Initially expected to miss just a few games with what was termed a “mild” oblique strain, Geovany Soto is headed to the disabled list and Lou Piniella said this afternoon that “he’s going to be out probably a month or so.”
Soto followed up his Rookie of the Year-winning debut by getting off to
a brutal start this season, but has been hot recently while hitting
.261/.337/.591 with seven homers and 14 total extra-base hits in his
last 100 plate appearances.
Now the Cubs will turn to Koyie Hill as their primary catcher, which
is bad news given that he’s hit just .203/.277/.301 in 124 games as a
big leaguer after posting an underwhelming .281/.339/.439 line in 406
games at Triple-A.
Jake Fox could see some time behind the plate if the Cubs get
creative by sacrificing defense for offense, but it’s more likely that
Hill will receive the bulk of the starts while a minor-league veteran
like Mark Johnson or Chris Robinson back him up. Either way, it’s
another significant blow to a Cubs team that can’t afford many more
setbacks at this point.
Jon Morosi of MLB Network and FOX Sports reports that the Mariners have acquired starter Chris Heston from the Giants. The Giants will receive a player to be named later, per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.
Heston, 28, logged only five innings in the majors this past season as he battled an oblique injury and otherwise spent most of his time with Triple-A Sacramento. Heston was solid out of the Giants’ rotation in 2015, posting a 3.95 ERA with a 141/64 K/BB ratio in 177 2/3 innings over 31 starts.
Heston will be under team control through 2021. He’ll provide depth for the Mariners’ rotation in the meantime.
Joe Nathan‘s agent, David Pepe, says his client wants to pitch in 2017, per ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick. “He’s like the Energizer Bunny,” Pepe said.
Nathan, 42, came back from Tommy John surgery in July, pitching two scoreless innings for the Cubs with four strikeouts and two walks. The Cubs released him and the Giants picked him up, and Nathan went on to pitch 4 1/3 scoreless innings down the stretch with five strikeouts and two walks.
According to FanGraphs, Nathan’s velocity wasn’t where it used to be, which is to be expected of a pitcher in his 40’s coming back from major elbow surgery. Still, with teams always on the hunt for bullpen depth, it would be shocking if Nathan didn’t get any bites before spring training starts.