Rockies release Jose Lopez, eat $3.6 million salary

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Colorado gave up a mid-level prospect to get Jose Lopez from Seattle this offseason, avoided arbitration by signing him to a one-year, $3.6 million contract, and released him yesterday after the veteran infielder hit .208 with a .521 OPS in 129 plate appearances.

Lopez was designated for assignment last week and it’s no surprise that he cleared waivers, as no other team was going to claim the $2 million or so left on his deal.

It’s also no surprise that he struggled, as Lopez was horrendous last season while hitting .239 with a .609 OPS in 150 games for the Mariners, although given that the Rockies felt he was worth $3.6 million and a mid-level prospect coming off that awful performance you’d think they might have stuck with him for more than 38 games.

Lopez is still just 27 years old and had back-to-back solid seasons as recently as 2008 and 2009, but he’ll likely have to settle for a minor-league contract and hit his way back to the majors.

Brewers claim Stephen Vogt off waivers from the Athletics

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ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reported on Sunday that the Brewers claimed catcher Stephen Vogt off waivers from the Athletics. Vogt was designated for assignment by the Athletics on Thursday.

Vogt, 32, was an All-Star in each of the last two seasons, but struggled this year. He hit .217/.287/.357 with four home runs and 20 RBI in 174 plate appearances.

With the Brewers, Vogt will likely split time behind the plate with Manny Pina. Meanwhlie, the Athletics’ catching situation will be handled by Josh Phegley and Bruce Maxwell.

Dallas Keuchel is unlikely to return before the All-Star break

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Astros’ left-hander Dallas Keuchel might not return to the rotation before the All-Star break, Houston manager A.J. Hinch told reporters prior to Sunday’s game. The club placed their star southpaw on the 10-day disabled list on June 8, retroactive to June 5, after a nerve issue was revealed in his neck.

Keuchel has taken a conservative approach to his recovery over the last several weeks, and while he appears to have made some progress, still has yet to throw off the mound. The injury interrupted the start of an outstanding run with the Astros, during which the 29-year-old lefty furnished a 9-0 record with a 1.67 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 through his first 75 2/3 innings of 2017.

According to Hinch, it’s certainly possible that Keuchel could return to the team sometime within the next two weeks, but it’s clear that the team would prefer to play it extra safe with their ace. Even assuming that he feels ready to reclaim his spot on the Astros’ pitching staff, he still needs to complete a few key activities before competing in another game — like throwing off a mound, for example. In the meantime, Lance McCullers Jr. will continue to head Houston’s rotation as they try to build on their 12.5-game lead in the AL West.

 

Hinch’s full comments are below: