Initially the Cardinals were going to keep their Triple-A team together for the Pacific Coast League playoffs, but with first baseman Matt Adams slumping they’ve decided to call up Memphis first baseman Xavier Scruggs.
Scruggs will be making his big-league debut at age 26 after hitting .286 with 21 homers and an .864 OPS in 135 games at Triple-A. He has similarly good but not great numbers in past seasons and he’s too old to really be considered a prospect, but Scruggs has done particularly well versus left-handed pitching and could be used in a platoon with the left-handed-hitting Adams.
Scruggs, a right-handed hitter, batted .350 with a 1.088 OPS off lefties at Triple-A. By comparison Adams has hit just .213 off lefties in three seasons for the Cardinals.
Free agent right-hander Henderson Alvarez signed a deal with the Tigres de Quintana Roo of the Mexican Baseball League earlier this week, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Friday. The righty wasn’t necessarily too fringey a player to hack it in the big leagues, but there were no MLB takers in attendance during his showcase in Venezuela last month and he clearly felt it best to try his luck elsewhere.
The 27-year-old’s last major league gig came with the Phillies, for whom he delivered a 4.30 ERA, 6.8 BB/9 and 3.7 SO/9 over 14 2/3 innings in 2017. While he’s not too far removed from his first and only All-Star bid in 2014, he was besieged by shoulder issues in 2015 and 2016 and underwent season-ending surgeries as a result.
That added injury risk, coupled with the fact that he hasn’t pitched more than 22 innings in a single season since 2014, may have been too much for major league teams to take on this spring. Assuming he steers clear of further injuries, however, a return to the majors may not be entirely out of the question in years to come.