Cubs prospect Tyler Colvin wins Opening Day job

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In a surprise move, the Cubs have decided to keep 24-year-old outfield prospect Tyler Colvin on the Opening Day roster. Colvin is slated for a bench role, although manager Lou Piniella said that he hopes to find the former first-round pick 2-3 starts per week.
Piniella cited Colvin’s outstanding spring training performance as the reason for making the team, but basing decisions on 20 exhibition games against inconsistent levels of competition is usually a mistake and I’m not sure what the big rush is with Colvin.
He’s been excellent this spring and hit .300 with an .859 OPS in 89 games at Double-A last season, but he had an ugly 57/16 K/BB ratio in the process and before that Colvin struggled so much at Double-A the previous season that the Cubs demoted him back to Single-A.
His plate discipline and strike-zone control have improved, but only from horrendous to merely bad, and Colvin has yet to log a single plate appearance at Triple-A. Why jump him from Double-A to the majors just so he can mostly sit on the bench behind Alfonso Soriano, Marlon Byrd, Kosuke Fukudome, and Xavier Nady? Why not send him to Triple-A, let him prove that his recent success is for real, and call him up when you actually need him?

Masahiro Tanaka to throw off a mound this weekend

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Earlier this month Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka strained both of his hamstrings while running the bases in an interleague game against the Mets and was sent to the 10-day DL. Today it was announced that the beginning of the end of most DL stints for pitchers — throwing off of a mound — is in Tanaka’s immediate future.

Tanaka is scheduled to throw off a mound Sunday, which will be his first real (well, fake real) pitching action since the June 9th injury. Assuming the session goes well, Tanaka is expected to return to the Yankees’ starting rotation sometime in early-to-mid July. With the All-Star break coming the week of July 16, it would not be hard to imagine the Yankees giving him a few extra days to get right.

Tanaka is 7-2 with a 4.58 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 73/19 in 72.2 innings on the season.