Orioles right-hander Jason Hammel is back from the disabled list after missing the past six weeks with a strained forearm, although manager Buck Showalter hasn’t said for sure yet how he plans to use him.
Hammel was one of the Orioles’ best starters last season, throwing 118 innings with a 3.43 ERA and 113/42 K/BB ratio, but he posted a 5.20 ERA in 21 starts this year before being shut down in late July.
He threw a combined 6.2 innings of one-run ball in two appearances in the minors to convince the Orioles he’s ready, but may not be fully stretched out to make a normal start quite yet.
Free agent middle infielder Danny Espinosa signed a minor-league deal with the Blue Jays, the team announced Saturday. The deal includes an invite to spring training, where Espinosa is scheduled for his first split-squad game against the Orioles this afternoon.
Espinosa, 30, was inked to another minor-league deal with the Yankees in January. The veteran infielder was competing for an infield job until the team picked up second baseman Neil Walker on a one-year, $4 million deal last Monday. Prior to his release, he slashed .160/.276/.320 with one home run through his first 12 games with the Yankees this spring. He didn’t fare much better in the majors last year, either, batting a cumulative .173/.245/.278 with six home runs and a .523 OPS in 295 PA for the Mariners and Rays.
Blue Jays starting shortstop Troy Tulowitzki is still dealing with a bone spur in his heel and has officially been ruled out for Opening Day, which could clear a path for Espinosa to claim a starting role in Toronto. Of course, he won’t be the only candidate under consideration — Yangervis Solarte and Aledmys Diaz are still in the mix as well, though no final decision appears to be made just yet.