Chris Ray was one of the youngest closers in baseball in 2006, saving 33 games for the Orioles as a 24-year-old, but his career was derailed by Tommy John elbow surgery the next season and he hasn’t been the same since, posting a 31/25 K/BB ratio in 56 innings for the Giants and Rangers in 2010.
Ray is still just 29 years old and will try to resurrect his career in Seattle, signing a minor-league contract with the Mariners that includes an invitation to spring training.
Larry Stone of the Seattle Times notes that he’ll be among at least 11 non-roster invite pitchers in Mariners camp, but speculates that “Ray appears to have a decent shot of making the team.” He has a 5.27 ERA in 99 innings since going under the knife, but Ray’s average fastball clocked in at 93.9 miles per hour last season and the Mariners will be sorting through several young relievers who’re short on experience.
The Braves have signed former football player and current outfielder Sanders Commings, an Augusta, Georgia native, to a minor league contract, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports.
Commings, 26, was a defensive back who played for the University of Georgia before being selected by the Chiefs in the fifth round of the 2013 draft. He appeared in two games in the 2013 season.
Commings also played baseball for Westside High School and was selected by the Diamondbacks in the 37th round of the 2008 draft. He chose to attend the University of Georgia instead. When football didn’t pan out, Commings started training with Jerry Hairston, Jr. Hairston said he was “blown away” when he saw Commings hit for the first time.
Obviously, Commings’ path to success as a professional baseball player will be long, but it’s a no-risk flier for the Braves. The club has past experience with football players, including Deion Sanders and Brian Jordan.
The next task for the Braves will be to acquire Ryan Goins from the Blue Jays. That way, players will look at the lineup card each day to see if it’s Commings or Goins.
On Thursday afternoon, Rays pitcher Chris Archer asked his Twitter followers, “Lots swirling around what needs to be changed about the game of baseball. What do y’all want to see changed, if anything, & why?”
Tigers ace Justin Verlander responded:
To that, Archer said:
For what it’s worth, Verlander hasn’t been much of a hitter. In 47 career plate appearances, he has three singles and no extra-base hits. And if the AL did get rid of the DH rule, the Tigers would have nowhere to put Victor Martinez. Verlander, though, would have an easier time pitching to opposing pitchers rather than their DH’s.