Cardinals stud prospect Oscar Taveras said back in January that his surgically repaired ankle felt “100 percent” after causing him to miss much of last season, but after seeing him run early in camp the team disagrees.
In fact, manager Mike Matheny told Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch this morning that Taveras is running at about 80 percent and then added that “80 percent isn’t good enough.”
Which means Taveras has not been cleared for game action yet and his chances of cracking the Opening Day roster–which may have been fairly slim to begin with–are dropping lower by the day. More likely he’ll head to Triple-A, try to crush some Pacific Coast League pitching for a month or two, and force his way into the Cardinals’ plans. Assuming that he can get healthy at some point, of course.
Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels have inked outfielder Eric Young, Jr. to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.
Young, 31, played in just six games and logged one plate appearance in the majors this past season with the Yankees. He last played regularly in 2014. While Young doesn’t do much with the bat, he could provide value as a pinch-runner. He also offers versatility, having played all three outfield positions along with second base.
The Angels have Ben Revere as their fourth outfielder and Jefry Marte behind him, so Young would need to have a very impressive showing in spring training to find a spot on the Angels’ roster.
Update (5:20 PM EST): It’s a minor league contract, per Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. If he makes the major league roster, Saltalamacchia will earn $1.25 million with an additional $250,000 available through incentives.
The Blue Jays are close to a deal with free agent catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet is reporting.
Saltalamacchia, 31, hit a meager .171/.284/.346 with 12 home runs and 38 RBI in 292 plate appearances with the Tigers this past season. With Russell Martin getting regular playing time behind the plate, Saltalamacchia will serve as his understudy, pushing A.J. Jimenez and Juan Graterol down on the depth chart.
The veteran catcher isn’t far removed from being a productive backstop. He had an .805 OPS in 70 games with the Diamondbacks in 2015 and also helped the Red Sox win the World Series in 2013 with an .804 OPS in 121 games.