It’s a minor one, but we might have our first injury of this year’s spring training.
According to Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com, Blue Jays reliever Jon Rauch twisted his ankle while walking down a flight of stairs earlier this week at the club’s spring training complex in Dunedin, Florida and missed a scheduled bullpen session Wednesday because of it.
Rauch was able to play long toss on flat ground and should be back atop a mound by this weekend. The Jays are simply playing it safe here in mid-February with their new setup man.
“We just want to be sure that he has passed some tests from a physical standpoint before we put him back on the mound,” Blue Jays manager John Farrell said Wednesday in camp. “We’ve got time on our side right now, and there’s no reason to think he won’t be ready once we get into the [Grapefruit League] schedule.”
Rauch, 32, signed a one-year, $3.5 million contract with Toronto this winter after posting a 3.12 ERA and 46/14 K/BB ratio across 59 appearances in 2010 for the Twins. He’s expected to work as a setup man this year behind new Blue Jays closer Frank Francisco, who was acquired via trade from the Rangers last month.
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.