Last week Houston moved pitching coach Doug Brocal into a different role in the organization and now Brian McTaggart of MLB.com reports that the Astros have hired Brent Strom as their new pitching coach.
Strom was previously the Royals’ pitching coach in 2000 and 2001, but most recently he’s been a minor league pitching instructor for the Cardinals … for whom Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow previously worked. Strom is 64 years old, whereas Brocail is 46.
And here’s an interesting tidbit: Strom was the second pitcher to ever undergo ulnar collateral elbow ligament replacement surgery. Tommy John, of course, was the first.
The Rays acquired minor league reliever Drew Smith from the Tigers on Friday, per a team announcement. The move will close the loop on the trade the two teams began in January for backup outfielder Mikie Mahtook.
Smith, 23, pitched his first full season in Single-A West Michigan in 2016, turning in a 2.96 ERA, 4.3 BB/9 and 11.5 SO/9 in 48 2/3 innings. The right-hander is still several levels away from making any impact on the Rays’ major league roster, but appears to be progressing steadily in two seasons of pro ball and has delivered two runs, four walks and 12 strikeouts in his first 11 2/3 innings at High-A Lakeland this season. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that he’ll be reassigned to the Rays’ High-A Charlotte this week.
The Yankees have activated shortstop Didi Gregorius from the 10-day disabled list, the club announced on Friday. Infielder Pete Kozma was designated for assignment to clear roster space.
Gregorius, 27, suffered a strained right shoulder while playing in the World Baseball Classic last month. He’s in Friday’s starting lineup, batting sixth against the Orioles.
Last season, Gregorius hit .276/.304/.447 with 20 home runs and 70 RBI in 597 plate appearances.