Howie Kendrick tested his injured hamstring by running and fielding grounders earlier this week, but he hasn’t played since May 19 and today the Angels finally placed him on the disabled list.
To fill Kendrick’s roster spot the Angels have signed free agent Russell Branyan, who was released by the Diamondbacks last week after being passed on the depth chart by Juan Miranda.
Branyan tends not to stay in one place for very long because teams get frustrated with his huge strikeout totals, but the guy can hit and with Kendry Morales out for the season and the .322-hitting Kendrick now sidelined too the Angels can certainly use some more power in the lineup.
Branyan has an .816 OPS with 35 homers per 500 at-bats for his career and can be particularly productive if spotted primarily versus right-handed pitching. He could form a platoon with the right-handed-hitting Mark Trumbo at first base or spend most of his time at designated hitter, with Bobby Abreu shifting to left field instead of the Reggie Willits-Alexi Amarista platoon.
And if manager Mike Scioscia really wants to get crazy Branyan has over 2,400 career innings at third base and another 1,500 innings in an outfield corner, so he brings some useful versatility along with a bat that produced 25 homers in 376 at-bats last year and 31 homers in 431 at-bats in 2009.
The Rangers will not sign free agent reliever Seung-hwan Oh after all. Reports from MLB.com’s TR Sullivan indicate that negotiations were brought to a halt after a physical issue was found with the pitcher. While the specifics have yet to be released, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News says the issue was revealed on an MRI of the right-hander’s arm.
Oh was thought to be in talks with the Rangers last week, though a deal was never officially announced by the club. The 35-year-old righty is fresh off of a two-year run with the Cardinals, during which he posted a cumulative 39 saves, 2.85 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 10.2 SO/9 in 139 innings. He struggled with consistency in his sophomore season, however, and finished 2017 with a disappointing 4.10 ERA and 4.44 FIP in 62 appearances for the team.
While Oh hasn’t experienced any setbacks with his arm in the majors so far, he does have a history of prior injuries during his time in KBO. He sustained a shoulder injury in 2009 and underwent surgery to remove bone spurs from his elbow in 2010. It’s possible that the Rangers saw an entirely different problem on the MRI, but clearly it was enough to give them strong reservations about inking the righty to a $2.75+ million deal. It’s still possible that another of Oh’s suitors will offer him a contract prior to Opening Day; the Giants were rumored to be interested in the veteran reliever, among other teams, though their recent acquisition of lefty reliever Tony Watson will likely take them out of the running now.