Joe Saunders is on the disabled list with an ankle injury and when he’s ready to return the Rangers may not have a rotation spot for him. That means the veteran left-hander could shift to the bullpen except he’s very much against that idea, telling Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas:
For me it’s all about starting and helping this team win games as a starter. It’s what I signed to do and what they signed me to do.
Technically true, although in reality what the Rangers signed Saunders to do was provide some emergency rotation depth while a bunch of their starters were banged up and now that’s not really needed.
As for the whole “helping this team win games as a starter” thing, Saunders has a 5.35 ERA in 33 starts since the beginning of last season and a 4.42 ERA in 158 starts dating all the way back to 2009. Considering those numbers and his extreme lefty/righty splits a move to the bullpen might actually help prolong the 32-year-old southpaw’s career.
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.