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Tanner Scheppers to miss first half of season after knee surgery

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After missing most of 2014 with an elbow issue, Rangers right-hander Tanner Scheppers dealt with ankle and knee injuries last season while struggling to the tune of a 5.63 ERA over 42 appearances. Unfortunately, 2016 is already off to the wrong foot.

According to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News, Scheppers is slated to undergo surgery on Wednesday to repair torn cartilage in his left knee. It’s the same knee that bothered him for much of last season. Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said that the expectation is that he’ll miss at least the first half of the season.

Tanners was excellent out of the bullpen in 2013, posting a 1.88 ERA over 76 appearances, but it’s been all downhill for him since the Rangers tried to convert him to a starter two years ago. Now he’ll have to wait until later this summer to break his string of bad luck.

Tigers sign Edwin Espinal to minor league deal

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Free agent first baseman Edwin Espinal has signed a minor league deal with the Tigers, the infielder announced Saturday. The move has yet to be confirmed by the team.

Espinal, 23, capped a seven-year run with the Pirates’ minor league affiliates in 2017. He split his season between Double-A Altoona and Triple-A Indianapolis, batting a cumulative .294/.327/.447 with 15 home runs and 31 doubles in 532 plate appearances. While he’s raked at nearly every level so far, he also profiles well on defense, and rounded off his 2017 performance with a perfect fielding percentage, 208 putouts and a Gold Glove award.

Espinal is untested at the major league level and it’s not yet clear if he’ll make the jump in 2018. He showed some positional versatility during his time in the minors, however, and could take reps at third base or DH if necessary. The Tigers are reportedly on the lookout for pitching depth and left-handed bats — two bills the right-handed Espinal doesn’t fit — and presumably have a lot of moves left to make this winter.