Drew Davison of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that the Rangers have signed utility infielder Jeff Baker to a minor league contract. The deal carries an invitation to spring training, where Baker will attempt to win a spot on the Texas bench.
Baker, 31, batted .239/.279/.378 with four homers and 25 RBI in 201 plate appearances last season between the Cubs, Tigers and Braves. He is a .266/.316/.428 career hitter in the major leagues.
Baker has played every infield position but shortstop over his eight-year MLB career and is also capable of serving as a fill-in at the corner outfield spots. He’ll be competing this spring with the likes of Leury Garcia, Yangervis Solarte and Brandon Snyder.
Jon Lester had a terrible outing yesterday, allowing nine runs — seven earned — and leaving the game before he could complete two innings.Lester entered the afternoon with a 3.99 ERA. He exited with a 4.37 ERA. Later the Cubs said that Lester was suffering from left lat tightness.
The Cubs are now saying that Lester will miss 1-2 starts. They are sending him to see Dr. Stephen Gryzlo for a more in-depth exam, and it’s possible Gryzlo will determine the injury is more serious, but at the moment the assessment seems cautiously optimistic.
Mike Montgomery will fill in for Lester for the time being.
Adam Wainwright was knocked out of yesterday’s game against the Pirates, allowing five runs on seven hits in three innings. For the second straight start his velocity suffered as well, with his fastball sitting in the mid-80s. This is not the Adam Wainwright the Cardinals are accustomed to and not the one they need. So they’re going to try to figure out what’s wrong. Wainwright, Derrick Goold of the Post-Dispatch reports, is headed back to St. Louis to meet with team doctors about his arm.
One wonders if this isn’t one start too late, given his struggles in his last outing and given that he said after that outing that he’s dealing with some pain on the outside of his elbow/triceps area. He did say, in the team’s defense, that that is a problem he’s dealt with in the past and that it has always gone away on its own. Still, it hasn’t always been accompanied by a velocity reduction, so this could be more worrisome. Also in the Cards’ defense: Wainwright is a 12-year veteran who has a way better handle on his own body than some kid might, so it’s understandable that they gave him the benefit of the doubt.
Still: concerning. The Cardinals are in a dogfight for the NL central and, while 2017 Adam Wainwright isn’t the same pitcher he used to be, having him around for the stretch would be preferable.