While right-hander Jacob Turner, the biggest piece the Marlins received from the Tigers in last month’s Anibal Sanchez-Omar Infante deal, continues to toil in the minors, the Marlins announced Sunday that they’re going to give his batterymate, Rob Brantly, an opportunity starting Tuesday.
Brantly will be called up to replace fellow catcher Brett Hayes on the roster and presumably will share time with big disappointment John Buck the rest of the way.
Buck, in the middle year of a three-year, $18 million contract, is hitting just .186/.302/.325 with eight homers and 30 RBI in 274 at-bats this season. He figures to play mostly against lefties for now, with the lefty-swinging Brantly getting an opportunity against righties.
Brantly, 23, has hit .298/.340/.412 with five homers and 41 RBI in 362 at-bats between Double- and Triple-A this year. He’s been on fire since the trade, batting .365/.389/.558 with two homers in 52 at-bats for Triple-A New Orleans. While he’ll probably never contend for Gold Gloves or turn into a legitimate middle-of-the-order guy, he could become an average starting catcher in time. At the very least, his decent left-handed bat should lead to a long career as a backup.
The Angels signed Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani for a $2.3 million signing bonus last weekend. They may have damaged goods on their hands. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that Ohtani underwent a physical that revealed a first-degree sprain of his ulnar collateral ligament. As a result, he got a platelet-rich plasma injection on October 20. This was made known to teams after Ohtani entered MLB’s posting system, so it wasn’t like the Angels went into this blind.
Ohtani’s report said, “Although partial damage of UCL in deep layer of his right UCL exists, he is able to continue full baseball participation with sufficient elbow care program.” It also said Ohtani “will most likely be available to start his throwing program approximately a month from the PRP.”
Passan notes that the report also mentioned that a “small free body” floats in Ohtani’s elbow near his UCL.
Ohtani isn’t without other injuries. He battled hamstring and ankle issues throughout 2017 and underwent right ankle surgery back in October. Thankfully for the Angels, this diagnosis is about as good as it could be considering the circumstances. However, if Ohtani does exacerbate his UCL issue, he may ultimately need Tommy John surgery at some point, which would take him out of action for at least a year.