MLB Player News

  • J.T. Brubaker SP | PIT

    Pirates' JT Brubaker: Looking to land in rotation

    Brubaker is expected to battle for the team's fifth rotation spot, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

    He made nine starts and two relief appearances in his major-league debut last summer, compiling a 4.94 ERA (4.14 xFIP) and 1.37 WHIP in 47.1 innings. Brubaker features an effective slider, but the shape of his curve ball is often too similar. The organization's 2018 Minor League Pitcher of the Year missed nearly all of 2019 with a strained forearm, but he's healthy for the second straight year. The 27-year-old likely has an inside shot at the final rotation spot due to glimpses of effectiveness in 2020, but he will be challenged by the likes of Cody Ponce and Wil Crowe.

  • Paul Blackburn SP | OAK

    Athletics' Paul Blackburn: Remains with organization

    Blackburn cleared waivers Saturday and will remain in camp as a non-roster invitee, Martin Gallegos of MLB.com reports.

    Blackburn and his 5.69 career ERA were unsurprisingly not a hot commodity on waivers. He'll remain in an organizational depth role for Oakland going forward.

  • Tigers' Spencer Torkelson: Doing drills at first

    Torkelson (finger) has been taking groundballs at first base the past few days at camp, Jason Beck of MLB.com reports.

    Manager A.J. Hinch previously said Torkelson will focus exclusively on third base during spring training, but the 21-year-old isn't throwing right now due to his finger injury, so it appears the work at first is more by necessity. Torkelson won't play in Sunday's Grapefruit League opener against the Phillies, though the team has described his injury as "very mild," so he should see game action soon.

  • Julio Teheran SP | DET

    Tigers' Julio Teheran: Virus impacted mechanics

    Teheran said he didn't have his usual arm or leg strength after contracting COVID-19 last summer, and that impacted his mechanics during the season, Chris McCosky of The Detroit News reports.

    Teheran posted an atrocious 10.05 ERA in 31.1 innings with the Angels, so it's clear he was never quite right after his COVID-19 diagnosis. He ended up signing a minor-league contract with the Tigers earlier this month, but he could earn a rotation spot if he's back to full strength. The righty posted a much better 3.64 ERA on average while with Atlanta from 2013 through 2019.

  • Robel Garcia 2B | HOU

    Astros' Robel Garcia: Claimed by Astros

    Garcia was claimed off waivers by the Astros on Saturday.

    Garcia finds himself on his fourth team of the offseason, having previously been a Red, a Met and an Angel. He returned from playing in Italy to flash a bit of promise in a short stint with the Cubs in 2019, hitting five homers in 31 games, but he also struck out in 43.8 percent of his plate appearances. He didn't get any big-league action in 2020 and is unlikely to contribute much this season unless he solves the whiff issues.

  • Javier Baez SS | CHC

    Cubs' Javier Baez: Wants to stay in Chicago

    Baez, who could become a free agent after the 2021 season, said he is open to a contract extension during spring training, Jordan Bastian of MLB.com reports.

    Coming off of a subpar 2020 performance, Baez and the Cubs avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $11.65 million contract in January. However, the 28-year-old said "I don't want to play for another team," and noted he is open to extension talks during spring training. The Cubs have decisions to make on a number of core players, including Baez, Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Willson Contreras, and it's possible they go for a rebuild and let some of those pieces move on. Either way, Baez will be looking to restore his value with a bounceback 2021 campaign.

  • Astros' Justin Verlander: Moved to 60-day injured list

    Verlander (elbow) was placed on the 60-day injured list Saturday, Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle reports.

    Verlander's shift to the 60-day injured list is simply procedural, as the 38-year-old is expected to miss the entire 2021 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery in early October. His removal from the 40-man roster will clear room for Robel Garcia, who was claimed off waivers in a corresponding move. Although Verlander is slated to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2021 campaign, he's expressed interest in continuing his career when he's healthy.

  • Joc Pederson CF | CHC

    Cubs' Joc Pederson: Looks forward to playing daily

    Pederson said he is eager to take on an everyday role with the Cubs and face more left-handed pitching, Jordan Bastian of MLB.com reports.

    While in Los Angeles, Pederson rarely faced lefties, registering an average of 54 plate appearances per season against southpaws between 2017 and 2019, and only 10 in the abbreviated 2020 campaign. However, Chicago manager David Ross has indicated that Pederson could play more frequently against lefties. This could help the 28-year-old approach the 151 games he played back in 2015, his second season in the majors.

  • White Sox's Yasmani Grandal: Slowed by knee inflammation

    Grandal twisted his right knee during drills and will sit for at least the first two spring games until his inflammation subsides, Scott Merkin of MLB.com reports.

    Catchers come with inherent injury risk, as do players in their early thirties, so this certainly isn't the ideal place for Grandal to be in early in camp. The injury doesn't appear to be a particularly worrisome one, and he still has more than a month to get up to speed by Opening Day, but the worry here is that spring knee issues could foreshadow similar problems throughout the year for a player at his age and position.

  • Shohei Ohtani DH | LAA

    Angels' Shohei Ohtani: Touches triple digits

    Ohtani's fastball reached 100 mph in his bullpen session Saturday, Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic reports.

    Ohtani topped out at 90 mph during his first bullpen session, which was either the sign of yet more arm troubles for the two-way sensation or simply the sign of a pitcher gradually getting up to speed to start camp. Thankfully, recent bullpen sessions have shown that it was clearly the latter, as he's now throwing significantly harder. Ohtani's fastball averaged 96.7 mph during his rookie season back in 2018 before he was shut down from pitching due to elbow troubles, and it looks as though he could sit in that range again this year.