With starter Matt Moore on the shelf after tearing his ulnar collateral ligament, Rays manager Joe Maddon says Cesar Ramos will move out of the bullpen to start on Sunday, per Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. Topkin adds that it sounds like veteran lefty Erik Bedard will be called up from Triple-A Durham.
Ramos, 29, has allowed one run in four innings to start the 2014 season. He was one of the Rays’ best relievers in 2012, but ran into some struggles last season, finishing with a 4.14 ERA in 67 1/3 innings. His strikeout rate dropped from 24 percent to 18 percent.
Bedard, 35, finished with a 4.59 ERA in 151 innings spanning 26 starts and six relief appearances last season for the Astros. The Rays signed him to a minor league deal in February, released him after he had ugly results in spring training, then re-signed him to a minor league deal at the end of March, sending him to Triple-A Durham. In his first start with the Bulls, Bedard allowed one run in four innings, striking out five and walking one.
Free agent right-hander Tim Lincecum isn’t ready to hang up his cleats just yet. At least, that’s the word from Lincecum’s agent, Rick Thurman, who says the 32-year-old is still “throwing and getting ready for the season” (via Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News).
Lincecum may not be ready to enter retirement, but another quote from Thurman suggests that he’ll be picky about where he pitches next. He doesn’t appear open to pitching overseas, and despite not having a contract for 2017 (or even any serious suitors), the right-hander is set on pitching in the big leagues this year. Whether or not he’s willing to take a bullpen role to do so remains to be seen.
While Baggarly predicts some interest in the veteran righty, there’s not much in Lincecum’s recent history to inspire faith in him as a starter, or even a reliever. He picked up a one-year, $2.5 million contract with the Angels following his hip surgery in 2015, and went 2-6 in 2016 with a 9.16 ERA, 5.4 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 over 38 1/3 innings. At this point, a minor league contract seems like the surest path back to major league success, though he’s unlikely to find an open spot on the Giants’ or Angels’ rosters anytime soon.
Free agent right-hander Jeff Manship has reportedly signed with the NC Dinos of the Korea Baseball Organization, according to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The righty was non-tendered by the Indians in December.
Manship, 32, completed his second season with Cleveland in 2016. He delivered a 3.12 ERA, 4.6 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 rate over 43 1/3 innings, a slight decline after posting an 0.92 ERA with the club the year before. During eight years in the major leagues, Manship carries a 4.82 career ERA, 3.6 BB/9 and 6.4 SO/9 in multiple stints with the Twins, Rockies, Phillies and Indians.
The right-hander will be joined by fellow MLB transplants Eric Hacker and Xavier Scruggs, each of whom took one-year deals with the Dinos last month. Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors notes that each KBO team is allowed up to three foreign players, so Manship will round out the trio when he joins the roster. Any salary terms have yet to be disclosed.