Didi Gregorius is back with the Diamondbacks after being demoted to Triple-A when he lost the shortstop job to Chris Owings, but this time he’s returning as an injury replacement for utility infielder Cliff Pennington.
Pennington is headed to the disabled list with a sprained thumb ligament and second baseman Aaron Hill has been banged up recently, so Arizona needed the infield depth.
Gregorius started 97 games at shortstop for the Diamondbacks last season and generally played well, but manager Kirk Gibson went with Chris Owings as the shortstop coming out of spring training. That sent Gregorius back to Triple-A, where he’s hit .310 with three homers and an .836 OPS in 57 games, which is good but not spectacular in a hitter-friendly environment like Reno of the Pacific Coast League.
It seems unlikely that Gregorius will steal a ton of playing time from Owings, but it would be a chance for the Diamondbacks to showcase the 24-year-old a bit for a potential trade to a team that would use him as their everyday shortstop.
Jon Morosi of MLB Network and FOX Sports reports that the Mariners have acquired starter Chris Heston from the Giants. The Giants will receive a player to be named later, per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.
Heston, 28, logged only five innings in the majors this past season as he battled an oblique injury and otherwise spent most of his time with Triple-A Sacramento. Heston was solid out of the Giants’ rotation in 2015, posting a 3.95 ERA with a 141/64 K/BB ratio in 177 2/3 innings over 31 starts.
Heston will be under team control through 2021. He’ll provide depth for the Mariners’ rotation in the meantime.
Joe Nathan‘s agent, David Pepe, says his client wants to pitch in 2017, per ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick. “He’s like the Energizer Bunny,” Pepe said.
Nathan, 42, came back from Tommy John surgery in July, pitching two scoreless innings for the Cubs with four strikeouts and two walks. The Cubs released him and the Giants picked him up, and Nathan went on to pitch 4 1/3 scoreless innings down the stretch with five strikeouts and two walks.
According to FanGraphs, Nathan’s velocity wasn’t where it used to be, which is to be expected of a pitcher in his 40’s coming back from major elbow surgery. Still, with teams always on the hunt for bullpen depth, it would be shocking if Nathan didn’t get any bites before spring training starts.