Royals demote Mike Moustakas to Triple-A

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One week ago Royals manager Ned Yost said he was sticking with third baseman Mike Moutakas despite a ghastly .147 batting average. Today the Royals demoted Moustakas to Triple-A.

In between then and now Moustakas went 3-for-16 (.188) with two doubles in six games, which apparently convinced the Royals they’ve seen enough struggles from the 25-year-old former top prospect and No. 2 overall pick.

Moustakas has certainly earned the demotion. In addition to this year’s struggles he’s hit just .236 with a .669 OPS in 414 career games, posting an ugly 284/105 K/BB ratio while showing zero signs of improvement. It’s just noteworthy that Yost came out so strongly in favor of sticking with Moustakas only to see the team demote him exactly one week later.

Last time Moustakas was at Triple-A he was a 22-year-old top prospect in 2011 and he hit .287 with an .845 OPS in 55 games before the Royals called him up. However, even then his 44/19 K/BB ratio was a red flag.

And now the Royals’ primary third baseman is 29-year-old journeyman Danny Valencia.

Erasmo Ramirez to be shut down with a minor lat strain

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Mariners right-hander Erasmo Ramirez has been shut down for two weeks with a minor lat strain, reports Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times. It’s a precautionary move, as Ramirez felt some tightness in his arm and could not complete his scheduled bullpen session on Saturday.

There’s no word yet on whether Ramirez will be able to recover in time for the start of the season, though he’s expected to claim a rotation spot again this spring. The 28-year-old righty has been dogged by injuries throughout his six-year career, but finally managed to piece together a full season on the mound in back-to-back stints with the Rays and Mariners in 2017. He went 5-6 in 19 starts for the two clubs and turned in a cumulative 4.39 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 through 131 1/3 innings.

The Mariners are no stranger to pitcher injuries, either. They lost a number of their top arms to various elbow, arm and shoulder injuries last year and cycled through 40 total pitchers as they limped toward a 78-84 finish. Comments from club manager Scott Servais indicate that the team will keep a close eye on Ramirez throughout his recovery, though Divish notes that right-hander Andrew Moore and lefty Ariel Miranda could also slot into the no. 5 spot if Ramirez experiences further setbacks.