WGN continues to search for a new broadcasting partner for Len Kasper after Bob Brenly left the Cubs’ booth to join the Diamondbacks’ broadcast team last month.
According to Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago, MLB Network’s Dan Plesac is expected to interview for the gig next week. Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reported last week that Plesac recently signed a five-year extension with MLB Network and didn’t consider himself a candidate, so this news comes a bit of a surprise, but he has apparently had a change of heart about the possibility.
Plesac has been with MLB Network since the network first launched in January of 2009, but previously hosted Cubs pre-game and post-game shows with Comcast SportsNet Chicago from 2005-2008. The three-time All-Star also pitched with the Cubs from 1993-1994.
Plesac isn’t the only ex-Cub under consideration for the job, as former Eric Karros is also expected to interview. Rick Sutcliffe, Todd Hollandsworth and Doug Glanville have all been mentioned as possibilities, though it’s not clear whether they are serious candidates to join Kasper in the booth.
The Diamondbacks have signed free agent left-hander Jorge De La Rosa to a minor league deal, per a team announcement on Sunday. The contract includes an invitation to spring training. Nick Piecoro of AZCentral.com adds that De La Rosa stands to make $2.25 million if he secures a spot on the major league roster, with up to $600,000 in incentives if he pitches out of the bullpen and up to $1 million in incentives if he pitches out of the starting rotation.
The 35-year-old is expected to compete for a bullpen role after spending the better part of a decade in the Rockies’ rotation. He capped a nine-year run with Colorado in 2016, finishing the year with a 5.51 ERA, 4.2 BB/9 and 7.3 SO/9 over 134 innings. Despite his struggles out of the rotation, he found limited success in a three-game stint in the bullpen, striking out 10 of 26 batters and holding the opposition to just three hits and one earned run in eight innings.
The veteran lefty is set to join a bullpen comprised of right-handers Randall Delgado, Jake Barrett and Fernando Rodney, along with a number of unproven candidates on similar minor league contracts. His age and command issues may be off-putting, but the promise he showed as a reliever should give the Diamondbacks some upside as they attempt to redeem a league-worst bullpen in 2017.
Blue Jays’ third baseman Josh Donaldson is expected to miss up to three weeks with a right calf strain, reports John Lott. Donaldson reportedly felt some discomfort in his calf during sprinting drills on Friday and was diagnosed with what looked like a mild strain after undergoing an MRI on Saturday. According to Lott, the 31-year-old is on crutches for the next few days and will likely miss 2-3 weeks of spring training.
Donaldson had a similar scare at the start of the 2016 season, when he limped out of the batter’s box during the Blue Jays’ first regular season road trip with a right calf strain. He returned to DH two days later, however, and was back on the field in less than a week’s time. Blue Jays’ GM Ross Atkins told MLB.com’s Corey Long that the two calf injuries are unrelated, and expects that Donaldson will recover in similar fashion this spring — well before Opening Day comes around.