Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated reported earlier this month that the Padres were looking into signing catcher Bengie Molina to serve as a backup to Nick Hundley but found the veteran free agent to be in “retirement mode.”
He remains in that “mode.”
Molina told Kevin Davidoff of Newsday this weekend that he has not yet filed retirement papers and is open to returning if the right situation were to present itself, but also that playing baseball is not something he is thinking about right now.
Molina has a wife and three daughters who have seen him only sparingly over the past 13-plus years.
“A lot of my teammates and friends want me to come back,” Molina said. “I love the game. It gave me life … I wish I could be playing right now. But I’ve got other priorities right now. It could be how Pedro [Martinez] did it halfway through (2009), something like that. It’s not like I’m planning on doing that. If it comes up, and I’m ready to go, I’ll do it.”
Molina, 37 in July, batted just .249 with a .297 on-base percentage and five home runs across 118 games last season. He did, however, slug 20 home runs in 2009 for San Francisco.
Mariners’ right-hander Felix Hernandez is looking at a 3-4 week recovery period, the team announced on Friday. Hernandez has been officially diagnosed with bursitis in his right shoulder after getting pulled from his last start against the Tigers on Tuesday.
It’s not the first shoulder issue the 31-year-old righty has dealt with during his career. Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times notes that Hernandez was previously diagnosed with bursitis during a minor league stint in 2005, several weeks prior to making his major league start for Seattle. This time around, however, the injury is coupled with a few years of not-so-sharp stuff, waning velocity and career-low numbers, and while it’s certainly not a worst-case diagnosis, it seems like greater cause for concern.
Without Felix, the Mariners will keep rolling with James Paxton, Hisashi Iwakuma, Ariel Miranda, Yovani Gallardo and Chase De Jong in their rotation. They’ll also keep Ben Gamel in right field, with starting right fielder Mitch Haniger expected to miss 3-4 weeks after sustaining a Grade 2 strain in his right oblique on Tuesday.
The Rays acquired minor league reliever Drew Smith from the Tigers on Friday, per a team announcement. The move will close the loop on the trade the two teams began in January for backup outfielder Mikie Mahtook.
Smith, 23, pitched his first full season in Single-A West Michigan in 2016, turning in a 2.96 ERA, 4.3 BB/9 and 11.5 SO/9 in 48 2/3 innings. The right-hander is still several levels away from making any impact on the Rays’ major league roster, but appears to be progressing steadily in two seasons of pro ball and has delivered two runs, four walks and 12 strikeouts in his first 11 2/3 innings at High-A Lakeland this season. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that he’ll be reassigned to the Rays’ High-A Charlotte this week.