While we’re on the subject of top
prospects, Dustin Ackley, the No. 2 selection in the 2009 First-Year
Player Draft also made news on Friday. Mariners general manager Jack
Zduriencik said Ackley will begin working out at second base in a move that could become permanent.
Ackley, 21, played outfield and
first base with North Carolina, but was drafted as a center
fielder. Zduriencik was careful to say that this would be an
experiment, but Ackley is expected to rise in the system rather
quickly, and with Franklin Gutierrez holding down center field quite
nicely, second base could be a natural fit.
Ackley is batting .315/.412/.425
with one home run, five doubles, 12 RBI and 13 runs scored in 20 games
for the Peoria Javelinas in the Arizona Fall League. He is scheduled to
bat leadoff and play center field during Saturday’s AFL Championship
Game against the Phoenix Desert Dogs.
It’s important to note that Ackley is at least one year away from the majors, but in a semi-related story, the Mariners may consider moving current second baseman Jose Lopez to first base, according to a FOXSports.com.
During the offseason, the Astros finally got rid of Tal’s Hill in center field. It was a throwback to older stadiums, some of which had uneven topography — Crosley Field, namely. As unique as it was in the age of cookie cutter sports stadiums, most of us were holding our collective breaths hoping no one ruptured an Achilles or suffered another brutal injury trying to navigate the hill while attempting to catch a fly ball.
We saw what it looked like during reconstruction:
And now, via Julia Morales of ROOT Sports, we see what it looks like after all the work has been done:
The Astros are allowing fans with Lexus Field Club tickets to stand on the new warning track to watch batting practice and shag fly balls as well, Morales notes. Lexus Field Club is where Tal’s Hill used to be.
Good riddance, Tal’s Hill.
Jhoulys Chacin will start on Opening Day, April 3 against the Dodgers in Los Angeles, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. It will be Chacin’s second Opening Day start, the other coming in 2013 with the Rockies against the Brewers. He’ll be the fifth different Padres pitcher in as many years to start on Opening Day.
Chacin, 29, inked a one-year, $1.75 million contract with the Padres in December. The right-hander spent the 2016 season with the Braves and Angels, compiling an aggregate 4.81 ERA with a 119/55 K/BB ratio in 144 innings.
Lin notes that Chacin will be followed in the rotation by Clayton Richard and Jered Weaver. It will be an interesting rotation, to say the least, as it will arguably be the worst in baseball.