C.J. Wilson thrives in first start since 2005

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Despite a 3.75 ERA, 51 saves, and 231 strikeouts in 233 innings as a reliever over the past four seasons C.J. Wilson campaigned for a spot in the Rangers’ rotation this spring, won the third-starter gig, and tossed seven shutout innings Thursday in his first start since way back in August of 2005.
Wilson was very impressive against the Blue Jays with nine strikeouts versus just five hits and two walks, but Frank Francisco blew his win by serving up a homer to the red hot Vernon Wells in the ninth inning.
I picked Texas to win the AL West despite not feeling particularly confident about their rotation, but Wilson going from good setup man to solid middle-of-the-rotation starter would go a long way toward changing that. Assuming Francisco gets back on track and Neftali Feliz dominates in Wilson’s old setup role, of course.

Indians sign Melvin Upton Jr. to a minor league deal

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The Cleveland Indians have agreed to a minor league deal with outfielder Melvin Upton, Jr.

Upton, 33, battled a torn thumb ligament and a shoulder issue last season, limiting him to only 12 games with Triple-A Sacramento, the Giants’ affiliate. In those 12 games, he hit .244 with one double and one home run. Upton last played in the majors in 2016 with the Padres and Blue Jays with which he posted an aggregate .693 OPS.

Given the injuries suffered by Indians outfielders in the past couple of seasons it can’t hurt to have some options for organizational depth. If he has anything left in the tank, stash him on the bench or down in Columbus. If not, no harm done.