Brad Miller is struggling to throw the ball

Will Vragovic/The Tampa Bay Times via AP

Rays shortstop Brad Miller has had a shaky start to spring training, at least defensively, as he’s struggling to throw the ball accurately. That is creating a lot of questions for the Rays to answer, as Marc Topkin noted for the Tampa Bay Times on Saturday.

Miller has three errors, tied for the second-most this spring. He’s one of six defenders with at least three errors and he has the second-fewest defensive innings of the bunch. It’s the continuation of a trend, as he has 21 throwing errors since the start of the 2013 season, one of only eight shortstops with at least that many, and he has by far the fewest defensive innings (2,235 1/3) among those eight.

What could the Rays do about this? They could platoon Miller with Tim Beckham. Nick Franklin could get the starting shortstop job rather than start the season with Triple-A Durham. Minor leaguers Taylor Motter or Daniel Robertson could get a look. James Loney could get more playing time at first base. The Rays could also trade Desmond Jennings or Brandon Guyer, then move Corey Dickerson to the outfield, which would allow Morrison and Steve Pearce to DH more often while Loney could play the field to help mitigate Miller’s inaccuracy.

The Rays acquired Miller along with Morrison and Danny Farquhar from the Mariners last November in exchange for Nate Karns, C.J. Riefenhauser, and minor leaguer Boog Powell. Miller was once a top prospect in the Mariners’ system but has thus far failed to live up to expectations.

Padres claim 2-time All-Star catcher Gary Sánchez off waivers from Mets

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

SAN DIEGO — The scuffling San Diego Padres claimed catcher Gary Sánchez off waivers from the New York Mets.

The two-time All-Star was designated for assignment after playing in three games for the Mets. He went 1 for 6 with three strikeouts and an RBI, looking shaky at times behind the plate.

With the disappointing Padres (24-29) getting meager offensive production at catcher, they hope Sánchez can provide a boost. Austin Nola is batting .131 with three extra-base hits and a paltry .434 OPS in 39 games. His part-time platoon partner, second-stringer Brett Sullivan, is hitting .170 with four extra-base hits and a .482 OPS in 21 games since getting called up from the minors April 16.

Luis Campusano has been on the injured list since April 17 and is expected to be sidelined until around the All-Star break following left thumb surgery.

San Diego is responsible for just over $1 million in salary for Sánchez after assuming his $1.5 million, one-year contract.

The star-studded Padres have lost seven of 11 and are 3-3 on a nine-game East Coast trip. They open a three-game series at Miami.

San Diego becomes the third National League team to take a close look at the 30-year-old Sánchez this season. He spent time in the minors with San Francisco before getting released May 2 and signing a minor league contract a week later with the Mets, who were minus a couple of injured catchers at the time.

After hitting well in a short stint at Triple-A Syracuse, he was promoted to the big leagues May 19. When the Mets reinstated catcher Tomás Nido from the injured list last week, Sánchez was cut.

Sánchez’s best seasons came early in his career with the New York Yankees, where he was runner-up in 2016 AL Rookie of the Year voting and made the AL All-Star team in 2017 and 2019.

He was traded to Minnesota before the 2022 season and batted .205 with 16 homers and 61 RBIs in 128 games last year.

With the Padres, Sánchez could also be a candidate for at-bats at designated hitter, where 42-year-old Nelson Cruz is batting .245 with three homers, 16 RBIs and a .670 OPS, and 37-year-old Matt Carpenter is hitting .174 with four homers, 21 RBIs and a .652 OPS.