It remains to be seen how well Mark Trumbo’s attempted transition to third base will fare–he took a ground ball off the face there earlier this week–but in the meantime doctors have deemed his fractured right foot healed enough to resume full baseball activities.
Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times notes that Trumbo “has been taking ground balls hit right at him for about a month, but he will now begin fielding grounders hit to each side and to charge slow rollers and bunts.”
DiGiovanna also says the Angels are only hoping that Trumbo can play 40-50 games at third base, which is certainly more realistic than expecting him to become a decent regular there after previously never playing the position in the minors or majors. Of course, even a part-time role at third base seems likely to be ugly for Trumbo, but as with many of the Angels’ decisions this spring it all stems from their first base/corner outfield/designated hitter logjam.
The Tampa Bay Rays have signed lefty swingman Ryan Merritt to a minor league contract. Nah, it’s not a big signing but we’ll take anything today.
Merritt, who has spent his entire career in the Indians organization, spent the entire 2018 season at Triple-A Columbus. It wasn’t a bad year for him — he posted a 3.79 ERA and a 52/2 K/BB ratio in 13 starts and two relief appearances covering 71.1 innings — but the Tribe just couldn’t find a role for him at the big league level. He has shown in the past, however, that he can hack it in the bigs, having posted a 1.71 ERA in 31.2 innings with the Indians between 2016-2017.
His thing is that he simply doesn’t strike guys out at anything approaching a typical clip for a big leaguer: 3.7 per nine innings in his small sample of major league outings and 6.3 Ks per nine innings in the minors. Which, while it may not prevent him from having success at the big league level, is likely a reason for the limited number of chances he’s been given.
The Rays are probably the best place he could go, frankly. They’ve shown themselves willing to utilize guys in unique ways and are more likely than most teams to find places to spot a lefty control specialist who has shown he can both start and come out of the pen.