Lefty Martin Perez, considered the front runner for the Rangers’ #5 spot in the rotation, suffered a fracture of the ulna bone when a line drive was hit back up the middle and struck him in this afternoon’s spring training game against the Mariners. Perez hadn’t allowed a hit in his three innings of work prior to the injury.
The top prospect, soon to be 22 years old, could return in May. In 38 innings in the Majors last year, Perez posted a 5.45 ERA. Baseball America has listed him in their top-100 rankings in each of the last five years.
Justin Grimm is fighting for the fifth rotation spot as well, but gave up six runs in 2.1 innings after entering the game following Perez’s removal. Mike Peasley points out that the Rangers wouldn’t necessarily need a fifth starter until the eighth game of the season due to two off-days.
The Rangers have “remained in contact” with free agent starter Kyle Lohse’s agent Scott Boras. The Perez injury may open up the door for Lohse.
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays and free agent reliever Shawn Tolleson are close to finalizing a contract.
Tolleson, who turns 29 years old on Thursday, had an ugly 2016 season, finishing with a 7.68 ERA and a 29/10 K/BB ratio in 36 1/3 innings. He was one of the Rangers’ best relievers in the two seasons prior to that, however, which included saving 35 games in 2015.
It’s not known yet what kind of contract the two sides are negotiating. It could be a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training, a non-guaranteed major league contract, or a guaranteed major league contract.
The big presidential pardon news today concerns the commutation of Chelsea Manning’s sentence. We’ll leave that aside. For our purposes, know that someone in the world of baseball was pardoned: Willie McCovey.
Yes, Hall of Famer Willie McCovey, who in 1995 pleaded guilty to income tax fraud related to the non-reporting of income received from memorabilia and autograph shows. Duke Snider pleaded guilty alongside McCovey. They were given two years probation and fines of $5,000. Snider died in 2011. McCovey still works with the San Francisco Giants as a senior advisor and goodwill ambassador.
President Obama’s release of McCovey’s pardon was pretty succinct. But it’s enough to scrub the record of one of the greatest sluggers of all time.