According to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, the Rangers are set to sign left-hander Nate Robertson to a minor league contract. He will get an invite to spring training, where he’s expected to compete for a bullpen job.
Robertson, who averaged 31 starts with the Tigers from 2004-2008, hasn’t appeared in the majors since 2010 with the Phillies and Marlins. Now 35 years old, he posted an ugly 8.07 ERA and 20/8 K/BB ratio over 29 innings last season at the Triple-A level between the Cubs and Blue Jays. He also had a brief stint with the independent Wichita Wingnuts.
Robbie Ross may get a chance at a rotation spot if the Rangers don’t add another starter prior to spring training, so there could be an opening for a left-handed reliever. However, Robertson is a long shot candidate.
Royals’ Opening Day starter Danny Duffy weathered a minor scare during Saturday’s Cactus League game against the Diamondbacks. The left-hander was removed from his final spring training start after experiencing some left shoulder tightness in the second and third innings. No lasting damage appears to have been done — Duffy told reporters that he simply felt a slight ache, nothing more — and it looks like he’ll remain on track to open the season with the team next Thursday.
The 29-year-old southpaw is coming off one of his best performances to date. Despite losing a few weeks to an oblique strain and elbow soreness, he went 9-10 in 24 starts and finished the 2017 season with a 3.81 ERA, 2.5 BB/9 and 8.0 SO/9 over 146 1/3 innings. While Duffy entered camp with a clean bill of health, he struggled to execute against his spring training opponents and racked up 13 runs, four homers, seven walks and 11 strikeouts in 13 innings of Cactus League play.
The Royals are scheduled to kick off their home opener against the White Sox on Thursday, March 29 at 4:15 PM ET. Barring any further complications with his shoulder, Duffy will take the mound for the Royals, while James Shields is expected to make his first Opening Day appearance for the White Sox.