Author: D.J. Short

Josh Reddick Getty

Josh Reddick might not be ready for the start of the season


Athletics outfielder Josh Reddick was scratched from yesterday’s lineup with a right oblique strain and the injury could keep him sidelined for the start of the season.

Joe Stiglich of reports that Reddick will be shut down from baseball activities for the next two weeks. That doesn’t give him much time to get ready for the season and Athletics manager Bob Melvin acknowledged this morning that he might not be ready for Opening Day.

Interestingly, Melvin told Jane Lee of that Ike Davis could get some playing time in right field with Reddick sidelined. Davis was acquired from the Pirates in November and currently projects to be Oakland’s primary first baseman against right-handers. The 27-year-old made two appearances in right field in Double-A back in 2009, but otherwise he has exclusively played first base in pro ball.

Reddick, 28, batted .264/.316/.446 with 12 home runs and 54 RBI across 109 games last season.

Masahiro Tanaka throws simulated game, next step could be Grapefruit League debut

Masahiro Tanaka AP
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Whether Masahiro Tanaka’s elbow will hold up this season is anyone’s guess, but so far the news is positive out of Yankees camp.

According to Chad Jennings of the Journal News, Tanaka threw two innings today in a simulated game while facing Yankees prospects Cole Figueroa and Gary Sanchez. Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild was impressed with the outing and said that he’s “exactly where you want him to be at this point in spring training.” While nothing is official, he appears on track to make his Grapefruit League debut next Thursday.

“It’s good to see him get out there and be able to go through all his pitches and have a good day of work and feel good after,” Rothschild said. “If things progress the way they are, I’m very confident he’ll be ready (by Opening Day).”

Tanaka was diagnosed with a partially-torn ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow last July, but he opted for rehab over Tommy John surgery and made two starts down the stretch. He’s altering his mechanics to protect the elbow, but the Yankees will have to cross their fingers that he can stay healthy. It’s hard to imagine them contending without him.

Tanaka, 26, had a 2.77 ERA with a 141/21 K/BB ratio over 136 1/3 innings in his first season with the Yankees.

Royals sign right-hander Chris Young to a one-year contract

chris young getty

The Royals added some rotation depth Saturday by signing right-hander Chris Young to a one-year contract. Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star reports that Young will receive a $675,000 base salary with $5.325 in possible incentives. Pretty interesting deal.

Young didn’t pitch at all in the majors in 2013 and required thoracic outlet surgery, but he posted a 3.65 ERA and 108/60 K/BB ratio over 165 innings with the Mariners last season and won the American League Comeback Player of the Year Award. Still, the market for him was very quiet this winter. It’s understandable, as Young has a long injury history, gives up a ton of home runs and fly balls, and his peripherals weren’t very impressive last season.

It’s hard to see where Young fits with the Royals right now, as they already project to have Yordano Ventura, Jason Vargas, Edinson Volquez, Danny Duffy, and Jeremy Guthrie lined up to begin the year in the starting rotation. He offers insurance at the very least. And the Royals, with their outstanding outfield defense, at least fit his fly ball tendencies.

In order to make room for Young on the 40-man roster, the Royals transferred right-hander Kris Medlen on the 60-day disabled list as he makes his way back from Tommy John surgery.

Yunel Escobar shut down for 7-10 days with Grade 1 oblique strain

Yunel Escobar Getty

Yunel Escobar is expected to be the Nationals’ regular second baseman this season, but he’ll now be a bit behind in preparation for Opening Day. Mark Zuckerman of reports that Escobar has been diagnosed with a Grade 1 strain of his left oblique.

Escobar, who was acquired from the Athletics over the winter, will be shut down for the next 7-10 days. Oblique injuries are notoriously tricky, but Nationals manager Matt Williams believes the injury is relatively minor and that he’ll still have enough time to get ready for the start of the season.

“He’s an athlete, and he’ll be fine doing it,” Williams said. “From what we have seen thus far, he’s able to handle everything. Does it put him behind the 8-ball a little bit? Sure. He doesn’t get a chance to work with those guys as much as he ordinarily would. But if he’s 7-10 days down, he’s still going to have a couple weeks of games in spring to get prepared. He’ll be fine.”

Escobar, 32, batted .258/.324/.340 with seven home runs and 39 RBI over 137 games with the Rays last season. He has primarily played shortstop in his career, but he’s making the move to second base with Washington.

Yu Darvish diagnosed with sprain of UCL in elbow, could need Tommy John surgery

Yu Darvish AP

Awful news here for the Rangers and baseball fans in general, as Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports that Yu Darvish has been diagnosed with a sprain of the ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow. He’ll be further evaluated, but the belief is that he could need season-ending Tommy John surgery.

Darvish was shut down early last season due to right elbow inflammation and left his first start of the spring this week due to what was termed as tightness in his right triceps. The Rangers downplayed the severity of the situation, but now he’s facing the worst-case scenario.

Here’s Darvish’s reaction to the bad news, via Grant:

While Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka is trying to pitch through his UCL injury, there aren’t many success stories with pitchers opting for rehab over Tommy John surgery. If Darvish tries to rehab the injury and ultimately needs the surgery, he could be at risk for missing 2015 and 2016, so there’s a lot on the line with this decision. The Rangers had no luck on the health front last year and with Darvish and Jurickson Profar, they are off to a pretty rotten start already in 2015.

Darvish, 28, has compiled a 3.27 ERA with 11.2 K/9 in 83 starts over his first three seasons in the majors.