J.C. Romero went down in a heap after throwing a pitch in the ninth inning last night and today the Phillies placed him on the disabled list with a strained right calf.
Romero’s overall numbers are usually ugly because he struggles so much against right-handed hitters and often can’t find the strike zone, but he’s very effective when limited to facing left-handed hitters. He held lefties to a .174 batting average from 2008-2010.
To replace Romero on the roster and in the bullpen the Phillies have called up fellow southpaw reliever Mike Zagurski from Triple-A, where he has a 2.92 ERA and 89 strikeouts in 65 career innings. Zagurski is 28 years old and has struggled in previous big-league stints, but his track record in the minors suggests he’s capable of doing well in a middle relief role.
The Orioles have re-signed infielder Pedro Alvarez to a minor league deal, per a report from Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports. The deal guarantees Alvarez $1 million if he makes the 40-man roster and another $2 million in potential performance bonuses. The team has yet to confirm the deal.
This will be Alvarez’s third year with the Orioles. After posting decent numbers in 2016, the 31-year-old was relegated to the minors for the majority of the 2017 season and saw only 14 games at the big league level. He finished the year with an underwhelming .239/.294/.442 batting line and 26 home runs through 595 plate appearances for Triple-A Norfolk.
Alvarez is expected to split his time between first base and DH this spring, and MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli notes that he’s unlikely to experiment with another outfield role. While he isn’t too far removed from his last productive season in the majors, the veteran infielder will function purely as insurance for first baseman Chris Davis and designated hitter Mark Trumbo and will likely begin the season in the minors.