FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that the Padres have hired A.J. Preller — a former assistant GM with the Rangers — to be their next general manager.
Yankees assistant general manager Billy Eppler was thought to be the favorite for the gig, which was vacated after the late-June firing of Josh Byrnes, but Preller ultimately won out. Red Sox assistant general manager Mike Hazen and MLB senior VP of baseball operations Kim Ng were among the finalists.
Preller, a 36-year-old graduate of Cornell University, had been with the Rangers for the last 10 years. He was serving as Texas’ director of player development and scouting at the time of his hiring Tuesday night by San Diego and was also the Rangers’ head of international scouting at one point.
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.