According to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic, Diamondbacks reliever Brad Ziegler has been cleared to make his Cactus League debut on Wednesday.
Ziegler required microfracture surgery on his right knee last September. That’s no picnic, especially for someone who turned 35 in October. However, the sidearmer’s rehab has gone off without a hitch and the Diamondbacks expect him to be ready for the season.
One of the most consistent and durable relievers in the game, Ziegler posted a 3.49 ERA last season to go along with his usual high ground ball rate and has made at least 64 appearances per season dating back to 2009.
Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports that left-hander Randy Wolf has signed a minor league deal with the Blue Jays. Fletcher got the scoop from Wolf’s brother, umpire Jim Wolf.
After sitting out the 2013 season while rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, Wolf bounced around with four different organizations last season (it was technically five if you count the Mariners in spring training). The 38-year-old made six appearances with the Marlins and posted a 4.57 ERA and 78/35 K/BB ratio over 86 2/3 innings in Triple-A between the Angels, Diamondbacks, and Orioles.
Wolf hasn’t been an effective pitcher in the majors since 2011, so odds are against him doing much, but he’s a depth piece in the wake of Marcus Stroman’s torn ACL.
Good news for the defending American League champion Royals (it’s so much fun to say that), as Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star reports that outfielder Alex Gordon took live batting practice today for the first time since right wrist surgery in January.
Gordon said he felt no discomfort in his wrist, even on a check swing, which is an encouraging sign. He’s expected to play in minor league intrasquad games on Tuesday and Wednesday before potentially making his Cactus League debut. There’s still plenty of time for him to get at-bats before Opening Day.
Gordon, 31, batted .266/.351/.432 with 19 home runs and 74 RBI across 156 games last season and took home his fourth straight Gold Glove Award. This is a big season for him, as his contract with the Royals includes a $12.5 million player option for 2016. He could decline the option and land a lucrative multi-year contract on the open market.
With the news that Zack Wheeler has a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow and is likely facing Tommy John surgery, Mets manager Terry Collins told Matt Ehalt of the Bergen Record this afternoon that Dillon Gee is expected to take his spot in the starting rotation.
“It’s baseball and they know things can happen. We have to pick ourselves up. I think we got the right guy,” Collins said after the Mets lost 4-3 to Boston. “Dillon is a good pitcher. We’re going to ask him to do what he does and that’s give us quality innings.
Gee was a trade candidate for most of the offseason, but the Mets were unable to find the right deal for him and they look pretty fortunate to still have that depth today. This isn’t to say that he’s a great option or even has the upside of Wheeler, but he owns a 3.91 ERA (93 ERA+) in the majors and can do fine in the back of the rotation.
The Mets still have solid (albeit unproven depth) beyond Gee, with prospects Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, and Rafael Montero close to the majors. Some would understandably like to see Syndergaard get a look over Gee out of the gate, but odds are he’ll end up logging significant innings at the big league level this season regardless.
The Indians took a gamble that Gavin Floyd would be healthy this season when they gave him a one-year, $4 million deal over the winter, but they might not get anything from him.
Floyd re-injured the olecranon bone in his elbow last week and Jordan Bastian of MLB.com reports that he will undergo surgery tomorrow. Indians manager Terry Francona expects him “to miss a good portion, if not the whole year.”
The 32-year-old Floyd had a solid run as a mid-rotation starter with the White Sox, compiling a 4.12 ERA from 2008-2012 while making at least 29 starts, but he has been limited to just 14 starts since the start of 2013.
With Floyd now out of the mix, Danny Salazar and T.J. House appear likely to begin the season with rotation spots.