Matt Diaz has been on the disabled list since mid-July with a right thumb injury and the Braves announced that the veteran outfielder will undergo season-ending surgery.
Diaz told Carroll Rogers of the Atlanta Journal Constitution that “we’ve given it pretty much every way to rest possible” before deciding on surgery, which carries a two-month recovery timetable.
He actually played through the injury for about six weeks before going on the DL last month, but Diaz finishes the season hitting just .222 with two homers and a .613 OPS in 51 games. That’s a far cry from his lifetime .291 batting average and .770 OPS, and his absence as a right-handed platoon bat versus left-handed pitching motivated the Braves to trade for Reed Johnson.
Free agent middle infielder Danny Espinosa signed a minor-league deal with the Blue Jays, the team announced Saturday. The deal includes an invite to spring training, where Espinosa is scheduled for his first split-squad game against the Orioles this afternoon.
Espinosa, 30, was inked to another minor-league deal with the Yankees in January. The veteran infielder was competing for an infield job until the team picked up second baseman Neil Walker on a one-year, $4 million deal last Monday. Prior to his release, he slashed .160/.276/.320 with one home run through his first 12 games with the Yankees this spring. He didn’t fare much better in the majors last year, either, batting a cumulative .173/.245/.278 with six home runs and a .523 OPS in 295 PA for the Mariners and Rays.
Blue Jays starting shortstop Troy Tulowitzki is still dealing with a bone spur in his heel and has officially been ruled out for Opening Day, which could clear a path for Espinosa to claim a starting role in Toronto. Of course, he won’t be the only candidate under consideration — Yangervis Solarte and Aledmys Diaz are still in the mix as well, though no final decision appears to be made just yet.