Nationals first baseman Chris Marrero tore his left hamstring while playing in the Dominican winter league earlier this month and could miss the entire season, according to Bill Ladson of MLB.com.
Marrero repeatedly said that he doesn’t expect to miss all of 2012, but Ladson reports that the hamstring was torn off the bone and surgery was required. At the very least he seems highly unlikely to be ready for spring training, which could put the Nationals in the market for first base help with Adam LaRoche also a health question mark.
Ladson floats Mark DeRosa as a possible target and of course if the Nationals’ reported interest in Prince Fielder is real that would certainly address the first base situation in a big way. LaRoche is under contract for $8 million, but missed all but 43 games because of shoulder problems.
The Mariners signed free agent left-hander Wade LeBlanc to a one-year deal, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN reported Saturday. LeBlanc previously signed a minor league agreement with the Yankees, but later requested his release following the team’s Grapefruit League outing on Friday. The Mariners have yet to confirm the deal or disclose its terms.
This is LeBlanc’s second stint with the Mariners in two years. He was initially acquired by Seattle in the summer of 2016 after the Blue Jays traded him for cash considerations, and produced a 4.50 ERA, 1.6 BB/9 and 7.4 SO/9 in 50 innings before getting designated for assignment in August. The 33-year-old southpaw was last seen in the majors with the Pirates, with whom he generated another 4.50 ERA, 2,3 BB/9 and 7.1 SO/9 over 68 innings in 2017. He entered free agency after the club declined his $1.25 million option for 2018.
The signing comes at a fortuitous moment for the Mariners, who were pressed to find additional bullpen depth after right-handed reliever David Phelps tore his ulnar collateral ligament last week. As with most injuries of that kind, Phelps is expected to undergo Tommy John surgery and will miss the entire 2018 season. LeBlanc made a full transition to the bullpen in 2017 and boasts the kind of reverse platoon splits (.216/.270/.389 vs. righties and .292/.333/.500 vs. lefties in 2017) that will make him an effective replacement for the right-handed Phelps.