Johnny Giavotella underwent hip surgery in October to repair a torn labrum and recently had a checkup with the doctor who performed the operation, telling Dick Kaegel of MLB.com that he “will definitely be 100 percent by spring training.”
Giavotella has already started to “run, hit, and throw” so his focus now is on adding more strength and flexibility while rehabbing at the Royals’ spring training complex in Arizona.
One of many promising prospects called up by the Royals last season, the 24-year-old Giavotella struggled his first big-league action, hitting just .247 with a .647 OPS and 32/6 K/BB ratio in 46 games. However, the diminutive second baseman batted .338 in 110 games at Triple-A before the call-up and hit .322 in 134 games at Double-A in 2010.
Barring a disastrous spring training he’s expected to start at second base over Chris Getz and Yuniesky Betancourt.
The Mets signed catcher Jose Lobaton to a minor league contract, the team announced Friday. The deal includes an invitation to spring training, where it’s assumed Lobaton will be in the mix for a backup role behind Travis d'Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki.
Lobaton, 33, is coming off of a four-year stint with the Nationals. He put up his worst career numbers in 2017, producing -0.6 fWAR after slashing just .170/.248/.277 with four home runs in 158 plate appearances. While he’ll give the Mets little to work with at the plate, his near-decade of experience behind the dish should make him a decent emergency option, if nothing else.
In the meantime, the Mets are expected to roll with a d’Arnaud/Plawecki platoon to start the season. Both catchers saw slight upticks in value over the 2017 season: d’Arnaud turned in 0.8 fWAR after hitting a career-high 16 home runs, while Plawecki collected 0.6 fWAR and three homers after raising his batting line over the Mendoza Line for the first time since 2015.