Jake Fox made some headlines during spring training for hitting .333 with an MLB-leading seven homers, which got people who didn’t know any better way too excited about a 27-year-old journeyman without a defensive home.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter stressed that Fox would have to improve defensively to get much playing time and sure enough he got a grand total of just 52 plate appearances through the team’s first 53 games.
Fox didn’t help himself by hitting .188 with two homers and a .646 OPS, and today the Orioles designated him for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster for Brian Matusz’s return from the disabled list.
Fox can still be a relatively useful bench player, but he’s hit just .231 with a .701 OPS through 519 plate appearances in the majors, isn’t a good enough catcher to be more than an emergency option behind the plate, and showed weak plate discipline even while crushing Triple-A pitching.
More than anything else, though, he shows that spring training numbers mean nothing as soon as the real games start. But we knew that already.
Thursday is September 1, which means rosters expand. As a result, the Nationals plan to promote pitcher Mat Latos to the major league roster, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. Latos had an opt-out clause for Monday, but after discussing the matter with the team, he agreed to stay at Triple-A Syracuse until Thursday.
Latos, 28, put up a 4.62 ERA over 11 starts with the White Sox before being released in mid-June. Nearly two weeks later, he signed a minor league contract with the Nationals.
In the Nationals’ minor league system, Latos has made three starts for the club’s Gulf Coast League team as well as three for Syracuse. In aggregate, the right-hander has yielded six runs (four earned) on 20 hits and 10 walks with 28 strikeouts in 28 innings.
Latos will likely pitch out of a long relief role for the Nationals and can be used as starting rotation insurance as well.
Mark Buehrle hasn’t officially retired, but he hasn’t thrown a pitch in professional baseball since last October. Still, the Blue Jays wouldn’t mind having some insurance, so manager John Gibbons recently texted Buehrle, “You know, rosters expand in September,” Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports.
Buehrle’s response? He texted back a picture of a lake. Sounds like he’s not interested in making a return, at least this year.
Last year, at the age of 36, Buehrle went 15-8 with a 3.81 ERA with a 91/33 K/BB ratio in 198 2/3 innings while leading the league with four complete games. He fell 1 1/3 innings shy of a 15th consecutive 200-inning season. There are many worse ways to end a career.