There aren’t any changes in the American League All-Star balloting from last week, but tonight’s update shows that there are still a few positions up for grabs.
The most high-profile one is at shortstop, where Derek Jeter holds a slim lead over Alexei Ramirez. Ramirez obviously has a strong case based on his half-season stats — he’s having a wonderful year — but Jeter still figures to pull away in his final season. It’s just taking a little longer than you’d expect.
Jose Bautista, the AL’s leading vote-getter, and Mike Trout are in fine position to start in the outfield, but the third spot is still wide open. Melky Cabrera leads the way while Yoenis Cespedes, Adam Jones, and Jacoby Ellsbury aren’t too far behind. Second base and the DH spot are also still pretty competitive.
It’s worth noting that Matt Wieters, who will undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery tomorrow, still has the lead at the catcher position. Brian McCann ranks second and Derek Norris is in third. Check out the full update below:
MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosh reports that the Cardinals are shutting down pitcher Carlos Martínez from throwing for two weeks because his shoulder strength isn’t where it should have been at this point. Langosch added that an MRI showed no structural damage in Martínez’s right shoulder.
Interestingly, president of baseball operations John Mozeliak didn’t sound too happy with Martínez offseason training regimen. Per Mark Saxon of The Athletic, Mozeliak said, “Obviously, there’s a history with Carlos’ shoulder and it would be probably in everybody’s best interest if he maintained a constant or perpetual approach to that program.”
Martínez, 27, battled oblique and shoulder injuries last year. He accrued just 118 2/3 innings, making just 18 starts. He was moved to the bullpen when he returned from the disabled list in August and finished out the season in that role. Still, Martínez managed a 3.11 ERA with 117 strikeouts and 60 walks.
Langosch reported last week that the Cardinals were considering using Martínez in relief again in 2019. The latest news may push the Cardinals to indeed use Martínez out of the bullpen once again. He will be reevaluated in early March, but there is a chance he won’t be ready for Opening Day.