Dan Uggla underwent LASIK surgery on August 16 to combat lingering vision issues, but he’s on track to return from the disabled list as soon as he’s eligible.
According to Mark Bowman of MLB.com, Uggla will begin a minor league rehab assignment Monday with Triple-A Gwinnett on Monday. He’s slated to play two games in the minors before being activated next Wednesday.
Uggla has generally hit for low batting averages during his career, but he has reached a new low this season, hitting just .186 through 112 games. His 31.7 percent strikeout rate is fourth-highest among qualified hitters while only the Astros’ Chris Carter and the Pirates’ Pedro Alvarez have made contact at a lower rate. The 33-year-old told Chris Iseman of MLB.com earlier this week that he “can see a lot more clear,” but acknowledged that the procedure is “not just going to cure everything.” However, given how he has performed this season, it certainly can’t hurt.
Free agent first baseman Edwin Espinal has signed a minor league deal with the Tigers, the infielder announced Saturday. The move has yet to be confirmed by the team.
Espinal, 23, capped a seven-year run with the Pirates’ minor league affiliates in 2017. He split his season between Double-A Altoona and Triple-A Indianapolis, batting a cumulative .294/.327/.447 with 15 home runs and 31 doubles in 532 plate appearances. While he’s raked at nearly every level so far, he also profiles well on defense, and rounded off his 2017 performance with a perfect fielding percentage, 208 putouts and a Gold Glove award.
Espinal is untested at the major league level and it’s not yet clear if he’ll make the jump in 2018. He showed some positional versatility during his time in the minors, however, and could take reps at third base or DH if necessary. The Tigers are reportedly on the lookout for pitching depth and left-handed bats — two bills the right-handed Espinal doesn’t fit — and presumably have a lot of moves left to make this winter.