From MASN’s Roch Kubatko comes word that Orioles closer Jim Johnson has been bothered recently by back tightness and is one week behind the other pitchers in big league camp.
But there isn’t much concern about his ability to get back near full health by the start of the season.
Johnson said the condition is “subsiding.” And as a reliever with little need for a major Grapefruit League innings total, he should be able to play catch-up rather easily.
The 28-year-old right-hander posted a cool 2.67 ERA and 1.11 WHIP in 69 appearances last season, striking out 58 batters and issuing only 21 walks in 91 innings. He’ll be saving games for Baltimore this year.
The Nationals have acquired left-handed reliever Marc Rzepczynski and cash considerations from the A’s in exchange for minor league infielder Max Schrock.
Schrock is a 21-year-old second baseman who has been pretty darn impressive in A-ball this year, but the Nats can be excused for giving up promise in 2018 or whatever for some bullpen help come playoff time. Rzepczynski walks a few too many guys for my taste but he strikes ’em out at a pretty decent rate for a LOOGY and the Nats could use another southpaw reliever apart from Oliver Perez. This is especially true given how many tough lefty hitters they may face in the playoffs.
On the basic merits, sure, Rzepczynski for Schrock may look pretty dang good for the A’s in a few years. But this October the A’s will be watching on TV from home while the Nats will be trying to win it all, making the trade pretty darn understandable from their point of view.
Meanwhile, in Tulsa, Zach Welz of the visiting Arkansas Travelers made a spectacular catch. It was the catch Torii Hunter tried to make on that famous David Ortiz homer in the playoffs a few years back except Welz made it.
Watch as he topples over the wall to come up with the would-be dinger off the bat of Tulsa Drillers first baseman Cody Bellinger: