Feb 13, 2014; Peoria, AZ, USA; Seattle Mariners pitcherTaijuan Walker
throws during team workouts at Peoria Sports Complex. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Today we’ll get you caught up on some stories from around Spring Training sites in baseball. It’s mostly pitcher talk as some of baseball’s top prospects took to the mound early on in the spring camps.
Taijuan Walker has been shut down for a week with inflammation in his shoulder, flying to L.A. yesterday to get a second opinion. According to Greg Johns of MLB.com, manager Llyod McClendon is looking long term with Walker, saying that “hopefully we’re talking about the next 15 years.”
UPDATE: In more prospect injury news, Oscar Taveras (St. Louis) isn’t ready for game action yet. Aaron Gleeman of Hardball Talk reported that St. Louis manager Mike Matheny estimated Taveras’s readiness at 80 percent.
UPDATE: More injuries! Twins prospect, third baseman Miguel Sano has been having elbow problems since a stint in winter ball, Aaron Gleeman reports, and, while Sano had thought that he was good to go for spring training action, he’s going to be checked out today after tweaking the injured elbow.
The Cincinnati Reds want 2013 supplemental round draft pick Michael Lorenzen to focus exclusively on pitching in a starting role, writes C. Trent Rosencrans at Baseball America. Lorenzen was seen as more of a hitter than a pitcher when he was coming out of college but throws a low-to-mid-90s fastball with a developing “slurve” type of breaking ball. The important thing to keep in mind is that Lorenzen will need to polish that breaking ball and develop a changeup to attack opposite-handed hitters in order to be effective as a starter. Lorenzen has never started before (not even in college) and, reportedly, has been picking the brain of another reliever who has converted into a starter, Tony Cingrani. Lorenzen has struggled with his control through his time in professional ball at the High-A level and above. In 29 innings with High-A Bakersfield, Double-A Pensacola, and the Glendale Desert Dogs in the Arizona Fall League, Lorenzen walked 23 batters.
Chris Iott at mLive.com was asked on Twitter about Robbie Ray, the young pitcher who was the keystone in the Tigers’ decision to trade away Doug Fister over the winter. Ray struck out five out of six Florida Southern College batters in his first appearance and manager Brad Ausmus raved about the deceptive velocity of Ray’s fastball, saying that it probably plays up a couple of mph from what the radar gun reads.
Terry Pluto, writing at Cleveland.com, reports on the Indians’ Trevor Bauer from spring training in Arizona. He likes Bauer’s development away from “sling-shot” type mechanics and how his stuff was “sizzling” (with the fastball sitting in the 94-97 mph range) but he was missing high a lot. Bauer also seemed to get flustered after walking Billy Hamilton on 10 pitches and gave up a stolen base (although, with Hamilton’s speed, the SB may not have been Bauer’s fault). Bauer is likely going to be starting the season in Triple-A Columbus where he will work on his control.
Rockies’ top 2013 draft pick, righty Jonathan Gray, shook off some jitters in his first outing in an intrasquad match that kicked off game action for the spring. Thomas Harding reported that after giving up a couple of hits and a walk in his first inning, Gray saved himself by inducing an inning-ending double play and struck out two in his second inning of work.
To give you some variety and discuss a position player, Baltimore’s Henry Urrutia is making progress, reports Brittany Ghiroli at the Orioles’ MLBlog. Manager Buck Showalter likes the way his bat stays in the zone a long time and sees tangible improvements in his base running and defense in the outfield despite making a base running mistake in camp.