Max Stassi was slated to take over as the Astros’ backup catcher following the offseason trade of Hank Conger, but the 25-year-old prospect is now out for at least six weeks after surgery to repair a fractured hamate bone in his left wrist.
Stassi has had brief stints with the Astros in each of the past three seasons, spending most of that time at Double-A and Triple-A putting up underwhelming numbers offensively. However, he’s shown 15-homer power and Houston still likes his long-term potential to develop further at the plate.
Jason Castro is entrenched as the Astros’ primary catcher, so without Stassi they figure to turn to Alfredo Gonzalez, Roberto Pena, or Tyler Heineman as the temporary understudy.
Victor Martinez (and his many knee injuries) gave Tigers fans a scare when he exited today’s game clutching his left leg while running the bases, but the 38-year-old designated hitter has been diagnosed with a strained hamstring.
While not exactly good news that qualifies as positive news in that hamstring injuries heal in weeks rather than months and Martinez’s surgically repaired knee remains intact.
For now the Tigers are calling it a mild strain, but given Martinez’s age and overall health they figure to be pretty conservative with his recovery timetable even if things go well.
After a career-best 2014 season that saw him finish runner-up in the MVP voting and get a new four-year, $68 million contract Martinez struggled mightily last year, hitting .245 with 11 homers and a career-worst .667 OPS while dealing with knee problems throughout.
Angels left-hander C.J. Wilson had a setback in his recovery from offseason elbow surgery and early spring shoulder problems, with Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reporting that “his status for the first month or two of the regular season [is] in question.”
DiGiovanna writes that Wilson had issues following a bullpen session Saturday and “will be relegated to playing catch” for the foreseeable future. He’ll definitely begin the season on the disabled list and hasn’t even advanced to facing a live hitter yet, so the recovery process is going to take a while.
Wilson is making $20 million this season in the final year of a $70 million contract and with right-hander Jered Weaver also sidelined by health problems the Angels’ rotation is looking very shaky right now. Wilson posted a 3.87 ERA in his first four seasons with the Angels, including a 3.89 ERA in 132 innings last year.
UPDATE: An MRI exam showed no structural damage in Wieters’ surgically repaired elbow, so the Orioles will hope a little time off does the trick.
Uh oh. Matt Wieters‘ elbow soreness has lingered long enough that the Orioles sent him to undergo an MRI exam, with Richard Justice of MLB.com reporting that the three-time All-Star catcher has already been told “a period of rest” is needed at the very least.
Elbow problems are worrisome for any catcher, but particularly with Wieters because he missed most of 2014 and a big chunk of 2015 following Tommy John surgery.
Wieters also bypassed the potential for multi-year offers as a free agent to return to the Orioles via the one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer, clearly hoping that a healthy, productive 2016 season would lead to an even bigger payday next offseason.
In other words, both Wieters and the Orioles have a lot riding on the results of his MRI exam.
Making official what was assumed, Rays manager Kevin Cash announced that right-hander Chris Archer will start Opening Day for the second straight season.
Archer was an All-Star for the first time last season, throwing 212 innings with a 3.23 ERA and 252/66 K/BB ratio. Through age 26 his career ERA is 3.33 and he’s whiffed 562 batters in 565 innings.
Not bad for a pitcher who was traded from the Indians to the Cubs for Mark DeRosa and from the Cubs to the Rays for Matt Garza. And thanks to a long-term contract signed in April of 2014 he’s under the Rays’ control through 2021, when he’ll be 32 years old.