The Indians' roster management leaves much to be desired

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Matt and Aaron
mentioned the Ryan Garko trade last night, but I’m still thinking about
one aspect of it this morning, and that’s the fact that the Tribe
called up Andy Marte instead of Matt LaPorta to take Garko’s spot on
the roster. Let’s suss that out a bit, shall we?

Matt LaPorta was the centerpiece of the CC Sabathia trade last year,
and he’s gotten nothing but a courtesy callup so far. For now he’s like
me: Tearing it up, but largely wasting his time, in Columbus, Ohio
while the big old world slowly passes him by. Andy Marte, on the other
hand, has had approximately 1,257 chances to make it work in the Major
Leagues and has failed every time. Yes, he too is raking in Columbus
this year, and yes he stands to be a minor league free agent this
winter, but those 1,257 previous chances still weigh heavy on the mind.
Could he be the next Carlos Pena? Sure. But I think it far more likely
that he’s the AAAA player that he’s shown himself to be for several
years now, and if you have to choose between him and LaPorta, you have
to give LaPorta the shot.

Of course the dumbest thing about all of this is that the Indians didn’t have to choose between Marte and LaPorta. They forced that choice upon themselves by carrying a 14 man pitching staff.

Let me repeat that.

The Indians have five starting pitchers and nine — nine! —
relievers on their 25 man roster. Mark Shapiro, in his infinite wisdom,
has decided that he wants to give his embattled manager the option of
running ten pitchers out in a given game. And that happens so often!

Here’s something that doesn’t happen so often, but happened last
night: Because Garko was traded, Travis Hafner couldn’t play (he gets
mandatory days off to rest his shoulder or whatever it is on him that
doesn’t work so good) and Grady Sizemore was sick, the Indians played
the entire game against the Angels last night with literally no one
available on the bench. If Asdrubal Cabrera went down, Cliff Lee is
probably playing short. And who cares? They’re trading him anyway!

In light of that, and in light of the fact that you have two guys
worthy of a callup to the big leagues, you’d think that the Indians
would maybe think about going from the monumentally stupid 14-man
pitching staff to a merely idiotic 13 or a somewhat excessive 12. But
far be it from me to argue against success.

[cough!] 42-58 [cough!]

Sonny Gray was denied insurance coverage for the World Baseball Classic

MESA, AZ - FEBRUARY 22:  Pitcher Sonny Gray #54 of the Oakland Athletics poses for a portrait during photo day at HoHoKam Stadium on February 22, 2017 in Mesa, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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The San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser reports that Athletics’ right-hander Sonny Gray will not pitch in the World Baseball Classic after failing to meet the necessary criteria for insurance coverage. He missed 70 days on the disabled list with forearm tightness and a back strain in 2016.

According to Oakland GM David Forst, Major League Baseball tried to persuade the insurance carrier to waive the requirements for Gray to pitch for Team USA, but the request was ultimately refused. Without coverage, Gray will be unable to participate in the competition, though Forst adds that the 27-year-old is still in perfect health as Opening Day approaches and should benefit from a slower spring training schedule without the added commitment on his plate.

Injuries complicated a down year for Gray, who pitched to a career-worst 5.69 ERA, 3.2 BB/9 and 7.2 SO/9 rate through 117 innings in 2016. His 1.4 HR/9 and 17.8% HR/FB rates suggested that he felt the effects of the home run spike more than most, capping a disappointing follow-up to his All-Star campaign during 2015.

While Gray works up to a healthy and productive start to the 2017 season, the Athletics will still see two players on WBC rosters next month: right-handed reliever Santiago Casilla, who is scheduled to pitch for the Dominican Republic, and fellow righty John Axford, for Team Canada.

Report: Josh Hamilton likely to undergo another knee surgery

ANAHEIM, CA - JULY 24:  Josh Hamilton #32 of the Texas Rangers in the dugout before a game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on July 24, 2015 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Jonathan Moore/Getty Images)
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Rangers’ outfielder Josh Hamilton is scheduled for another knee exam on Monday, according to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Hamilton left camp last week after feeling some pain in his left knee and received a PRP injection to alleviate the symptoms. Wilson notes that both Dr. Walt Lowe and Rangers’ assistant general manager Mike Daly noticed little improvement in the days following the injection.

More drastic measures could be necessary if the 35-year-old intends to return to the field this year. MLB.com’s TR Sullivan adds that the Rangers are considering arthroscopic surgery for Hamilton, which would set him back at least 4-6 weeks and eliminate any real chance of his making the Opening Day roster in April. Until they see the results of the surgery, however, the Rangers won’t rule out Hamilton’s potential return to the big leagues in 2017.

Hamilton is looking at his third major procedure since the end of the 2015 season. He missed all of the Rangers’ 2016 campaign after undergoing reconstructive knee surgery last spring and has not seen a full workload in the majors since his 2013 run with the Angels. Should he make a full recovery this season, he figures to see some time at first base/DH or the corner outfield.