Michael Wacha’s shoulder “feels strong” and “alive, really” after starting throwing program

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Cardinals right-hander Michael Wacha took a big step in his recovery from a stress reaction in his shoulder by starting a throwing program Tuesday after six weeks on the sidelines.

Wacha seemed pleased with how things went, telling Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch:

I don’t feel any pain in the shoulder or anything like that. It definitely feels strong. It feels alive, really.

Of course, so far all he’s done is some light throwing off flat ground and Goold reports that the Cardinals “are targeting his return for mid-September and the club intends to ready him as a starter.” In other words, there are quite a few more hurdles to clear before then.

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Report: Rangers sign Jeff Mathis to two-year deal

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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.