Most folks who have heard of Scott Cousins did so via his takeout slide that ended Buster Posey’s 2011 season and the subsequent threats people made to him — including Giants GM Brian Sabean — in the aftermath.
If you’ve paid more attention than most you know that Cousins has spent the past four years just barely hanging on as a major league outfielder, but actually spending far more time in the minors.
Now Cousins has a new gig: newbie pitcher. Gary Fraley reports that the Rangers have signed Cousins — who spent his spring trying to latch on as an outfielder with the Red Sox — to be a pitcher:
Cousins the outfielder is no more. He will join the extended-spring-training team in Surprise, Ariz., to start the conversion to left-handed pitcher. Cousins has never pitched in a professional game.
Cousins is 29. He last pitched when he played for the University of San Francisco in 2006. As a sophomore in 2005 he went 8–5 with a 2.64 ERA and 76 strikeouts. He won four more games and struck out 61 as a junior. Obviously he was drafted as an outfielder, but I suppose it’s never too late in life to find your true path.
Veteran Omar Infante has spent the overwhelming majority of his career as an infielder, but the Tigers plan to give him some playing time in center field this spring. The Tigers’ center field situation is still murky and adding more versatility would increase Infante’s odds of making the roster.
Infante, 35, signed a minor league deal with the Tigers in December. He played 39 games for the Royals last season, batting .239/.279/.321 in 149 plate appearances while playing second base exclusively. Infante last played in the outfield in 2010 with the Braves, and last played center field specifically in ’09 with the Braves.
The Tigers currently have Mikie Mahtook, Tyler Collins, and JaCoby Jones at the top of their center field depth chart. It is not what one would call “optimal.”
Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun reports that the Orioles are close to acquiring pitcher Vidal Nuno from the Dodgers in exchange for pitcher Ryan Moseley.
Nuno, 29, went to the Dodgers from the Mariners in the Carlos Ruiz trade this past November. He and the Dodgers avoided arbitration last month, agreeing on a $1.125 million salary for the 2017 season. The left-hander finished the 2016 campaign with a 3.53 ERA and a 51/11 K/BB ratio in 58 2/3 innings spanning one start and 54 relief appearances.
Nuno will provide the Orioles starting pitching depth and could serve as a valuable left-handed option out of the bullpen.
Moseley, 22, played his first season of professional baseball in the New York Penn League last year. In 12 relief appearances, he put up a 3.20 ERA and an 18/9 K/BB ratio across 19 2/3 innings. The Orioles selected him in the eighth round of the 2016 draft.