Rockies bring back catcher Yorvit Torrealba on minor league deal

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UPDATE: Troy Renck of the Denver Post reports that Torrealba has received a minor league contract with a spring training invite. The Rockies are looking at him as insurance and depth with Ramon Hernandez slated to play for his native Venezuela in the upcoming World Baseball Classic.

11:15 PM: According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, the Rockies have signed catcher Yorvit Torrealba. It’s not clear whether he has received a major league deal or not, but Thomas Harding of MLB.com reported earlier this week that the Rockies had offered him a minor league contract.

This is a homecoming of sorts for Torrealba, who previously played with the club from 2006-2009 and enjoyed his best seasons there. The 34-year-old backstop batted just .227/.293/.330 with four home runs, 14 RBI and a .623 OPS in 218 plate appearances last season between the Rangers, Blue Jays and Brewers.

The Rockies already have Wilin Rosario and Ramon Hernandez as their projected catching tandem, so it’s unlikely there will be a place for Torrealba on the Opening Day roster unless there’s an injury. It’s worth noting that Hernandez had left hamstring surgery in September, so perhaps the Rockies just wanted some veteran insurance.

Dallas Keuchel is unlikely to return before the All-Star break

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Astros’ left-hander Dallas Keuchel might not return to the rotation before the All-Star break, Houston manager A.J. Hinch told reporters prior to Sunday’s game. The club placed their star southpaw on the 10-day disabled list on June 8, retroactive to June 5, after a nerve issue was revealed in his neck.

Keuchel has taken a conservative approach to his recovery over the last several weeks, and while he appears to have made some progress, still has yet to throw off the mound. The injury interrupted the start of an outstanding run with the Astros, during which the 29-year-old lefty furnished a 9-0 record with a 1.67 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 through his first 75 2/3 innings of 2017.

According to Hinch, it’s certainly possible that Keuchel could return to the team sometime within the next two weeks, but it’s clear that the team would prefer to play it extra safe with their ace. Even assuming that he feels ready to reclaim his spot on the Astros’ pitching staff, he still needs to complete a few key activities before competing in another game — like throwing off a mound, for example. In the meantime, Lance McCullers Jr. will continue to head Houston’s rotation as they try to build on their 12.5-game lead in the AL West.

 

Hinch’s full comments are below:

The Mets are promoting Tim Tebow to Single-A St. Lucie

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Mets GM Sandy Alderson told the media on Sunday that the organization is promoting outfielder Tim Tebow from Single-A Columbia to advanced Single-A St. Lucie, MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo reports.

Tebow, 29, wasn’t hitting particularly well to merit the promotion. Across 241 plate appearances with Columbia, he hit .222/.311/.340 with three home runs and 22 RBI. He had just seven extra-base hits (all doubles) in his most recent 20 games. Alderson, however, defended the decision by citing Tebow’s exit velocity and other metrics.

I think we can all agree that the real reason is that promoting Tebow creates another opportunity for the Mets to sell merchandise with his name on it.

One has to feel for the outfielder Tebow will displace. St. Lucie’s regular outfielders have comparable stats to Tebow’s, so they aren’t exactly being replaced on merit. That outfielder will see less playing time, hurting his future prospects. Adding Tebow to St. Lucie’s roster will push someone off of the roster, which will also harm that player’s future prospects. And, remember, these players don’t make much money to begin with.