Jack Wilson has seemingly been the cheap, light-hitting, veteran fallback plan for a handful of teams in the middle infield, but today he agreed to re-sign with the Braves after coming to Atlanta from Seattle in an August 31 trade.
Wilson gets a one-year, $1 million deal and Mark Bowman of MLB.com speculates that he’ll likely serve as the backup to Tyler Pastornicky, the 23-year-old shortstop prospect who’s in line to replace Alex Gonzalez as the Braves’ starter.
Pastornicky hit .314 in 117 games between Double-A and Triple-A last season, but his OPS was a modest .773 thanks to just seven homers and 32 walks. Of course, Wilson hit .243 with a .559 OPS last season, hasn’t cracked a .700 OPS since 2007, and is no longer a standout defender, so if Pastornicky isn’t the Opening Day shortstop it will have more to do with his development than Wilson’s presence.
Royals’ Opening Day starter Danny Duffy weathered a minor scare during Saturday’s Cactus League game against the Diamondbacks. The left-hander was removed from his final spring training start after experiencing some left shoulder tightness in the second and third innings. No lasting damage appears to have been done — Duffy told reporters that he simply felt a slight ache, nothing more — and it looks like he’ll remain on track to open the season with the team next Thursday.
The 29-year-old southpaw is coming off one of his best performances to date. Despite losing a few weeks to an oblique strain and elbow soreness, he went 9-10 in 24 starts and finished the 2017 season with a 3.81 ERA, 2.5 BB/9 and 8.0 SO/9 over 146 1/3 innings. While Duffy entered camp with a clean bill of health, he struggled to execute against his spring training opponents and racked up 13 runs, four homers, seven walks and 11 strikeouts in 13 innings of Cactus League play.
The Royals are scheduled to kick off their home opener against the White Sox on Thursday, March 29 at 4:15 PM ET. Barring any further complications with his shoulder, Duffy will take the mound for the Royals, while James Shields is expected to make his first Opening Day appearance for the White Sox.