free agent catcher Welington Castillo currently tops the Orioles’ list of potential backstop targets for the 2017 season. With Matt Wieters on the market, the Orioles lack a suitable platoon partner for Caleb Joseph behind the dish, and Connolly adds that the club has been discussing a multi-year deal with Castillo’s representatives since the Winter Meetings.
Castillo batted .264/.322/.423 with the Diamondbacks in 2016, racking up 14 home runs and driving in a career-high 68 RBI in 457 PA. His bat provides much of his upside, and Connolly quoted an anonymous National League scout who believes that the 29-year-old’s defensive profile has fallen short of his potential in recent years.
For better or worse, both the Orioles and Castillo appear far from locking in a deal for 2017. Both the Rays and Braves have expressed interest in the veteran catcher during the past week, while the Orioles are reportedly considering Wieters, Nick Hundley and Chris Iannetta as alternatives behind the plate.
The Phillies reportedly signed veteran outfielder Daniel Nava to a minor league contract, according to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Nava began the season on a one-year contract with the Angels, during which he slashed .235/.309/.303 through 136 PA in the first half of 2016. He was flipped to the Royals in late August for a player to be named later and saw the remainder of his year go down the drain on an .091 average through 12 PA in Anaheim. After getting the boot from the Angels’ 40-man roster in November, the 33-year-old outfielder elected free agency.
Nava is expected to compete for a bench role on the Phillies’ roster in the spring. As it currently stands, the club’s projected 2017 outfield features Howie Kendrick and Odubel Herrera, with precious little depth behind them. Nava’s bat is underwhelming, but at the very least he offers the Phillies a warm body in left field and a potential platoon partner for one of their younger options, a la Tyler Goeddel or Roman Quinn.