Despite being a consistent .300 hitter in the minors Johnny Giavotella never got an extended shot in Kansas City, but the Angels acquired him on the cheap in December and now he’s in line to replace Howie Kendrick as their starting second baseman.
Giavotella is hitting .412 this spring and manager Mike Scioscia told Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times:
He’s getting a chance, and he’s feeling more comfortable on the defensive end. We need someone to step up, and he’s doing a nice job.
Giavotella hit just .238 with a .612 OPS in 125 games for the Royals, but never received as many as 200 plate appearances in a season. He’s still just 27 years old and is a career .315 hitter in 413 games at Triple-A, where he’s drawn 184 walks compared to 192 strikeouts and shown a decent power-speed combo.
Freddie Freeman‘s elbow began barking in the second half of the season and he was a shadow of himself in the month of September. The Braves rested him for half a minute in the season’s final week but he still played 158 games in 2019. They said he was good to go for the NLDS but he was clearly limited, going 4-for-22 in the Braves’ series loss to the Cardinals.
Today the Braves announced that Freeman underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow on Wednesday. The team said today that the procedure involved the removal of three fragmented loose bodies and the cleaning up of multiple bone spur formations.
It’s not clear if more rest down the stretch would’ve made a difference for him — and it’s not clear that the Braves had options at first base for the postseason that were substantially better than even a limited Freeman — but it’s clear that not having Freeman feeling like himself in the heart of the order was a problem.
Freeman is expected to be good-to-go for spring training.