Dexter Fowler is currently on the disabled list with an abdominal injury and recently started a minor-league rehab assignment, but Troy Renck of the Denver Post reports that the Rockies have told the center fielder he’ll remain at Triple-A even after getting healthy.
In other words, the rehab assignment will eventually turn into a demotion and then Fowler will have to play his way back to the majors. All of which is what may have happened anyway had the injury not occurred.
According to Renck the Rockies have told Fowler that he “needs to make significant adjustments with his left-handed swing,” which has been a frequent topic this week as speculation swirls around his possibly giving up switch-hitting.
However, as our own Matthew Pouliot pointed out yesterday Fowler’s production throughout his career as a left-handed hitter hasn’t been that much worse than his production as a right-handed hitter, and in fact last season he had a higher OPS from the left side.
Fowler hasn’t exactly been dominant as a right-handed hitter and the much bigger issue is that he’s hit just .225 with a .646 OPS in 172 career games away from Coors Field. Which side of the plate he’s swinging from seems to be getting far too much attention and the fact that he’s simply not a very good hitter, period, seems to be getting overlooked.
Infielder Brett Lawrie successfully avoided arbitration and signed a one-year contract with the White Sox on Friday, per a team announcement. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman added that the deal was for $3.5 million, significantly lower than the $4.125 million Lawrie was paid by the White Sox in 2016.
The White Sox acquired Lawrie last December in a swap for minor league arms Zack Erwin and J.B. Wendelken. After splitting time at second and third base for the Athletics in 2015, Lawrie slotted in at second base and DH for the White Sox and batted .248/.310/.413 with 12 home runs in 384 PA. While it’s strange to see a healthy, fairly productive player receive a salary reduction in arbitration, Lawrie missed nearly half of the season with a strain in his left hamstring, though he’s projected to return at full health by the start of the 2017 season.
Left-hander Brian Duensing signed a one-year, $2 million contract with the Cubs on Friday, per a report from FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman.
The free agent spent the bulk of his 2016 season with the Orioles after receiving a call-up from Triple-A Norfolk in early June. He underwent elbow surgery several weeks later when a freak bullpen injury revealed cartilage chips and inflammation in his pitching elbow, but recovered to finish the season with a 4.05 ERA and 10 strikeouts in 13 1/3 innings for the club. The Orioles utilized him for a final out during the AL Wild Card game, during which Duensing recorded a five-pitch strikeout in the ninth inning of their 5-2 loss to the Blue Jays.
The 33-year-old is currently expected to bulk up the Cubs’ left-handed relief corps, with fellow left-hander Mike Montgomery slated for the rotation in 2017.