On the disabled list all season with a strained left shoulder, shortstop J.J. Hardy is back on the Orioles’ active roster and will make his 2015 debut tonight against the Yankees.
Hardy went on a brief minor-league rehab assignment before being activated and returns after missing a total of 25 games, during which time Everth Cabrera filled in as the Orioles’ primary shortstop and the team went 12-13.
Hardy, who signed a three-year, $40 million contract extension is October to bypass free agency at age 31 and remain in Baltimore, has hit .259 with 86 homers and a .720 OPS in 587 games since joining the Orioles in 2011. He’s also won three Gold Glove awards during that time.
Left-hander Kevin Matthews, the Rangers’ first-round draft pick in 2011, was charged with one misdemeanor count of driving while impaired on Wednesday morning and today the team released him.
Matthews had been pitching at Single-A in his fourth pro season and had already lost whatever prospect status he had due to injuries and poor performances.
Drafted 33rd overall, he has a 4.56 ERA with 124 strikeouts and 110 walks in 132 pro innings.
Released by the Marlins earlier this week, switch-hitting catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia has signed a minor-league contract with the Diamondbacks.
Arizona’s need for catching help has been apparent for a long time now and taking a low-risk flier on Saltamacchia makes sense. His defense has always been shaky and he hit poorly in one-plus season in Miami, but as recently as 2013 he was one of the better-hitting catchers in baseball for the Red Sox.
In fact, from 2011-2013 he hit .244 with a .763 OPS for the Red Sox, including 55 homers in 345 games. It wouldn’t take a whole lot for Saltalamacchia to be an upgrade over the Diamondbacks’ current catching situation and at age 30 he seems like a decent bounceback candidate.
Miami, which signed Saltalamacchia to a three-year, $21 million contract last season, ate about $15 million in salary by cutting him loose to turn the catcher position over to rookie J.T. Realmuto.