Anderson Espinoza to undergo Tommy John surgery

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Padres’ top pitching prospect Anderson Espinoza is set to undergo Tommy John surgery, the team confirmed Friday. Espinoza was diagnosed with forearm tightness in early April and had only been throwing for a month before he was shut down again with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. Per’s AJ Cassavell, Dr. Keith Meister will perform the surgery in Dallas sometime over the next week, though the club has yet to announce a specific date.

Espinoza, 19, was acquired by the Padres last July in a controversial trade for left-hander Drew Pomeranz. He entered the 2017 season ranked No. 1 in the Padres’ system (by Baseball America; Baseball Prospectus has him at No. 2 and has him at No. 6) and was projected to be an eventual front-end starter for the club. While his timetable has been considerably pushed back, he showed promise after advancing to Single-A Fort Wayne in 2016, delivering a 4.38 ERA, 3.2 BB/9 and 8.5 SO/9 over 76 innings.

Without Espinoza, at least for the next year (or more), the Padres still have a deep pool of pitching prospects to draw from. ranks left-hander Mackenzie Gore and right-hander Cal Quantrill in the No. 1 and 2 spots, respectively, and Bill Center points out that Quantrill has made a successful, if limited return after undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2015. Right-hander Michel Baez and southpaws Adrian Morejon, Eric Lauer and Joey Lucchesi comprise the rest of the pitchers in the Padres’ top 10 prospect list, though few share Espinoza’s high ceiling.

Orioles option LHP Bruce Zimmermann to minors

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SARASOTA, Fla. – The Baltimore Orioles have optioned left-handers Bruce Zimmermann and Nick Vespi and reassigned infielder Lewin Díaz, left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez and catcher Mark Kolozsvary to minor league camp.

The Orioles announced the moves Monday.

Baltimore’s spring training roster now has 46 players.

Zimmermann made 13 starts last season. He went 2-5 with a 5.99 ERA.

The competition for rotation spots with the Orioles has been a significant story during spring training, but after the team acquired Cole Irvin and Kyle Gibson in the offseason – and with top prospect Grayson Rodriguez in the mix as well – there were a lot of pitchers Zimmermann needed to beat out.