In search of infield depth with Ryan Zimmerman on the disabled list again, the Nationals have acquired switch-hitting shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera from the Indians in exchange for minor leaguer Zach Walters.
Cabrera has been the Indians’ starting shortstop since 2009, but he also has 1,300 innings of experience at second base and will presumably mostly play there for the Nationals, with Anthony Rendon starting at third base (pending Zimmerman’s status).
Cabrera has hit .246 with nine homers and a .692 OPS in 97 games this season as an impending free agent and posted similar offensive numbers in 2013 following back-to-back All-Star appearances in 2011 and 2012.
Walters has had some brief stints with the Nationals, but the 24-year-old infielder has spent most of the past two seasons at Triple-A hitting .262 with 45 homers and an .820 OPS in 223 total games. He has 25-homer power and has played all over the diamond defensively, but it comes with poor plate discipline and lots of strikeouts.
Royals’ Opening Day starter Danny Duffy weathered a minor scare during Saturday’s Cactus League game against the Diamondbacks. The left-hander was removed from his final spring training start after experiencing some left shoulder tightness in the second and third innings. No lasting damage appears to have been done — Duffy told reporters that he simply felt a slight ache, nothing more — and it looks like he’ll remain on track to open the season with the team next Thursday.
The 29-year-old southpaw is coming off one of his best performances to date. Despite losing a few weeks to an oblique strain and elbow soreness, he went 9-10 in 24 starts and finished the 2017 season with a 3.81 ERA, 2.5 BB/9 and 8.0 SO/9 over 146 1/3 innings. While Duffy entered camp with a clean bill of health, he struggled to execute against his spring training opponents and racked up 13 runs, four homers, seven walks and 11 strikeouts in 13 innings of Cactus League play.
The Royals are scheduled to kick off their home opener against the White Sox on Thursday, March 29 at 4:15 PM ET. Barring any further complications with his shoulder, Duffy will take the mound for the Royals, while James Shields is expected to make his first Opening Day appearance for the White Sox.