Journeyman infielder/outfielder Ryan Raburn has agreed to a minor-league deal with the Rockies that includes an invitation to spring training. Jon Heyman of MLB Network reports that Raburn will get $1.5 million if he makes the Opening Day roster and can opt out in late March.
Raburn has made a career out of knocking around left-handed pitching in a part-time role, which he did extremely well for the Indians last season while hitting .301 with eight homers and a .936 OPS in 82 games at age 34.
Those numbers are way beyond his career norms, but Raburn has a lifetime .827 OPS versus lefties compared to a .693 OPS versus righties. If used correctly he can be a very solid contributor and will give the Rockies some corner outfield depth with a good chance to make the team given their lefty-heavy outfield.
Orioles left-hander Brian Matusz has been diagnosed with a serratus strain–which is basically a lower back injury–and manager Buck Showalter told reporters that the reliever would be headed to the disabled list if this were the regular season.
Luckily for Matusz the regular season doesn’t begin for a month, although clearly his status for Opening Day is very much in doubt.
After struggling as a starter early in his career Matusz has been a key contributor to the Orioles’ bullpen since making the full-time switch to relief work in 2013, logging 152 innings with a 3.32 ERA and 159/53 K/BB ratio. Eligible for free agency after this season and making $3.9 million, the former No. 4 overall pick had been slated for a middle relief role.
The good news on Orioles outfielder Jimmy Paredes‘ left wrist injury is that X-rays revealed no breaks. The bad news is that Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun says “it’s obvious that Paredes will miss significant time” with what is being called a sprain.
Paredes is currently wearing a cast on the wrist, which he injured Thursday trying to make a sliding catch in right field.
He was already fighting for a roster spot before the injury, so missing extended time could lead to Paredes failing to make the Opening Day roster at age 27. Last season he hit .275 with 10 homers and a .726 OPS in 104 games for the Orioles as a part-time player, but it came with an ugly 111/19 K/BB ratio and Paredes had never topped 200 plate appearances in the majors before.
Left-hander Aaron Loup has been shut down in Blue Jays camp for at least two weeks after an MRI exam showed a flexor strain in his elbow and it sounds like the team is not expecting him to be ready for Opening Day.
When asked about Loup’s odds of beginning the season on the active roster manager John Gibbons told reporters “that would be real tough.” All of which certainly suggests two weeks is a minimum absence rather than a return timetable.
Loup has been a key part of Toronto’s bullpen for the past four seasons, throwing 211 innings with a 3.11 ERA and 176/52 K/BB ratio while shutting down left-handed hitters.
Maicer Izturis, who was in camp with the Blue Jays on a minor-league deal, announced his retirement by saying “my body can’t handle it anymore” after numerous injuries derailed his career.
Izturis played 11 seasons in the majors as a diminutive, switch-hitting infielder with plus speed and good strike zone control, hitting .269 with a .703 OPS in 909 games for the Expos, Angels, and Blue Jays.
He missed most of 2014 and all of 2015 with groin and shoulder injuries, which likely ended up cutting his career short by at least 2-3 seasons.