Nick Swisher appeared as a pinch-hitter last night after an MRI exam showed merely inflammation in his sore left knee, but was clearly at significantly less than full strength while limping to first base on a ground out.
After the game he described it as “dragging around my left leg” and noted that “it’s starting to affect a lot of other things, my hips, my shoulders, the way I’m throwing the ball.” He’s slated to undergo a second MRI exam today and Swisher indicated to Marc Carig of the Newark Star Ledger that he expects the results to show something beyond inflammation:
We took the MRI before and it said that there was nothing, but I found that really, really hard to believe. We’ll go in there tomorrow and whatever happens, just take it head on. It’s been going like this for a week, man. As much as you want to be out there and be playing, on one leg ain’t exactly the way I want to be going out there. … If we get this MRI and they say, “Take a week off,” I want to get healthy.
Swisher originally suffered the injury last month when he fouled a ball off his left knee, but has remained remarkably productive since then while hitting .255/.327/.574 with four homers, three doubles, and 12 RBIs in 14 games.
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.
The Phillies reportedly signed veteran outfielder Daniel Nava to a minor league contract, according to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Nava began the season on a one-year contract with the Angels, during which he slashed .235/.309/.303 through 136 PA in the first half of 2016. He was flipped to the Royals in late August for a player to be named later and saw the remainder of his year go down the drain on an .091 average through 12 PA in Anaheim. After getting the boot from the Angels’ 40-man roster in November, the 33-year-old outfielder elected free agency.
Nava is expected to compete for a bench role on the Phillies’ roster in the spring. As it currently stands, the club’s projected 2017 outfield features Howie Kendrick and Odubel Herrera, with precious little depth behind them. Nava’s bat is underwhelming, but at the very least he offers the Phillies a warm body in left field and a potential platoon partner for one of their younger options, a la Tyler Goeddel or Roman Quinn.