Jason Kendall took what he called “a huge step” in his recovery from shoulder surgery, participating in live batting practice yesterday for the first time since going under the knife in September.
Kendall’s throwing program has progressed to 100 feet and Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star reports that he could be cleared for a minor-league rehab assignment by the end of this month.
Kendall hasn’t played in a game since August 30 of last year and hit just .256 with a .615 OPS prior to being shut down, but the Royals’ current catching duo of Matt Treanor and Brayan Pena haven’t been a whole lot better than that with a .224 batting average and .665 OPS this season.
Kansas City is paying the 37-year-old catcher $3.75 million this season as part of a two-year, $6 million contract.
Free agent right-hander Henderson Alvarez signed a deal with the Tigres de Quintana Roo of the Mexican Baseball League earlier this week, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Friday. The righty wasn’t necessarily too fringey a player to hack it in the big leagues, but there were no MLB takers in attendance during his showcase in Venezuela last month and he clearly felt it best to try his luck elsewhere.
The 27-year-old’s last major league gig came with the Phillies, for whom he delivered a 4.30 ERA, 6.8 BB/9 and 3.7 SO/9 over 14 2/3 innings in 2017. While he’s not too far removed from his first and only All-Star bid in 2014, he was besieged by shoulder issues in 2015 and 2016 and underwent season-ending surgeries as a result.
That added injury risk, coupled with the fact that he hasn’t pitched more than 22 innings in a single season since 2014, may have been too much for major league teams to take on this spring. Assuming he steers clear of further injuries, however, a return to the majors may not be entirely out of the question in years to come.