Mitch Moreland underwent wrist surgery in November that was expected to sideline him for 8-12 weeks, but yesterday the Rangers first baseman told T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com that he’s “feeling great” and has been taking swings four times per week with hitting coach Scott Coolbaugh.
Moreland might be slightly behind everyone else at the beginning of spring training, but seems optimistic that getting the “impact fracture” in his wrist fixed will help him bounce back after struggling with the injury for much of the second half last season.
Moreland hit just .241 with five homers and a .666 OPS in 53 games after the All-Star break, including .167 in September, and was often benched during the Rangers’ playoff run. Overall his OPS dropped 100 points compared to his rookie season, so if Moreland wants to keep his status as Texas’ first baseman of the present and future he definitely needs to get back on track and join the rest of the lineup in putting up big numbers.
Luis Severino will finally get his shot at an Opening Day start this year, the Yankees announced Saturday. According to manager Aaron Boone, he’ll lead a rotation comprised of Masahiro Tanaka, CC Sabathia, Sonny Gray and Jordan Montgomery. It’ll be the first time since 2014 that someone other than Tanaka has taken the ball for Opening Day.
Severino, 24, is fresh off of his best career year to date. The right-hander pitched to a 14-6 record in 31 starts with the Yankees in 2017 and earned an All-Star nomination and Cy Young award consideration with a 2.98 ERA, 2.4 BB/9, 10.7 SO/9 and 5.7 fWAR in 193 1/3 innings. “We feel like it’s his time for it,” Boone told reporters Saturday. “With what he was able to do last year, we feel like he’s in a really good place now. We just felt like now is the time for him to take on that role and we think he’s ready for it. I’m looking forward to seeing him grow in his role as one of the aces of this staff.”
Prior to Saturday, Severino pitched in just one Grapefruit League game this spring. He fired 3 1/3 innings against the Phillies, allowing three hits and one unearned run and striking out three batters.
The Yankees are scheduled to kick off the season on March 29 against the Blue Jays. Jordan Montgomery will start their home opener against the Rays on April 2.