As expected, the Rangers have activated left-hander Matt Harrison from the disabled list for Sunday’s series finale in Seattle against the host Mariners. Harrison will be making his first start since April 2013 as Texas tries to grab two of three at Safeco Field.
The 28-year-old wound up missing a full 12 months due to back and right shoulder injuries, but he was an All-Star and drew American League Cy Young Award votes in 2012 when he posted a 3.29 ERA (133 ERA+) in 213 1/3 innings. So the hope is he’ll be a big addition now that his health has returned.
The Rangers should also get lefty starter Derek Holland (microfracture knee surgery) back in a month or so. He threw live batting practice Saturday for the first time since his January microfracture knee surgery and was able to perform some fielding drills. Texas enters play Sunday with a 15-9 record.
The Cincinnati Reds have signed outfielder Nicholas Castellanos to a four-year deal worth $64 million. The contract includes opt-outs after both 2020 and 2021, which is certainly good for Castellanos, allowing him to go back out on the market if he has a big year. Odd that the Reds would agree to that, but on an annual basis it’s kind of a bargain for them so you figure that has something to do with it.
With Castellanos in the fold the Reds are going to have a lot of outfielders when they hit Goodyear, Arizona in a couple of weeks, with newcomer Shogo Akiyama, Jesse Winkler, Nick Senzel, Aristides Aquino, Travis Jankowski, Scott Schebler, and Rule 5 draftee Mark Payton already on the roster. Senzel was an infielder before last year, of course, so he could move back to the dirt, perhaps taking over short from Freddy Galvis, who could be dealt. Alternatively, the Reds could trade from their newfound outfield surplus.
Castellanos, however, will have left field to himself. While he’s shaky at best with the glove, he had a breakout year at the plate in 2019, hitting .289/.337/.525 overall (OPS+ 121), but slugging at a blistering .321/.356/.646 pace (OPS+ 151) after being traded from the Tigers to the Cubs. In Chicago — rescued from cavernous Comerica Park — his big doubles power turned into big homer power.
Now that he’ll be playing in hitter-friendly Great American Ballpark one can only imagine the damage he’d do.