twins third baseman Jose Miranda withdrew from the World Baseball Classic due to shoulder pain, reports Phil Miller of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. He was set to play for Puerto Rico in the upcoming tournament, but will remain in camp with the Twins.
Director Rocco Baldelli spoke with members of the media about the matter today, with MLB.com’s Do-Hyoung Park relaying some relevant quotes (Twitter connections). It looks like the main issue is pitching, as Miranda is still able to hit and will be the designated hitter in some upcoming games. “We’re still very optimistic that he’ll be ready to go on Opening Day, but he’s not throwing right now,” Baldelli said. “We don’t have any bigger concerns or long-term concerns. We think it will be OK, but it needs some time.”
It doesn’t appear that Miranda is in danger of an extended absence, as he can still serve as a DH, but if he can’t take the field, the club will have to consider who will play third base until Miranda is ready to go. This offseason, the Twins traded Gio Urshela and Luis Arraezclearing their corner spots inside for players like Miranda and Alex Kirillov. Without Miranda, the hot corner could potentially be manned Kyle Farmer the Donovan Solano.
A few other notes from around the American League…
- Cavan Biggio was primarily an infielder for the Blue Jays but he could spend significant time overseas this season. Manager John Schneider tells MLB.com’s Keegan Matheson that he expects Biggio to play “a ton” of the outfield this year, perhaps as much as a 50-50 split with his infield work. Biggio has 383 innings of outfield work on his resume so far, significantly less than the more than 2,000 innings he has split between second base, third base and first base. Whit Merrifield, acquired at this year’s trade deadline, appeared to take over as the club’s primary option at second base after coming aboard. With Matt Chapman and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in the corners and the players like Santiago Espinal and Addison Barger If he’s competing for bench jobs, it’s likely that Biggio’s best route to playing time is on grass/turf. The normal outfield in Toronto should consist of George Springer, Daulton Varsho and Kevin Kiermaier, but Biggio could perhaps serve as the fourth outfielder if Merrifield, who also plays the outfield, stays on base. Biggio hit .240/.368/.430 in his first two seasons for a 118 wRC+, but has dealt with back injuries the last two, leading to a diminished .213/.320/.353, wRC+ 90 line.
- Star out Justin Dearden has been impressive in camp and could potentially earn a late spring roster spot. “Who knows? We’ll see who’s injured, who’s not, who’s playing well and what we need. Everyone gets about the same shot to impress us,” the manager said. Dusty Baker says Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle. “I’m impressed with him. We are impressed with him. That’s why he’s here. It takes a lot of time, a lot of appearances and plays well. He plays very well.” It’s been a long journey for Dearden, 25, who went unselected in the abbreviated 2020 draft and signed with the Astros afterward as an undrafted free agent. He’s been tearing the cover off the ball ever since, including a .274/.397/.537 line in 2021 between Class-A and High-A. Last year, he reached Double-A and hit 20 home runs in 92 games, slashing .324/.411/.616 for a wRC+ of 157. He was promoted to Triple-A late in the season and struggled but is now turning heads in the grapefruit game League. His ability to play center gives him a chance to compete Jake Myers for a backup outfielder back job Chas McCormick, Michael Brantley, Kyle Tucker and Jordan Alvarez. Those four are expected to handle the three outfield jobs and the designated hitter spot, but an injury could always clear the way for Meyers and Dirden to make the team. Brantley is coming back from last year’s shoulder surgery, while Alvarez is dealing with ongoing hand soreness.
(tagsTo be translated)cavan bgio