After struggling to reach 80 miles per hour with his fastball Wednesday and then undergoing an MRI exam, Angels right-hander Jered Weaver has been diagnosed with what the team is calling nerve tightness in his neck.
Weaver showed a good sense of humor about the whole situation, telling Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com: “The third homer that I watched go out kind of hurt my neck a little bit.”
However, neither Weaver nor the Angels can feel very good about his consistently declining velocity and the lack of a clear-cut reason for his issues.
I just feel like it’s neck tension that is causing me to not be able to throw the ball like I want to. I guess it’s going to kind of help to get a professional doctor to go from there.
Gonzalez reports that Weaver plans to continue throwing and is on track to be ready for the season, but his next start should make the odds of that happening much clearer and there’s no timetable for that.
Weaver had career-worst numbers across the board last season, has lost velocity on an annual basis, and is in the final year of his contract with the Angels, so the 33-year-old three-time All-Star has a lot riding on this season.
Asdrubal Cabrera has been diagnosed with a strained patella tendon in his left knee and will be shut down for at least two weeks, the Mets announced.
Signed to a two-year, $18.5 million deal this offseason to take over as the Mets’ starting shortstop, Cabrera tweaked his knee while running the bases Thursday and flew back to New York to be examined by team doctors.
Nothing is set in stone yet, but Cabrera seems unlikely to be ready for Opening Day and will probably begin the season on the disabled list, which would all but guarantee Ruben Tejada will make the team out of spring training. Tejada and Wilmer Flores will fill in at shortstop for however long Cabrera is sidelined.
Cabrera played 143 games for the Rays last season and hit .265 with 15 homers and a .744 OPS at age 29. He’s played at least 135 games in each of the past five seasons, but has never been in the lineup more than 151 times in a season.
Mark Teixeira had a nice bounce-back season in 2015, making his first All-Star team since 2009 and topping 30 homers for the first time since 2011. He was limited to only 111 games by a broken leg, but the 36-year-old Yankees first baseman felt good enough overall that he’s now talking about playing another 4-5 seasons.
“My body feels so good, why not play until I’m 40?” told Ryan Hatch of the Newark Star Ledger, specifically citing the 500-homer club as his goal. “I think if I play long enough I’ll get there. God willing I’ll play four, five more years and that’d be a nice number.”
Teixeira has 394 career homers through age 35, which is the 38th-most in MLB history at that age. Of course, his production has slowed down significantly in recent years due to injuries and now he’s entering his late-30s where steep declines are common. Hatch notes that fewer than 20 players in MLB history have hit more than 100 homers after turning 36.
Another key factor is that this is Teixeira’s final season under contract with the Yankees, so his days of making $20 million-plus per season will likely be over and he may have to look for a job each offseason based on the previous year’s performance. Veteran, formerly great first basemen have often found the market lacking when that happens, but obviously another 30-homer campaign in 2016 would generate plenty of interest next winter.
Texeira definitely has a shot to reach 500 homers, but getting past the 400-499 range is often really hard for players winding down their careers and he hasn’t played more than 125 games in a season since 2011.