ESPN’s Jayson Stark reports that the Nationals are still interested in free agent catcher Matt Wieters, but adds that it’s doubtful they’d commit to him beyond one year.
Wieters, 30, finished last season hitting .243/.302/.409 with 17 home runs and 66 RBI in 464 plate appearances. He’s the top free agent catcher remaining.
The Nationals currently have Derek Norris and Jose Lobaton as well as Pedro Severino behind the dish, so the team isn’t under any pressure to add a catcher. The Rays have also been listed as an interested team and adding Wieters would allow them to bring Wilson Ramos back from his injury at a reasonable pace rather than rushing him back. The Astros were floated as a potential destination last month, but that seems unlikely given their current catching corps of Brian McCann and Evan Gattis.
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.