Javier Vazquez’s comeback, which was going to include pitching for Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic, is over before it started.
Last month Vazquez underwent what was said to be a minor knee surgery to repair meniscus damage, but Ruben Rodriguez of El Nuevo Dia in Puerto Rico reports that he will not pitch in the WBC. And according to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com that means Vazquez “will not pitch in MLB this year.”
Vazquez would have had to pitch well (and prove he was healthy) in the WBC to draw significant interest from MLB teams anyway, so the knee problems sabotaged all of that for the 36-year-old.
The Rangers have signed catcher Jeff Mathis to a two-year contract, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. The deal is pending a physical.
Mathis turns 36 years old at the end of March and has a career .564 OPS across 14 seasons, but he is well-regarded for his defense and ability to handle a pitching staff.
The arrival of Mathis could mean the Rangers are moving on from Robinson Chirinos behind the plate, as he is now a free agent. The Rangers could go after another catcher to complement Mathis or just have Isiah Kiner-Falefa back up Mathis. Though Kiner-Falefa mostly played elsewhere, including three spots across the infield, he did rack up over 300 defensive innings behind the plate in 2018.