With Jim Thome joining the club, the Indians have shaken up their roster some in advance of Friday’s game against the Royals. Left fielder Michael Brantley (wrist) and starting pitcher Josh Tomlin (elbow) have both gone on the DL, and left-handed reliever Nick Hagadone has been called up to make his major league debut.
Hagadone, a 2006 supplemental first-round pick of the Red Sox, was seen by many as just as important of a piece as Justin Masterson in the July 31, 2009 deal that sent Victor Martinez from Cleveland to Boston. However, his command deserted him in 2010, and the Indians opted to shift him to the pen at the end of the year. He’s been a fine reliever this season, amassing a 2.65 ERA and a 74/21 K/BB ratio in 68 innings between Double-A Akron and Triple-A Columbus.
Still, Hagadone’s stay could be a short one, as the Indians will need to replace Tomlin in the rotation next week. Jeanmar Gomez and Mitch Talbot will be candidates to claim the spot. Talbot, who cleared waivers and was outright to Triple-A earlier this month, pitched seven scoreless innings in his last start for Columbus.
Brantley’s absence leaves the Indians with just 3 1/2 outfielders in Shin-Soo Choo, Kosuke Fukudome, Ezequiel Carrera and Shelley Duncan. One wonders if they’ll consider giving Matt LaPorta the occasional start in left against a lefty. In Fukudome, Carrera and Jim Thome, they have three players who don’t typically face many southpaws.
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.