And now for the least surprising news you’ll hear all day.
Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports that Brandon Webb was scratched from his scheduled minor league rehab start this evening due to shoulder discomfort.
Webb, who hasn’t pitched in the big leagues since Opening Day of the 2009 season, was scheduled to make his first start with Triple-A Round Rock. He was being moved up for Friday’s outing, despite posting an ugly 9.75 ERA and 8/6 K/BB ratio over four starts with Double-A Frisco. He allowed four runs over five innings in his last start last Friday.
The Rangers signed Webb to a one-year contract with $3 million in guaranteed salary, but it’s increasingly likely that he won’t throw a pitch for the big-league club.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Yankees have signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, pending a physical. Assuming the deal is finalized, Sherman notes that the Yankees will have Niese work as both a starter and a reliever in big league camp this spring.
According to Sherman, the Yankees were interested in lefty relievers Jerry Blevins and Boone Logan, but didn’t want to commit at their asking prices. They are looking for a lefty set-up man along with Tommy Lane.
Niese, 30, pitched for the Pirates and Mets last season, finishing with a 5.50 ERA and an 88/47 K/BB ratio over 121 innings.
Veteran Omar Infante has spent the overwhelming majority of his career as an infielder, but the Tigers plan to give him some playing time in center field this spring. The Tigers’ center field situation is still murky and adding more versatility would increase Infante’s odds of making the roster.
Infante, 35, signed a minor league deal with the Tigers in December. He played 39 games for the Royals last season, batting .239/.279/.321 in 149 plate appearances while playing second base exclusively. Infante last played in the outfield in 2010 with the Braves, and last played center field specifically in ’09 with the Braves.
The Tigers currently have Mikie Mahtook, Tyler Collins, and JaCoby Jones at the top of their center field depth chart. It is not what one would call “optimal.”