Via James Wagner:
The initial word on Christian Garcia’s visit with a Baltimore-based hand specialist is that the right-hander will need two more weeks of rest before he can resume throwing.
Garcia was scheduled to fly to Washington on Sunday to be evaluated by Ken Means, a hand specialist. He had originally hoped to play catch on Monday after not throwing for nearly a month with a partially torn tendon in his right forearm. He was likely injured when throwing on a cold morning of workouts last month.
Adam Kilgore suggests that the right-hander would return in early May at the earliest.
Garcia made his Major League debut last season at the age of 26, posting a 2.13 ERA with 15 strikeouts and two walks in 12.2 innings. Coming up through the Minor Leagues in the Yankees’ system, he was used as a starter, but the Nationals converted him to a reliever two seasons ago.
With a back-end of the bullpen that includes closer Rafael Soriano, Drew Storen, and Tyler Clippard, the Nationals should be just fine in crucial spots in the game, but having another hard-throwing right-hander from the get-go would have been a nice luxury for the defending NL East champs.
Kyle Schwarber broke into the bigs in 2015 with a big bat. After missing almost all of the last season with an injury, he reemerged as a postseason hero, posting a .971 OPS in the World Series. As 2017 began he was supposed to be one of the key parts of a potent Cubs offense.
Then the baseball games actually started and he has hit a mere .171/.295/.378. Indeed, he has the lowest batting average among qualified MLB hitters in 2017. Given that he has very little if any defensive value, he has been a significant drag on the Cubs, who are just a single game over .500.
The Cubs are also putting Jason Heyward on the disabled list, so the outfield is a bit of a mess these days. Lucky for them, they’re only trailing the Brewers by a game and a half.
A surprising move out of Oakland: the Athletics have designated catcher Stephen Vogt for assignment.
Vogt is suffering through a bad season at the plate, hitting .217/.287/.357, so on the basis of pure performance it’s understandable that the A’s may want to part ways with the 32-year-old former All-Star. That said, Vogt is considered to be a leader in the Oakland clubhouse and is one of the last players remaining from the A’s 2013-14 playoff teams.
Catcher Bruce Maxwell has been recalled from Triple-A to take Vogt’s place on the roster. Main catching duties will belong to Josh Phegley.