Shaun Marcum was bothered by some shoulder stiffness late last week, but the Brewers still had him penciled in to make his Cactus League debut this Saturday against the Giants. Not anymore.
Adam McCalvy of MLB.com reports that Marcum felt continued discomfort playing catch over the past two days and was scratched from Saturday’s start after being examined by team physician Dr. William Raasch.
The setback means that Marcum will not have a chance to get fully stretched out during spring training, but Brewers’ manager Ron Roenicke hasn’t ruled him out for the start of the season.
“He won’t be stretched out to 90 pitches, but if we get him to 75 pitches, we feel pretty good about him going into the season,” Roenicke said.
It’s worth noting that Marcum skipped a start last spring with shoulder tightness, but managed to start the season on time and posted an outstanding 2.21 ERA and 34/11 K/BB ratio across 36 2/3 innings over six April starts. The Brewers are naturally hoping they’ll have similar luck this year.
UPDATE: Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that Marcum has been shut down for the next 2-3 three days, likely after receiving a cortisone injection. However, the Brewers remain confident that he’ll be ready for the start of the regular season.
A report from the Baltimore Sun’s Dan Connolly suggests that free agent catcher Welington Castillo currently tops the Orioles’ list of potential backstop targets for the 2017 season. With Matt Wieters on the market, the Orioles lack a suitable platoon partner for Caleb Joseph behind the dish, and Connolly adds that the club has been discussing a multi-year deal with Castillo’s representatives since the Winter Meetings.
Castillo batted .264/.322/.423 with the Diamondbacks in 2016, racking up 14 home runs and driving in a career-high 68 RBI in 457 PA. His bat provides much of his upside, and Connolly quoted an anonymous National League scout who believes that the 29-year-old’s defensive profile has fallen short of his potential in recent years.
For better or worse, both the Orioles and Castillo appear far from locking in a deal for 2017. Both the Rays and Braves have expressed interest in the veteran catcher during the past week, while the Orioles are reportedly considering Wieters, Nick Hundley and Chris Iannetta as alternatives behind the plate.
The Phillies reportedly signed veteran outfielder Daniel Nava to a minor league contract, according to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Nava began the season on a one-year contract with the Angels, during which he slashed .235/.309/.303 through 136 PA in the first half of 2016. He was flipped to the Royals in late August for a player to be named later and saw the remainder of his year go down the drain on an .091 average through 12 PA in Anaheim. After getting the boot from the Angels’ 40-man roster in November, the 33-year-old outfielder elected free agency.
Nava is expected to compete for a bench role on the Phillies’ roster in the spring. As it currently stands, the club’s projected 2017 outfield features Howie Kendrick and Odubel Herrera, with precious little depth behind them. Nava’s bat is underwhelming, but at the very least he offers the Phillies a warm body in left field and a potential platoon partner for one of their younger options, a la Tyler Goeddel or Roman Quinn.