Danny Hultzen just can’t stay healthy.
Now trying to resurrect his career as a reliever after injuries repeatedly kept the former No. 2 overall pick from living up to his potential with the Mariners, the left-hander had shoulder soreness Saturday.
Mariners manager Scott Servais told Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune that Hultzen is “in a holding pattern right now” and an unnamed team official described his status as “not good.”
Hultzen ranked among Baseball America’s top 30 prospects in 2012 and 2013, but he’s thrown a grand total of just eight innings since 2014 and has yet to reach the majors at age 26.
A’s right-hander Henderson Alvarez took a big step Tuesday in his recovery from July shoulder surgery, throwing a 25-pitch bullpen session without experiencing any issues.
A’s manager Bob Melvin told Jane Lee of MLB.com that “it’s all fastballs right now, but we like what we’re seeing” from Alvarez, who spent 2013-2015 with the Marlins and was an All-Star in 2014.
Lee writes that the current plan for Alvarez’s recovery is to be pitching in minor-league games by April and, if things go well there, to come off the disabled list and join the A’s rotation some time in May.
Alvarez was non-tendered by the Marlins and his one-year deal with the A’s makes it clear that they expect him to have a significant impact this season, because it’s worth $4.25 million in upfront money and the contract doesn’t include a team option for 2017. They’re betting on Alvarez this year.
Jhonny Peralta‘s torn thumb ligament means the Cardinals are in need of a new starting shortstop for at least the first month of the season and possibly much longer. Jedd Gyorko going from utility man to starter is an obvious possibility, but don’t count out 25-year-old prospect Aledmys Diaz getting the job.
Diaz went 4-for-4 with two doubles today against the Twins and afterward manager Mike Matheny sure seemed impressed. When asked by Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com if it was worth putting a lot of stock in Diaz’s performance, Matheny replied: “Why wouldn’t you? You have young player who plays the position and had a great game.”
Diaz spent last season between Double-A and Triple-A, hitting .278 with 13 homers and a .784 OPS in 116 games. Those are certainly solid overall numbers for a 24-year-old shortstop and within that production Diaz had a huge stretch run in which he hit .376 in August and September.
A few more big games and he might convince Matheny and company to leave Gyorko in a bench role.