Author: D.J. Short

Washington Nationals Photo Day

Jayson Werth could join Nationals within first week of regular season


The Nationals have had all sorts of injury issues this spring, but here’s a bit of good news for a change.

Jayson Werth continues to make solid progress from January surgery to repair the AC joint in his right shoulder, as Mark Zuckerman of reports that he played five innings in left field yesterday in a minor league game and got four at-bats. He will begin the season on the disabled list, but the belief is that he could be ready to join the Nationals within a week.

That’s welcome news for a lineup which will also be without Denard Span and Anthony Rendon to begin the year. We could see Michael Taylor and Tyler Moore in the outfield and Dan Uggla at second base on Opening Day against the Mets on Monday.

Johnny Giavotella officially wins starting second base job with Angels

Johnny Giavotella Getty

The Angels made a host of moves after their game last night, which made it official that former Royals prospect Johnny Giavotella has secured the team’s starting second base job.

Josh Rutledge entered spring training as the frontrunner after coming over from the Rockies this offseason, but he batted just .192 (10-for-52) this spring and will begin the regular season in Triple-A. Prospect left-hander Andrew Heaney, who was acquired from the Dodgers for Howie Kendrick this winter, was also sent down after Friday’s game.

The 27-year-old Giavotella was acquired from the Royals for right-hander Brian Broderick in December and owns a .238/.277/.334 batting line over 465 plate appearances in the majors. That doesn’t inspire a ton of confidence, but his playing time was sporadic with Kansas City and the Angels are clearly hoping that his solid minor league numbers will finally translate. He’s hitting .315/.373/.537 with one home run, five doubles, and two triples across 57 plate appearances this spring.

VIDEO: Russell Martin returns home to Montreal, gets standing ovation in Olympic Stadium

Russell Martin

The Blue Jays and Reds played an exhibition game last night at Olympic Stadium in Montreal. It turned out to be a special night for new Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin, who spent part of his childhood in the city and used to go to Expos games at the Big O growing up.

Check out the ovation Martin received before his first at-bat last night:

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that Russell Martin’s father, Russell Martin, Sr. played “The Star Spangled Banner” and “O Canada” on the saxophone before the game. You can see the pride beaming from Martin’s face as he watches his dad play. Pretty damn cool.

Royals and Yordano Ventura agree to five-year extension

Yordano Ventura AP

UPDATE: CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that the deal is done, pending a physical. It’s for $23 million guaranteed.

10:35 a.m. ET: Jeffrey Flanagan of reports that it will be a five-year deal with two club options. It will begin this season, so the Royals would buy out all of Ventura’s arbitration seasons while the options would cover his first two years of free agency. The guarantee is expected to be around $22 million, per Passan.

8:55 a.m. ET: According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, the Royals and right-hander Yordano Ventura are in “deep discussions” on a five-year extension which includes an option for a sixth year. The deal would guarantee him north of $20 million.

Ventura is coming off a 3.20 ERA and 159/69 K/BB ratio over 183 innings as a rookie last season. One of the hardest throwers in the majors, the 23-year-old has already had some health concerns, but it appears that he’s just scratching the surface with his potential. The Royals have a knack for getting team-friendly deals done and this would be quite a coup.

Passan compares this deal to Braves right-hander Julio Teheran, who signed a six-year, $32.4 million extension last February with the same amount of service time. Chris Archer, who signed a six-year, $25 million extension with the Rays last April, is another prominent example. Ventura is under team control through 2019, so if the extension kicks in this year, it would cover all of his arbitration seasons and one year of free agency.

Yasiel Puig exits game after colliding with Howie Kendrick

yasiel puig getty

UPDATE: According to Alanna Rizzo of SportsNet LA, Puig was hit in the neck/throat area and left as a precaution. He’s expected to be fine.

11:44 p.m. ET: Scary moment in Thursday’s exhibition game between the Dodgers and Angels, as Yasiel Puig was forced to exit in the top of the fifth inning after colliding with teammate Howie Kendrick.

Both players were going after a pop-up in shallow right field and Puig appeared to take an elbow/forearm to the face from Kendrick as they crossed paths. Puig was down for a couple of minutes before walking off the field with a trainer. Chris Heisey replaced him in right field.

Hopefully his exit was precautionary, but we’ll pass along an update when it’s made available.

Here’s video of the collision between Puig and Kendrick: