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Michael Fulmer could miss World Baseball Classic with sprained ankle

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Tigers’ right-hander Michael Fulmer might not make it to the World Baseball Classic this year. The 23-year-old sprained his right ankle during agility drills on Saturday and is expected to miss his next spring training start on Monday. According to manager Brad Ausmus, the sprain will likely prevent Fulmer from reaching the necessary pitch counts to play for Team USA later this month.

MLB.com’s Jason Beck reports that the sprain is classified as a Grade 1 injury, which shouldn’t affect the righty’s chances of making the roster by Opening Day. As far as the WBC is concerned, Fulmer’s involvement depends on Team USA advancing beyond the first round, as he’s been named to a Designated Pitcher Pool that the team can only draw from in subsequent rounds of the tournament.

Beck adds that pitchers in the second round can toss up to 80 pitches, with an additional 65 pitches in the third round. Fulmer, meanwhile, has thrown a total of 19 pitches in three innings during spring training so far. The Tigers are understandably inclined to take a conservative approach with the right-hander, who turned out a 3.06 ERA, 2.4 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 over 159 innings with the club during his award-winning rookie campaign in 2016.

Astros claim Buddy Boshers off waivers from the Twins

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The Astros announced on Monday that the club claimed reliever Buddy Boshers off waivers from the Twins.

Boshers, 29, had been designated for assignment by the Twins last week. Across parts of three seasons, the lefty compiled a 4.59 ERA with a 78/25 K/BB ratio in 86 1/3 innings in the big leagues.

Boshers has handled left-handed hitters much better than right-handed hitters, holding them to a career .621 and .793 OPS, respectively. If he makes the 25-man roster out of spring training, the Astros may use him as a LOOGY — a left-handed one-out guy. As of right now, Tony Sipp is the only lefty in the ‘pen.