NL Notes: Mancini, Doolittle, Martinez, Taylor

Cubs right-fielder Seiya Suzuki is at the moment sidelined with a “moderate” indirect pressure. The membership has but to offer an estimated timeline for his absence, however Suzuki has already withdrawn from the World Baseball Classic. It’s unclear if he’ll nonetheless be injured when Opening Day rolls round, however Patrick Mooney of The Athletic reviews that the membership is trying to make use of Trey Mancini as the appropriate fielder for any time Suzuki must miss.

Mancini was primarily a primary baseman arising by means of the minors however beginning taking part in the outfield corners with the Orioles resulting from Chris Davis having the chilly nook spoken for. That’s allowed Mancini to log 2,480 1/3 innings of outfield expertise, however most of that got here within the 2017-2019 interval. Mancini missed the 2020 season whereas in remedy for colon most cancers however has primarily been at first base since his return. That was the one place he performed in 2021 and he solely spent 248 innings on the grass final yr.

Mancini’s outfield protection hasn’t been particularly properly graded in his profession, but it surely’s attainable it could solely be a part-time resolution anyhow, with Suzuki ultimately coming again to retake the place. In the meantime, the alignment might permit the membership to have each Mancini and Eric Hosmer within the lineup, with the designated hitter slot out there for one of many membership’s many youthful infielders. Dansby Swanson and Nico Hoerner needs to be within the center with Hosmer at first, however the third base and utility/backup infield positions determine to be shared by Patrick Wisdom, Nick Madrigal, Christopher Morel, Zach McKinstry, Miles Mastrobuoni and Edwin Ríos.

Some different notes from across the National League…

  • Lefty Sean Doolittle is in camp with the Nationals on a minor league deal, trying to return to well being after he handled an elbow sprain final yr that ultimately led to an inner brace process. It was reported a couple of weeks in the past that he appeared on monitor to be prepared for Opening Day, however which may not be the case. Doolittle tells Mark Zuckerman of that there was no actual setback, simply that the membership’s medical crew suggested him to take a better-safe-than-sorry method. “Nothing specifically happened,” Doolittle mentioned. “I think when we started to look at what it was going to take to ramp up, and where I was at, I was ahead of schedule probably by almost a month. I did have some days when I was a little more sore than I had been throwing in the offseason. Nothing bad, but we started thinking about it. We’re so far ahead, let’s slow it down a little bit.” It appears that he might not be an choice for Opening Day, however the slowed-down method is ok by him. “Let’s be smart about it. It’s not a race,” he added. Manager Dave Martinez is onboard with the plan as properly. “When he’s ready, we want him to be 100 percent ready,” Martinez mentioned. “We need left-handed pitchers in our bullpen. When he’s healthy, he’ll be that guy.” Doolittle had a 3.02 profession ERA by means of the tip of 2019 however has missed vital time in two of the previous three years, along with posting a 4.53 ERA in 2021. The Nats’ solely southpaw relievers on the 40-man are Matt Cronin and Jose Ferrer, neither of whom have MLB expertise but. Once Doolittle is absolutely wholesome, he ought to have a path open to get again on the roster.
  • It was reported in mid-December that the Red Sox have been interested by a reunion with slugger J.D. Martinez, however he agreed to a cope with the Dodgers that exact same day whereas the Sox agreed with Justin Turner the day after. However, it doesn’t appear as if Boston’s curiosity was ever that robust, at the least in keeping with Martinez, who spoke with Rob Bradford of WEEI concerning the scenario. “The way they made it sound was that they were in on it,” Martinez mentioned. “During the season we never talked. Just basic talk with Chaim, and stuff. It was one of those things where we never moved forward with it.” The alignment of his deal and Turner’s doesn’t appear to have been coincidental. “A situation occurred where at the time they had the offer out to JT… Everybody talks… This was an offer that came up seeing if it was something I was interested in doing. Obviously, it was a little bit of a pay cut, but if I held up maybe I could have gotten more. We were confident about that. But at the same time I wanted a team that was going to be in October, be in the swing of things all year and give me a chance to win.” MLBTR predicted Martinez to safe a two-year, $30MM, so it’s attainable he’s right that he might have gotten greater than the one-year, $10MM deal he finally agreed to. However, it appears he positioned a precedence on competitors by transferring from a Boston membership that received 78 video games final yr to the 111-win Dodgers.
  • Sticking with the Dodgers, they should think about backup plans at shortstop now that Gavin Lux is out for the yr. Miguel Rojas will now be the atop the depth chart there, with tremendous utility participant Chris Taylor behind him. Manager Dave Roberts tells Jack Harris of the Los Angeles Times that Taylor will play shortstop about 20-25% of the time. Taylor says he’s prepared for the transfer, having began an infield throwing program previous to the Lux damage. “I’ve been throwing from the infield and the outfield,” Taylor mentioned. “I was trying to anticipate something happening. So I was prepared.” Getting part-time work at shortstop might be nothing new for Taylor. He solely acquired one inning there final yr however averaged greater than 250 innings per yr over the earlier 4 seasons. He’ll be trying to bounce again from a down yr on the plate, as he missed a month with a foot fracture and hit .221/.304/.373 for a wRC+ of 93. Moving Taylor in from the grass now and again will subtract from an outfield combine that’s a bit extra unsure for the membership than in recent times. Mookie Betts needs to be wonderful in proper, with Trayce Thompson, David Peralta and Jason Heyward doubtlessly taking the opposite spots, as youthful gamers like James Outman and Andy Pages attempt to break in.

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