Jerome Williams diagnosed with mild left hamstring strain

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UPDATE: Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register reports that Williams was diagnosed with a mild strain of his left hamstring.

It’s not clear when he’ll resume throwing, but Angels manager Mike Scioscia told Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com earlier today that Williams will still have plenty of time to get ready for the season, as the club won’t need a fifth starter for the first time until April 15 against the Yankees.

Friday, 9:30 PM: Jerome Williams enters spring training as the favorite for the Angels’ fifth starter job after posting a surprising 3.68 ERA and 28/15 K/BB ratio over 44 innings last season during his first stint in the big leagues since 2007. But his grip on an Opening Day roster spot may be in jeopardy after he strained his left hamstring during a defensive drill earlier today.

According to Mark DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times, Williams will likely be sidelined for at least the next few days and is scheduled to be examined by team physician Dr. Lewis Yocum tomorrow.

The Angels can afford to take some chances with Jered Weaver, Dan Haren, C.J. Wilson and Ervin Santana leading their rotation, but Williams is no sure thing to replicate his small sample of success last year. The 30-year-old right-hander likely has a battle on his hands even if he’s healthy, but right-handers Garrett Richards and Trevor Bell and left-hander Brad Mills would move up on the depth chart if he needs to miss significant time.

Pirates set to promote top prospect Mitch Keller

Mitch Keller
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MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo reports that the Pirates will promote top pitching prospect Mitch Keller in advance of their doubleheader against the Reds on Monday. Confirmation of the move is still pending an official announcement, but Keller will reportedly face off against Sonny Gray in Game 2.

Keller, 23, is currently listed as the Pirates’ no. 1 prospect and the no. 16 overall prospect in the league, per MLB.com. He was selected in the second round of the 2014 amateur draft and has spent the last six years refining his technique in Pittsburgh’s farm system, where he recently made the jump to Triple-A Indianapolis in 2018. So far this season, he’s 5-0 in nine starts with a 3.45 ERA, 3.8 BB/9, and 10.7 SO/9 through 47 innings.

It’s not clear how long of a leash the Pirates will give Keller, though given the current state of their rotation — down to four serviceable starters with Jameson Taillon on the 60-day injured list (right elbow flexor strain), Trevor Williams on the 10-day IL (right side strain), and a handful of replacements yet to impress — they may be inclined to keep him on a little longer than his spot start requires.