Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon remains out of action with a sprained ligament in his left knee more than a week after what the team initially believed would be a 2-3 day injury.
Rendon suffered the sprained MCL on March 9 while attempting to make a diving play at third base and manager Matt Williams indicated that there’s no timetable yet for his return, telling Bill Ladson of MLB.com:
He has a little sprain in there so we are being cautious, keeping in mind that he is going to need at-bats. You do run out of time eventually.
Even hinting at running out of time before Opening Day arrives certainly suggests a more serious issue. Rendon is hugely important to the Nationals both offensively and defensively, and the team will already be without center fielder Denard Span and left fielder Jayson Werth early on.
Veteran infielder Rafael Furcal, who’s currently rehabbing a torn hamstring suffered while playing winter ball in the Dominican Republic, has signed a minor-league deal with the Royals.
Unlike most veterans inking minor-league deals Furcal did not receive an invitation to big-league camp, although it’s sort of a non-factor because he’s not even healthy enough to play in games yet.
And that’s basically been the story of Furcal’s post-30 career thanks to endless injuries. He appeared in just nine games for the Marlins last year, didn’t play in the majors at all in 2013, and hasn’t topped a .700 OPS since 2010 with the Dodgers.
In other words, he’s a long shot to make it back to the majors at age 37. But for some no-risk depth, the Royals probably figured why not.
Tony Cingrani was very impressive starting games for the Reds as a 23-year-old rookie in 2013, but after an injury wrecked 2014 season the team has decided to shift him to the bullpen this year. And according to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer the left-hander seemed “disappointed and angry” when very briefly discussing the news with reporters.
Cingrani was limited to 63 mostly ineffective innings last year, got demoted to Triple-A, and spent time on the MLB and minor-league disabled lists with shoulder problems.
It’s a shame, because when healthy Cingrani has the raw stuff and off-speed pitches to thrive as a starter, but the Reds are apparently convinced he won’t hold up under the stress of a 30-start workload.
Considering they traded Alfredo Simon and Mat Latos this offseason and Homer Bailey is coming back from flexor tendon surgery they must really think Cingrani is better off in the bullpen. Raisel Iglesias, signed out of Cuba for $27 million last year, now seems to have a strong chance of claiming a spot in the rotation.