Mariners catcher/designated hitter Jesus Montero has been playing winter ball in Venezuela, but he’s been sidelined for more than a week after getting into a minor car accident that left him with lacerated knuckles.
Mariners minor league coordinator Chris Gwynn told Greg Johns of MLB.com that Montero is expected to be fine, but his winter league participation is on hold “until he gets the stitches out.”
Johns notes that Montero has been playing mostly first base and designated hitter in Venezuela, which is a sign that his days behind the plate are done following years of defensive struggles. That will put even more pressure on Montero to produce offensively after hitting just .258 with a .699 OPS through 182 career games.
ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the Nationals have signed reliever Joaquin Benoit to a contract. Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post adds that it’s a one-year major league deal worth $1 million.
Benoit, 40, spent last season with the Phillies and Pirates. He put up a mediocre 4.65 ERA with a 46/22 K/BB ratio across 50 1/3 innings. Only 8/13 innings came with the Pirates as he dealt with a left knee injury that kept him out of action for much of the final month and a half. He also left the team in mid-September to attend to a family matter in the Dominican Republic.
Given his age and declining performance, as well as the Nationals’ bullpen depth, Benoit doesn’t figure to pitch in many high-leverage spots, but that could change with injuries.