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.
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.