Orioles' closer Mike Gonzalez goes on the DL

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UPDATE:  Yep, he’s hurt. Gonzalez is on the 15-day DL with a strained left shoulder.

12:13 P.M. The Orioles’ new $12 million closer hasn’t been worth a thin dime so far. Based on this mashed-up series of tweets from Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun, he may be more than merely ineffective. He may be hurt:

Dave Trembley just revealed that Michale Gonzalez
was not available Tuesday. He may have a shoulder situation . . . Gonzalez came back from the birth of his first
child on Monday and told Trembley he couldn’t get loose to come in game . . .
Gonzalez isn’t available today and will see a team
doctor, Trembley said. He apparently was in training room with shoulder
iced.

When Gonzalez came over to the Braves from the Pirates in 2007 he pitched in 18 games, then missed the rest of the year and half of the following year with Tommy John surgery. The difference between then and now: at least Gonzalez was effective in the handful of games he pitched for the Braves before he got hurt. His three appearances thus far have been fairly disastrous.

I hope Gonzalez isn’t hurt, because really, who wants someone to be hurt? But given how hard he was worked last year — 80 appearances in his first full post-Tommy John season — I’m not entirely optimistic.

Tanner Scheppers leaves Cactus League game with lower core injury

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Rangers’ bullpen candidate Tanner Scheppers left Friday’s Cactus League game with pain in his “lower half,” according to reports by Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. The specifics of the right-hander’s injury have yet to be determined, but he was accompanied by the athletic trainer when he exited the game and is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Saturday.

Scheppers, 30, has a long history of elbow and knee injuries. He missed all but 8 2/3 innings of the 2016 season after undergoing a procedure to repair torn articular cartilage in his left knee. While he appeared healthy enough through his first seven appearances this spring, he failed to impress with three runs, five walks and six strikeouts over 7 2/3 innings with the club.

Should Scheppers find himself on the disabled list for another lengthy stay, MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan speculates that his absence could clear some room in the bullpen for Rule 5 draft pick and fellow righty Mike Hauschild. Hauschild, 27, has dealt seven runs, five walks and 15 strikeouts through 17 1/3 innings in camp.

Report: Jose Ramirez close to four-year extension with Indians

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Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan reports that third baseman Jose Ramirez is finalizing a four-year extension with the Indians. The deal is said to be worth north of $30 million, and may crest $50 million if all options are exercised. While the extension won’t take effect until the 2018 season, it guarantees Ramirez a $26 million sum with two options worth $11 and $13 million and will give the Indians control of the infielder through the 2023 season.

Ramirez, 24, is entering his fifth season in the Indians’ organization. He posted career-high numbers during his first full season in the majors, slashing .312/.363/.461 with 11 home runs, 22 stolen bases and 4.8 fWAR in 2016. He’s projected to have a strong follow-up season at the plate and will likely see some time at second base as Jason Kipnis works his way back from a shoulder injury.

Although 2016 only showcased the beginning of Ramirez’s success with the club, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman says it’s a standard move for Cleveland to “sign their stars early,” and indicates that Ramirez was rumored to want the deal. Jeff Todd of MLB Trade Rumors adds that the extension will keep Ramirez under club control through three arbitration-eligible years and one year of potential free agency.