Cardinals right-hander Joe Kelly left today’s start against the Brewers after tweaking his hamstring trying to beat out an infield single in the sixth inning.
With his next turn in the rotation in question the Cardinals may have to dip into their impressive pitching depth for a fill-in starter. Carlos Martinez could be shifted from the bullpen, although his arm strength isn’t built up yet and the Cardinals presumably wouldn’t want to disrupt his relief role so quickly after deciding not to use him as a starter.
Left-hander Tyler Lyons is waiting in the wings at Triple-A and actually started today as well, so he’d be on the same schedule as Kelly if needed. Lyons had a 4.75 ERA with nice secondary numbers in 53 innings for the Cardinals last season as a 25-year-old rookie and pitched well at Triple-A too.
Delving even deeper into the minors is another possibility, because the Cardinals have plenty of intriguing young starters at Double-A and Triple-A, but if they feel like Kelly’s injury won’t require more than 1-2 missed starts Lyons would seemingly be the easy pick.
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.