Mike Silva of New York Baseball Digest had this one last night. Adam Rubin of ESPN New York confirmed it this morning.
The Mets have signed left-handed reliever Tim Byrdak to a minor league contract and, presumably, have invited him to spring training.
There’s a real chance that Byrdak will be able to climb his way into a lefty specialist role before spring training and open the year in the majors. Taylor Tankersley, a fellow southpaw who will also be in camp on a minor league contract, is the only guy who might stand in his way.
Byrdak, 37, held left-handed batters to a cool .213/.271/.373 batting line last year and posted a 3.49 overall ERA. When used correctly, he can be a valuable bullpen piece.
During the offseason, the Astros finally got rid of Tal’s Hill in center field. It was a throwback to older stadiums, some of which had uneven topography — Crosley Field, namely. As unique as it was in the age of cookie cutter sports stadiums, most of us were holding our collective breaths hoping no one ruptured an Achilles or suffered another brutal injury trying to navigate the hill while attempting to catch a fly ball.
We saw what it looked like during reconstruction:
And now, via Julia Morales of ROOT Sports, we see what it looks like after all the work has been done:
The Astros are allowing fans with Lexus Field Club tickets to stand on the new warning track to watch batting practice and shag fly balls as well, Morales notes. Lexus Field Club is where Tal’s Hill used to be.
Good riddance, Tal’s Hill.
Jhoulys Chacin will start on Opening Day, April 3 against the Dodgers in Los Angeles, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. It will be Chacin’s second Opening Day start, the other coming in 2013 with the Rockies against the Brewers. He’ll be the fifth different Padres pitcher in as many years to start on Opening Day.
Chacin, 29, inked a one-year, $1.75 million contract with the Padres in December. The right-hander spent the 2016 season with the Braves and Angels, compiling an aggregate 4.81 ERA with a 119/55 K/BB ratio in 144 innings.
Lin notes that Chacin will be followed in the rotation by Clayton Richard and Jered Weaver. It will be an interesting rotation, to say the least, as it will arguably be the worst in baseball.