Josh Hamilton skipped a workout yesterday at the request of Rangers manager Ron Washington in order to rest a left groin strain which has bothered him for a couple of months now. However, Washington told Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News that he has no intention to make any changes to his lineup.
“He’s playing the outfield,” Washington said. “I read where people wanted me to put him on the bench. They wanted him on the bench, out [of] the lineup. We’ve got five games left. I’m playing Josh. I’m not changing anything.”
Hamilton, who delivered a game-tying sacrifice fly in Thursday’s Game 2 win, is batting .250/.264/.354 over 48 at-bats this postseason, but hasn’t homered since September 23. With right-hander Kyle Lohse on the mound for the Cardinals in Game 3, look for Hamilton to slide over to center field and David Murphy to return to the lineup in left.
Free agent middle infielder Danny Espinosa signed a minor-league deal with the Blue Jays, the team announced Saturday. The deal includes an invite to spring training, where Espinosa is scheduled for his first split-squad game against the Orioles this afternoon.
Espinosa, 30, was inked to another minor-league deal with the Yankees in January. The veteran infielder was competing for an infield job until the team picked up second baseman Neil Walker on a one-year, $4 million deal last Monday. Prior to his release, he slashed .160/.276/.320 with one home run through his first 12 games with the Yankees this spring. He didn’t fare much better in the majors last year, either, batting a cumulative .173/.245/.278 with six home runs and a .523 OPS in 295 PA for the Mariners and Rays.
Blue Jays starting shortstop Troy Tulowitzki is still dealing with a bone spur in his heel and has officially been ruled out for Opening Day, which could clear a path for Espinosa to claim a starting role in Toronto. Of course, he won’t be the only candidate under consideration — Yangervis Solarte and Aledmys Diaz are still in the mix as well, though no final decision appears to be made just yet.