While we’re still a ways off from this being a legitimate concern, Adam Berry of MLB.com reports that Pirates ace Gerrit Cole will be at least temporarily behind schedule in the early part of camp as he deals with some inflammation in his right rib.
Cole said he suffered the injury during his “normal training” in mid-January. The Pirates are understandably taking it easy with him for now, but he’s scheduled to throw from the slope of the mound on Monday and the hope is that he’ll catch up with the rest of the pitchers pretty quickly after that.
Cole, 25, is coming off a dominant season where he posted a 2.60 ERA and 202/44 K/BB ratio over 208 innings. He finished fourth in the National League Cy Young balloting behind Jake Arrieta, Zack Greinke, and Clayton Kershaw.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Angels and reliever Cody Allen are in agreement on a one-year contract, pending a physical. The value of the contract is not yet known.
Allen, 30, was looking for an opportunity to close and the Angels can certainly provide that. He will likely be the favorite to break camp as the closer. 2018 was the roughest year of his career, however, as he finished with a 4.70 ERA, 27 saves, and a 80/33 K/BB ratio in 67 innings. Among Allen’s six full seasons, his 27.7 strikeout rate and 11.4 percent walk rate represented career-worsts. FanGraphs also shows him losing nearly a full MPH on his average fastball velocity.
The Angels lost closer Keynan Middleton to Tommy John surgery early last season and he likely won’t return until the second half of the 2019 season. Blake Parker, who handled save situations in Middleton’s place, was non-tendered by the Angels in November and ended up signing with the Twins. The closer’s role is Allen’s to lose, it seems.