Rookie slugger George Springer was forced to exit a minor league rehab game with Low-A Quad Cities last night after he aggravated his left quad strain, but Astros manager Bo Porter told Brian McTaggart of MLB.com earlier this evening that the setback is considered minor.
Springer hasn’t played in the majors since July 19. The initial plan called for him to complete three minor league rehab games before being activated tomorrow, but that’s no guarantee now. The 24-year-old outfielder will examined by the team training staff tomorrow at Minute Maid Park before the Astros decide how to proceed.
“He was going to have a day off regardless,” Porter said before Thursday’s series finale vs. the Phillies. “Obviously, with him having to come out of the game yesterday, we’ll send him through a workout [Friday] and see how he recovers, and if he doesn’t have any setbacks, we’ll make a decision at that point whether to activate him or give him more time.”
Springer has provided plenty of excitement for Astros fans since his major league debut in mid-April, compiling 20 home runs and an .804 OPS over 78 games.
A report from the Baltimore Sun’s Dan Connolly suggests that free agent catcher Welington Castillo currently tops the Orioles’ list of potential backstop targets for the 2017 season. With Matt Wieters on the market, the Orioles lack a suitable platoon partner for Caleb Joseph behind the dish, and Connolly adds that the club has been discussing a multi-year deal with Castillo’s representatives since the Winter Meetings.
Castillo batted .264/.322/.423 with the Diamondbacks in 2016, racking up 14 home runs and driving in a career-high 68 RBI in 457 PA. His bat provides much of his upside, and Connolly quoted an anonymous National League scout who believes that the 29-year-old’s defensive profile has fallen short of his potential in recent years.
For better or worse, both the Orioles and Castillo appear far from locking in a deal for 2017. Both the Rays and Braves have expressed interest in the veteran catcher during the past week, while the Orioles are reportedly considering Wieters, Nick Hundley and Chris Iannetta as alternatives behind the plate.
The Phillies reportedly signed veteran outfielder Daniel Nava to a minor league contract, according to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Nava began the season on a one-year contract with the Angels, during which he slashed .235/.309/.303 through 136 PA in the first half of 2016. He was flipped to the Royals in late August for a player to be named later and saw the remainder of his year go down the drain on an .091 average through 12 PA in Anaheim. After getting the boot from the Angels’ 40-man roster in November, the 33-year-old outfielder elected free agency.
Nava is expected to compete for a bench role on the Phillies’ roster in the spring. As it currently stands, the club’s projected 2017 outfield features Howie Kendrick and Odubel Herrera, with precious little depth behind them. Nava’s bat is underwhelming, but at the very least he offers the Phillies a warm body in left field and a potential platoon partner for one of their younger options, a la Tyler Goeddel or Roman Quinn.