Scott Rolen has had so many shoulder problems over the years that the Reds placing him on the disabled list last month led to speculation that he might be finished.
Rolen even had doubts about playing again, which were echoed by manager Dusty Baker, but for now at least he’s giving it a go.
Mark Sheldon of MLB.com reports that Rolen took batting practice and fielded ground balls on back-to-back days for the first time since being shut down on May 12. And afterward Rolen said he “felt good” and is “ready to go out and do it again and progress this way.”
Of course, he also admitted that there’s still “no timeline” for his return and with rookie Todd Frazier sporting a .900 OPS as the primary third baseman the Reds have no reason to push the 37-year-old.
Free agent first baseman Edwin Espinal has signed a minor league deal with the Tigers, the infielder announced Saturday. The move has yet to be confirmed by the team.
Espinal, 23, capped a seven-year run with the Pirates’ minor league affiliates in 2017. He split his season between Double-A Altoona and Triple-A Indianapolis, batting a cumulative .294/.327/.447 with 15 home runs and 31 doubles in 532 plate appearances. While he’s raked at nearly every level so far, he also profiles well on defense, and rounded off his 2017 performance with a perfect fielding percentage, 208 putouts and a Gold Glove award.
Espinal is untested at the major league level and it’s not yet clear if he’ll make the jump in 2018. He showed some positional versatility during his time in the minors, however, and could take reps at third base or DH if necessary. The Tigers are reportedly on the lookout for pitching depth and left-handed bats — two bills the right-handed Espinal doesn’t fit — and presumably have a lot of moves left to make this winter.