Rangers send their Opening Day catchers to the minors

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Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Taylor Teagarden began the season sharing the catching position in the major leagues. Now they’ll do it again with Triple-A Oklahoma City, according to T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com.

It’s quite a surprising change of course, but now Max Ramirez will share catching duties with Matt Treanor for the time being. The move enables Saltalamacchia to stay down in the minor leagues for at least 10 days, unofficially extending what was already a minor league rehab assignment. 

“We’ve been struggling at the catching position in the early going,”
Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. “We want to give Taylor an
opportunity to go down and get right. With Jarrod, he’s felt good the
last few days. We just want to see him go and play … get consistent
playing time, consistent repetitions, play regularly; also with the
mindset not to worry if today is the day he’s coming back. Free him up
to go down and play regularly and not worry about anything.”

Saltalamacchia was placed on the disabled list on April 8 due to tightness in his upper back and left shoulder, but has been progressing well in his rehab. Teagarden, meanwhile, was in a deep funk at the plate, managing just one hit over his first 27 at-bats this season.  
  

President Obama pardons Willie McCovey

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - APRIL 06:  San Francisco Giants legend Willie McCovey  waves to the crowd while seating between Jeff Kent (L) and Willie Mays during a ceremony honoring Buster Posey for winning the 2012 National League MVP before the Giants game against the St. Louis Cardinals at AT&T Park on April 6, 2013 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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The big presidential pardon news today concerns the commutation of Chelsea Manning’s sentence. We’ll leave that aside. For our purposes, know that someone in the world of baseball was pardoned: Willie McCovey.

Yes, Hall of Famer Willie McCovey, who in 1995 pleaded guilty to income tax fraud related to the non-reporting of income received from memorabilia and autograph shows. Duke Snider pleaded guilty alongside McCovey. They were given two years probation and fines of $5,000. Snider died in 2011. McCovey still works with the San Francisco Giants as a senior advisor and goodwill ambassador.

President Obama’s release of McCovey’s pardon was pretty succinct. But it’s enough to scrub the record of one of the greatest sluggers of all time.

 

Jake Diekman will miss at least half of the 2017 season

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 9: Jake Diekman #41 of the Texas Rangers works against the Toronto Blue Jays in the sixth inning during game three of the American League Division Series at Rogers Centre on October 9, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
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Rangers reliever Jake Diekman will have surgery on January 25 to help alleviate ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease. As a result, the lefty will miss at least half of the 2017 regular season, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. Diekman was diagnosed with the illness when he was 11 years old. He has brought awareness to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America with a “Gut It Out” campaign.

Diekman, who turns 30 years old on Saturday, finished the 2016 campaign with a 3.40 ERA and a 59/26 K/BB ratio in 53 innings. He came to the Rangers from the Phillies in the Cole Hamels trade on July 31, 2015.

The Rangers and Diekman avoided arbitration last Friday, agreeing to a $2.55 million salary for the 2017 season.