Any initial optimism about B.J. Upton making a speedy recovery following his outfield collision with Desmond Jennings two weeks ago is now gone, as the Rays center fielder admitted today that he’s unlikely to be ready for Opening Day.
Upton has played just once since the collision, logging a handful of innings in a minor-league game, and told Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times that he’s not going to rush back:
If it doesn’t happen, so be it, there’s too much baseball to worry about one series of games. I just rather be healthy all year than try to rush back for a weekend or so.
The main issue from the collision is back tightness, which Upton said “won’t loosen up.” Sam Fuld is also injured and possibly facing shoulder surgery, so the Rays’ outfield will be thin initially.
The Diamondbacks announced on Monday that the club signed catcher Jeff Mathis to a two-year, $4 million contract.
Mathis, 33, isn’t much with the stick as he owns a career .197/.254/.308 triple-slash line over parts of 12 seasons in the majors. The veteran, though, is well-regarded for his ability to play defense, call games, handle a pitching staff, and get along with his teammates in the clubhouse. As Craig mentioned last year, Mathis is often talked about as a future manager.
As the D-Backs non-tendered Welington Castillo on Friday, Chris Herrmann and Mathis are the team’s two catchers as presently constructed.
ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that free agent shortstop Jimmy Rollins wants to continue playing in 2017.
Rollins, 38, signed a minor league deal with the White Sox for the 2016 season but hit a disappointing .221/.295/.329 over 166 plate appearances. The club released Rollins in the middle of June and he did not sign with a new team. He did join TBS as part of their playoff coverage.
Rollins is almost certainly looking at another minor league contract and will have to earn his way onto a major league roster by performing well in spring training.