Former first-round pick Matt LaPorta, whose career was derailed by multiple injuries, has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Orioles.
Baltimore previously signed Delmon Young to a minor-league deal and they’re similar enough as right-handed bats and defensively challenged corner outfielders/first basemen that it could end up being a competition for one bench spot.
LaPorta was the seventh overall pick in the 2007 draft out of the University of Florida and was billed as being close to MLB ready, but he’s hit just .238 with 31 homers and a .694 OPS in 291 career games. Once a top-30 prospect on Baseball America‘s list in back-to-back years, he mostly struggled at Triple-A last season as a 28-year-old.
Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press reports that Tigers starter Mike Fiers is dealing with a back issue and may not be ready for the start of the season. Manager Ron Gardenhire characterized the injury as a “stiff back” and added, “Maybe a little bit of a bulging disk or something like that.”
Fiers, 32, signed a one-year, $6 million deal with the Tigers in December. He has had a forgettable spring, yielding 12 runs on 10 hits and eight walks with seven strikeouts in 11 1/3 innings.
Fiers had a rotation spot locked up along with Michael Fulmer, Jordan Zimmermann, and Francisco Liriano. Matt Boyd and Daniel Norris were battling it out for the No. 5 spot. If Fiers opens the regular season on the 10-day disabled list, both could have spots in the rotation.