Craig Calcaterra

Marlon Byrd

The Indians sign Marlon Byrd

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Ken Rosenthal reports that the Cleveland Indians have signed Marlon Byrd to a minor league contract.

The Indians could use the outfield depth given the PED suspension of Abraham Almonte and Michael Brantley‘s continuing recovery from shoulder surgery. Byrd is cheap depth.

Though 38, Byrd still hit 23 homers last year. That’s about all he can do anymore as his average and on-base percentage have declined and his strikeouts have increased, but power is not nothing and he could be the right-handed half of a platoon, as he hit .271/.324/.496 against southpaws last season.

Johan Santana is still working on a comeback

FILE - In this file photo taken Aug. 11, 2012, New York Mets' Johan Santana pitches in baseball game in New York. The two-time AL Cy Young Award winner has agreed to a minor league contract with the Baltimore Orioles, in a deal announced Tuesday, March 4, 2014,  as he tries to come back from the second major operation on his left shoulder.  (AP Photos/Henny Ray Abrams, file)
Associated Press

Johan Santana hasn’t pitched in the majors since August 17, 2012, but he’s still working on a comeback. Jon Heyman reports Johan Santana is in the early stages of a throwing program and that he could be ready to pitch in a game by midseason.

Santana underwent shoulder surgery in April of 2013. Then he was trying to come back with the Orioles in 2014 before suffering a season-ending Achilles tear. He signed a minor league deal with the Blue Jays this February 2015 after a brief stint in the Venezuelan Winter League, but he ended his comeback bid in June after a toe infection slowed his throwing program. The guy has just been snakebitten.

Could he pitch again? I wouldn’t bet a lot on it. But he does throw with his left arm and he certainly hasn’t forgotten what he knew back when he won two Cy Young Awards, so I wouldn’t bet it all against him either.

Matt Harvey will be the Mets’ Opening Day starter

Matt Harvey

The New York Mets announced today that Matt Harvey will be the Opening Day starter. Jacob deGrom will probably be number two, but the Mets are holding off on making that official.

The fun part of Harvey getting his first Opening Day start is that it will come against the Royals on national TV, just as his last game was against the Royals on national TV. That was Game 5 of the World Series, of course, in which Harvey pitched wonderfully before lobbying to come back out for the ninth inning. At that point he gave up two runs, the game went to extra innings and the Royals prevailed, winning the championship.

There will be a lot of talk during that broadcast about Game 5. At least until Harvey is taken out after the sixth or so because, dudes, it’s April 3rd and there’s a lot of baseball to be played.