The Giants cleared a spot on their 25-man roster early this morning by designating infielder Matt Downs for assignment, according to Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News. That will allow outfielder Cody Ross, who was picked up for cash considerations in a waiver deal Sunday, to join the big league team.
As Baggarly himself pointed out this weekend, the Giants only meant to claim Ross off waivers in order to block him from the Padres, who San Francisco is chasing in the National League West. But the Fish jumped at the chance to unload the 29-year-old’s contract and now the outfield in San Fran is quite crowded.
Ross will join a shuffle that already includes Andres Torres, Pat Burrell, Jose Guillen, Aaron Rowand and Nate Schierholtz. Needless to say, there won’t be much playing time available.
Downs, 26, is likely to pass through waivers with ease and head back to Triple-A Fresno. He batted .244/.318/.372 with a home run and seven RBI in 78 at-bats this season for the big-league Giants.
MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Twins say minor league pitcher Yorman Landa has died in Venezuela. He was 22.
The club said in a statement that the Twins are “deeply saddened by the heartbreaking loss.” The team did not say how he died.
Landa pitched in the 2016 season with the Fort Meyers Miracle, going 2-2 with 7 saves and a 3.24 ERA in 41 2/3 innings pitched. His career minor-league ERA was 2.66.
Landa had been on the Twins’ 40-man roster, but was dropped after the season. The organization signed him to a minor-league contract last week.
Landa was signed by the Twins in 2010 as a 16-year old from Santa Teresa, Venezuela.
A report from the Baltimore Sun’s Dan Connolly suggests that free agent catcher Welington Castillo currently tops the Orioles’ list of potential backstop targets for the 2017 season. With Matt Wieters on the market, the Orioles lack a suitable platoon partner for Caleb Joseph behind the dish, and Connolly adds that the club has been discussing a multi-year deal with Castillo’s representatives since the Winter Meetings.
Castillo batted .264/.322/.423 with the Diamondbacks in 2016, racking up 14 home runs and driving in a career-high 68 RBI in 457 PA. His bat provides much of his upside, and Connolly quoted an anonymous National League scout who believes that the 29-year-old’s defensive profile has fallen short of his potential in recent years.
For better or worse, both the Orioles and Castillo appear far from locking in a deal for 2017. Both the Rays and Braves have expressed interest in the veteran catcher during the past week, while the Orioles are reportedly considering Wieters, Nick Hundley and Chris Iannetta as alternatives behind the plate.