Travis Hafner exited yesterday’s game with a sprained right foot and the Indians have placed the designated hitter on the disabled list.
Hafner also missed time with a foot injury in April and spent a month on the DL with an oblique strain around midseason, but he’s been very productive when healthy enough to be in the lineup, hitting .281 with 11 homers and an .812 OPS in 82 games.
Hafner is out for at least two weeks and his potentially being a question mark for September could increase the Indians’ chances of claiming Jim Thome, who reportedly was placed on waivers today along with an assortment of other veterans.
Thome could step into the DH spot for however long Hafner is out before moving into a pinch-hitter role, and both his remaining salary (about $600,000) and the Twins’ likely asking price (probably a mid-level prospect) are very affordable. It seems like an ideal fit for everyone involved, but that will be a moot point if a team in front of the Indians on the waiver wire pecking order also puts in a claim.
MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Twins say minor league pitcher Yorman Landa has died in Venezuela. He was 22.
The club said in a statement that the Twins are “deeply saddened by the heartbreaking loss.” The team did not say how he died.
Landa pitched in the 2016 season with the Fort Meyers Miracle, going 2-2 with 7 saves and a 3.24 ERA in 41 2/3 innings pitched. His career minor-league ERA was 2.66.
Landa had been on the Twins’ 40-man roster, but was dropped after the season. The organization signed him to a minor-league contract last week.
Landa was signed by the Twins in 2010 as a 16-year old from Santa Teresa, Venezuela.
A report from the Baltimore Sun’s Dan Connolly suggests that free agent catcher Welington Castillo currently tops the Orioles’ list of potential backstop targets for the 2017 season. With Matt Wieters on the market, the Orioles lack a suitable platoon partner for Caleb Joseph behind the dish, and Connolly adds that the club has been discussing a multi-year deal with Castillo’s representatives since the Winter Meetings.
Castillo batted .264/.322/.423 with the Diamondbacks in 2016, racking up 14 home runs and driving in a career-high 68 RBI in 457 PA. His bat provides much of his upside, and Connolly quoted an anonymous National League scout who believes that the 29-year-old’s defensive profile has fallen short of his potential in recent years.
For better or worse, both the Orioles and Castillo appear far from locking in a deal for 2017. Both the Rays and Braves have expressed interest in the veteran catcher during the past week, while the Orioles are reportedly considering Wieters, Nick Hundley and Chris Iannetta as alternatives behind the plate.