Gil Meche, who was limited to just 23 starts last season due to a lower back injury and shoulder fatigue, left Monday’s start against the White Sox after three innings due to a stiff right shoulder.
Meche did his best to downplay the situation after the game, but what he told Dick Kaegel of MLB.com didn’t sound particularly optimistic:
“They checked me out, the shoulder’s strong but the tightness is there. I
don’t feel real strong when I’m pitching,” he said.
“So I just kept working through it and after the third inning, it was
like well, I’ve had enough. I didn’t want to keep going, I felt like I
was getting stiffer in a way, I’m not throwing any good pitches. Just
take it easy on this one and then see what happens my next one.”
Meche, 31, was 6-10 with a 5.09 ERA and 1.57 WHIP last season. Signed to a five-year, $55 million contract in December of 2006, he is set to earn $24 million over the next two seasons.
The Orioles have inked shortstop Alcides Escobar to a minor league contract, MLB.com’s Joe Trezza reported Saturday. The deal comes with an invitation to spring training and will allow Escobar to earn $700,000 in the majors if he breaks camp with the team (via Jon Heyman of MLB Network). The team has yet to formally announce the agreement.
Escobar, 32, completed an eight-year run with the Royals in 2018. No longer the .280-average, 3.0-fWAR player of seasons past, he hit several career lows after batting .231/.279/.313 with four home runs, eight stolen bases (in 10 chances), and a .593 OPS through 531 plate appearances last year. His defensive ratings also took a hit, and FanGraphs pegged him as the fourth-worst shortstop in the majors after he accumulated -12 DRS over the course of the season, only slightly higher than the Orioles/Dodgers’ Manny Machado, Mets’ Amed Rosario, and Red Sox’ Xander Bogaerts.
Still, Heyman holds that Escobar is being considered for the starting gig this spring and could yet prove an upgrade over top prospects and infield candidates Richie Martin and Drew Jackson. At the very least, the veteran shortstop figures to stabilize the position given Martin and Jackson’s relative inexperience, as both infielders played to varying results in Double-A Tulsa last year and have yet to break into the majors. Should either player earn consideration for the position in camp, however, Escobar might still work his way onto the Opening Day roster in a utility role as he saw some time at third base, second base, and center field in 2018.