This would be unexpected: John Shea is reporting that the Giants may make Brandon Belt their starting first baseman. At least they’re “leading toward” doing.
There will be an announcement later today. If they go in that direction, one assumes that Pat Burrell would sit and Aubrey Huff would play left. Although, given that Burrell doesn’t profile like a particularly useful backup outfielder, who knows? UPDATE: Oops, forgot: with the Cody Ross injury, Huff plays right, Burrell stays in left. In my defense, I know a lot of you would like to forget Cody Ross.
I would have bet my beard that the Giants would have left Belt at AAA, partially to keep the service time clock from ticking but also because, man, they just won a World Series with Burrell and Huff and that they’d at least start the season with them both in the lineup. And maybe Shea is wrong and they’ll still to that.
But man, if this goes down, I love it. Belt is a nice prospect who has impressed this spring. Seeing him on the roster with Buster Posey and Tim Lincecum would give Giants fans a nice glimpse of the next five years or more and would represent a team that is doing what every defending World Series champ has to do: continue to find ways to get better rather than resting on their laurels.
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.