Preferring to look at the team’s younger pitchers down the stretch, the Nationals informed Livan Hernandez today that he’d be removed from the rotation following his start Sunday against the Mets.
According to MLB.com’s Bill Ladson, manager Davey Johnson indicated that Hernandez would become a mentor/coach the rest of the way. He won’t pitch out of the bullpen, but he will be available to serve as a pinch-hitter if needed.
The guess here is that Hernandez wasn’t keen to the idea of working as a reliever. He’s made just one appearance out of the pen in his career and that was his very first appearance for the Marlins way back in 1996. He’s made 473 consecutive starts since.
Hernandez has a pretty respectable 4.29 ERA in 28 starts this year, though he is at 4.99 since the All-Star break. One wonders if he might be part of a rare September trade should some team approach the Nationals. Hernandez wouldn’t be eligible to pitch in the postseason, but he’d make sense as an injury replacement: he could certainly eat up a few starts that might otherwise go to inexperienced pitchers.
With Hernandez out of the mix, it looks like the Nationals will use a rotation of John Lannan, Stephen Strasburg, Ross Detwiler, Chien-Ming Wang and Tom Milone the rest of the way.
Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels have inked outfielder Eric Young, Jr. to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.
Young, 31, played in just six games and logged one plate appearance in the majors this past season with the Yankees. He last played regularly in 2014. While Young doesn’t do much with the bat, he could provide value as a pinch-runner. He also offers versatility, having played all three outfield positions along with second base.
The Angels have Ben Revere as their fourth outfielder and Jefry Marte behind him, so Young would need to have a very impressive showing in spring training to find a spot on the Angels’ roster.
Update (5:20 PM EST): It’s a minor league contract, per Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. If he makes the major league roster, Saltalamacchia will earn $1.25 million with an additional $250,000 available through incentives.
The Blue Jays are close to a deal with free agent catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet is reporting.
Saltalamacchia, 31, hit a meager .171/.284/.346 with 12 home runs and 38 RBI in 292 plate appearances with the Tigers this past season. With Russell Martin getting regular playing time behind the plate, Saltalamacchia will serve as his understudy, pushing A.J. Jimenez and Juan Graterol down on the depth chart.
The veteran catcher isn’t far removed from being a productive backstop. He had an .805 OPS in 70 games with the Diamondbacks in 2015 and also helped the Red Sox win the World Series in 2013 with an .804 OPS in 121 games.