Rockies demote Wilton Lopez and his $2.2 million salary to Triple-A

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When the Rockies acquired right-hander Wilton Lopez from the Astros two offseasons ago he was coming off three consecutive seasons with a sub-3.00 ERA, but he mostly struggled for Colorado last season and now he’s headed back to the minors.

Lopez began this year by allowing eight runs in six innings, including a nifty .514 opponents’ batting average, which convinced the Rockies to demote him to Triple-A at age 30. His last outing consisted of recorded two outs while coughing up six runs on three homers. For some context, Lopez has never allowed more than six home runs in any season before.

Lopez is making $2.2 million this season, so the Rockies are hoping he can get back on track against Pacific Coast League hitters and at least give them some decent middle relief work later in the year.

Report: Shohei Ohtani has sprained UCL in pitching elbow

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The Angels signed Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani for a $2.3 million signing bonus last weekend. They may have damaged goods on their hands. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that Ohtani underwent a physical that revealed a first-degree sprain of his ulnar collateral ligament. As a result, he got a platelet-rich plasma injection on October 20. This was made known to teams after Ohtani entered MLB’s posting system, so it wasn’t like the Angels went into this blind.

Ohtani’s report said, “Although partial damage of UCL in deep layer of his right UCL exists, he is able to continue full baseball participation with sufficient elbow care program.” It also said Ohtani “will most likely be available to start his throwing program approximately a month from the PRP.”

Passan notes that the report also mentioned that a “small free body” floats in Ohtani’s elbow near his UCL.

Ohtani isn’t without other injuries. He battled hamstring and ankle issues throughout 2017 and underwent right ankle surgery back in October. Thankfully for the Angels, this diagnosis is about as good as it could be considering the circumstances. However, if Ohtani does exacerbate his UCL issue, he may ultimately need Tommy John surgery at some point, which would take him out of action for at least a year.