UPDATE: Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that Nishioka has a fractured fibula and (obviously) is headed for the disabled list. At minimum he’ll be out for a month and possibly much longer. As expected, Hughes is coming up from Triple-A to replace him.
Moments after botching a tailor-made double play ball by bouncing the throw to first base, Tsuyoshi Nishioka got another chance to turn two and instead got upended by Nick Swisher’s takeout slide.
Nishioka did a remarkable job of not bailing on the play and made a strong throw to first base that almost nailed the runner, but then he went down in a heap and had to be helped off the field by his translator and the Twins’ trainer while not putting much weight on his leg.
Nishioka has struggled offensively and defensively so far, hitting just .208 with eight strikeouts and two errors at second base, but the Twins’ lack of infield depth means they can ill afford to lose him for an extended period.
Matt Tolbert replaced him at second base this afternoon and Luke Hughes, who lost the utility man competition to Tobert during spring training, would likely be called up to start at second base if Nishioka heads to the disabled list after the ugly collision.
CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury reports that Phillies outfielder Nick Williams has been working out daily with free agent starter Jake Arrieta in Austin. The right-hander, who won the 2015 National League Cy Young Award, still remains teamless with spring training less than a month away. Williams has been trying to sell Arrieta on joining the Phillies.
Williams said of Arrieta, “He loves it here [Austin]. He has told me he likes working with young guys. I’m like, ‘All right, come on up.’ But I’m not writing the check. I don’t know what he wants. I don’t really dig into that because I’m not really in his position.”
On GM Matt Klentak’s hunt for pitching help, new manager Gabe Kapler said, “The pursuit is very real. I have a lot of trust that we’ll either go in [to spring training] with a new toy or we will pass on the opportunity because we’re better off giving this collection of pitchers a really healthy look because we thought that we could go acquire that piece a little bit later on this season or in the offseason next year.”
Arrieta, who turns 32 years old in March, went 14-10 with a 3.53 ERA and a 163/55 K/BB ratio in 168 1/3 innings last season with the Cubs. The Cubs, Cardinals, and Brewers have been linked to Arrieta this month.
Presently, the Phillies’ starting rotation figures to include Aaron Nola, Jerad Eickhoff, and Vince Velasquez along with some combination of Nick Pivetta, Ben Lively, Zach Eflin, Mark Leiter, and Jake Thompson. Arrieta would certainly amount to a big upgrade in the starting rotation and could make the Phillies a more attractive landing spot for Bryce Harper or Manny Machado, who become free agents after the 2018 campaign. The Phillies are expected to be in the mix for either or both players.