Reid Brignac’s foot injury opened the door for Sean Rodriguez to overtake him on the Rays’ shortstop depth chart and sure enough manager Joe Maddon announced that Rodriguez will open the season as the primary starter.
Brignac (.742 OPS) and Rodriguez (.743 OPS) had nearly identical production this spring, but Brignac was limited to just 13 games while Rodriguez was in the lineup 21 times.
Last season the Rays’ shortstop starts went 76 for Brignac, 49 for Rodriguez, and 37 for Elliot Johnson, who remains on the team as a utility man.
Both are solid defenders and neither has hit much in the majors, although Rodriguez has topped Brignac by 100 points of OPS despite both players sporting a sub-.240 batting average. If nothing else Rodriguez brings significantly more power to the table than Brignac, along with being healthier for now.
The Orioles announced, prior to Sunday’s game against the Yankees, that the club signed pitcher Tommy Hunter to a major league contract. In related roster moves, the club recalled pitcher Oliver Drake from Triple-A Norfolk and designated pitcher T.J. McFarland and outfielder Julio Borbon for assignment.
The Indians released Hunter on Thursday after he struggled in a rehab assignment with Triple-A Columbus. Hunter was recovering from a non-displaced fracture in his lower back. The right-hander put up a respectable 3.74 ERA with a 17/5 K/BB ratio in 21 2/3 innings for the Indians.
This will be Hunter’s second stint with the Orioles. The O’s had acquired him along with first baseman Chris Davis at the trade deadline from the Rangers in 2011 in the Koji Uehara trade.
The Orioles are only responsible for paying Hunter the prorated major league minimum.
Orioles DH Mark Trumbo drilled a two-run home run to left-center field off of reliever Ben Heller in the eighth inning of Sunday afternoon’s game against the Yankees. In doing so, he became the first player to reach the 40-homer plateau this season.
Trumbo finished 1-for-4 on the afternoon. Along with the 40 dingers, he’s hitting .257/.317/.541 with 96 RBI. He has already set a career-high in homers and is four RBI away from tying his career high in that regard.
Trumbo is eligible for free agency after the season. Needless to say, his performance in 2016 bodes well for his ability to secure a hefty contract.