Today the Braves, like a lot of teams, made a series of roster moves in order to shift players around and/or make room on the 40-man roster. One of the moves they announced was their designation of 26-year-old infielder Micah Johnson for assignment.
That, in and of itself, would not really a big deal. Johnson has only played in four big league games this year and has only had four plate appearances. He’s hit well in the minors, but it’s not like he was forcing himself into the Braves future plans. He’s a nice guy, it seems, but baseball is a business and sometimes players get cut.
The only problem? The Braves didn’t actually designate him for assignment, even though they announced that they did. They chalked it up to “internal confusion,” resulting from club officials talking about DFA’ing Johnson but ultimately deciding against it. The confusion led to a bit of awkwardness when Johnson himself learned of the alleged DFA via Twitter:
A few minutes ago the Braves retracted the DFA:
That has to make Johnson feel a bit better. But only a bit, I’d assume. I mean, imagine if your boss said “No, we’re not firing you. We only discussed it so seriously that one person left the room with the impression in his head that we were firing you and said so via a press release.” It certainly wouldn’t make you want to bring in some new knickknacks for your credenza.
The Blue Jays have shut down left fielder Steve Pearce for the remainder of the season following a lingering case of lower back stiffness. Pearce has not appeared in a game since September 8, when he was forced to exit in the first inning after experiencing back pain during his at-bat. Per Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca, he’s scheduled to return to Florida next week, where he’ll receive epidural injections to address the pain.
Pearce, 34, impressed in his first season with Toronto. He battled through a calf injury during the first half of the season and finished the year with a modest .252/.319/.438 batting line, 13 home runs and a .757 OPS through 348 PA. By September, the Blue Jays started testing the waters with outfield prospect Teoscar Hernandez, who shouldered the bulk of the starts in left field after Pearce was sidelined with back issues.
With the Blue Jays all but eliminated from playoff contention, however, there’s no rush to get Pearce back to the outfield. He should be in fine shape to compete for another starting role in spring, and could face stiff competition from Hernandez if the rookie continues building on his .278 average and three home runs this month. The veteran outfielder is slated to receive the remaining $6.25 million on his contract in 2018 and will be eligible for free agency in 2019.
Brewers’ minor league infielder Julio Mendez remains in “critical but stable condition,” club GM David Stearns announced Friday. Back in August, Mendez suffered a cardiac event after he was inadvertently struck by a ball from the Angels’ Austin Krzeminksi during a game between the rookie-level affiliates. The 20-year-old was removed to a Phoenix-area hospital for treatment following the incident and has recently been transferred to a hospital in his native Venezuela.
Mendez was in his fourth season with the Brewers’ organization. He spent the majority of his 2017 run with the rookie-level AZL Brewers, slashing .255/.294/.355 with 10 extra-base hits, 16 RBI and four stolen bases over 119 plate appearances. He currently holds a career .241/.324/.309 batting line, 33 extra bases and a .633 OPS through 668 PA.
Baseball is still on the back burner, however, as Mendez appears to have made little progress nearly a month following the hit by pitch. Thoughts go out to his family during this difficult time.