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Around MLB: Top prospects make rosters, plus signings and injury updates

Mar 24, 2024, 10:44 AM

MLB Wyatt Langford...

Wyatt Langford of the Texas Rangers rounds the bases after hitting a grand slam on March 14, 2024. (John E. Moore III/Getty Images)

(John E. Moore III/Getty Images)

Texas’ Wyatt Langford and Milwaukee’s Jackson Chourio will open the season in MLB.

Jackson Holliday – the exciting young Baltimore Orioles infielder – won’t be joining them in the big leagues just yet.

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The Rangers announced Langford will open in the season with them and the Brewers did the same with Chourio, while the Orioles reassigned Holliday to their minor league camp.

Langford, 22, entered Friday with a .388 average, 446 on-base percentage, six homers and 19 RBIs in 49 Cactus League at-bats. The Rangers selected the outfielder out of the University of Florida with the fourth overall pick in last year’s amateur draft.

Chourio, who turned 20 on March 11, agreed to an $82 million, eight-year contract during the offseason despite having played only six games above Double-A. He hit .283 with a .338 on-base percentage, 22 homers, 91 RBIs and 44 steals in 128 games while playing Double-A and Triple-A ball last season.

Heading into Friday, Chourio was hitting .280 with a .333 on-base percentage, no homers and three RBIs in 50 Cactus League at-bats.

Holliday, 20, entered Friday having gone 6 for 14 with two homers, six RBIs and two steals in Grapefruit League action. The son of former seven-time All-Star outfielder Matt Holliday was the first overall pick in the 2022 draft.

Holliday batted .323 with a .442 on-base percentage, 12 homers, 75 RBIs and 24 steals in 125 games for four minor league teams from the Class A to Triple-A levels last season. He primarily played second base and shortstop while also making two appearances at third base.

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Baltimore has until April 11 to promote Holliday and be eligible for a prospect promotion pick at the end of the first round of the 2025 amateur draft, such as were earned by Seattle’s Julio Rodríguez in 2022 and Baltimore’s Gunnar Henderson and Arizona’s Corbin Carroll last year.

A highly-ranked eligible prospect earns a pick for his team for winning Rookie of the Year or finishing among the top three in Cy Young or MVP voting.

RANGERS SIGN LORENZEN

All-Star right-hander has joined the Texas Rangers with a $4.5 million, one-year deal that includes $2.5 million in performance bonuses for innings.

The Rangers made room for Lorenzen on the roster by putting right-hander Jacob deGrom on the 60-day injured list as he recovers from surgery to his throwing elbow.

Lorenzen, a nine-year MLB veteran, went 9-9 with a 4.18 ERA in 29 games with the Detroit Tigers and Philadelphia Phillies last season.

GOTT UNDERGOING TOMMY JOHN SURGERY

The Oakland Athletics’ bullpen took a hit Friday when the team announced right-hander Trevor Gott would undergo Tommy John surgery. The 31-year-old veteran reliever went 0-5 with a 4.19 ERA over 64 MLB appearances between the Seattle Mariners and New York Mets last season.

TIGERS OPTION MANNING

The Detroit Tigers optioned right-hander Matt Manning to Triple-A Toledo. Manning, 26, went 5-4 with a 3.58 ERA in 15 starts last season.

This decision likely means the Tigers will open the season with a rotation including Tarik Stubal, Kenta Maeda, Jack Flaherty, Casey Mize and Reese Olsen.

METS PRAISE MARTINEZ SIGNING

New York Mets players praised the team’s agreement with J.D. Martinez on a $12 million, one-year deal, which is subject to a successful physical.

Martinez, 36, batted .271 with 33 homers and 103 RBIs in 113 games with the Los Angeles Dodgers last season.

“His IQ at the dish is through the roof,” Mets first baseman Pete Alonso told reporters. “He’s one of those guys that I consider to be like a hitting savant.”

BREWERS SEND ASHBY, WIEMER TO MINORS

Brewers left-hander Aaron Ashby will continue his comeback from a major shoulder injury in the minors.

The Brewers announced Friday they had optioned Ashby and outfielder Joey Wiemer to Triple-A Nashville.

Ashby missed the 2023 MLB season after arthroscopic shoulder surgery but has pitched in two Cactus League games this spring training. The 25-year-old went 2-10 with a 4.44 ERA and 126 strikeouts in 107 1/3 innings in 2022.

Wiemer, 25, batted .204 with a .283 on-base percentage, 13 homers, 42 RBIs and 11 steals in 132 games as a rookie last season. Chourio joins a group in Milwaukee that includes Christian Yelich, Garrett Mitchell and Sal Frelick, who also has been working out at third base.

BACK ON BOARD

Carlos Carrasco is all the way back with the Guardians.

The popular right-hander, diagnosed with leukemia during his first stint with Cleveland, has been told he’s got a spot on the team’s opening-day roster after attending spring training with a minor league deal.

Carrasco’ will be either the fifth starter or a reliever. He went 88-73 in 242 games in 11 seasons for Cleveland before being traded to the New York Mets in the Francisco Lindor deal. The 37-year-old wanted to continue pitching, returned to his starting point and made the club.

“He did it with the work that he puts in every day to make himself the best pitcher he could be,” Guardians president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti said. “He’s also continues to be an extraordinary teammate and leader in the clubhouse.

“We’re a better team both on the field and the clubhouse with Carlos Carrasco as part of it.”

Also, first-year Guardians manager Stephen Vogt said Brayan Rocchio will handle the bulk of playing time at shortstop. Rocchio made the roster along with the versatile Gabriel Arias, who can play infield and outfield.

Cleveland could have a new center fielder as Myles Straw may be assigned outright to Triple-A if he clears waivers. Straw signed a $25 million, five-year contract in 2022. While he’s been great defensively, the Guardians need more offense.

NEW DIAMONDBACKS PITCHER HAS LAT STRAIN

Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Torey Lovullo told reporters that Eduardo Rodríguez has a lat strain and won’t throw again until he’s asymptomatic. The move likely means the veteran left-hander will open the season on the injured list.

Rodríguez, who turns 31 on April 7, joined the reigning NL champions on a four-year, $80 million contract after going 13-9 with a 3.30 ERA for the Detroit Tigers last season.

VERLANDER MAKING PROGRESS

Houston Astros manager Joe Espada told reporters Friday that Justin Verlander threw 20 pitches to hitters in a batting practice session a day earlier.

Verlander, 41, will open the season on the injured list after the three-time MLB Cy Young Award winner dealt with right shoulder inflammation during the offseason.

YANKEES’ RIZZO HAS LAT TIGHTNESS

Yankees first baseman Anthony Rizzo was a late scratch from Friday’s game against the New York Mets due to lat tightness.

Rizzo said he’s had the issue on occasion during his career. Rizzo said he’s fully confident he will be ready for Thursday’s opener at Houston.

“I’ve had it to where it’s been six to eight days, I’ve had it where it’s one to two, I’ve had it where I played through.” Rizzo said. “So, this is precaution at the fullest. I’m not going to risk it turning it into something that could be really bad.”

Rizzo is hitting .412 with two homers and nine RBIs after being limited to 99 games last season by post-concussion syndrome.

Third baseman DJ LeMahieu, who hasn’t played since Saturday due to a bruised right foot, increased his running program, and also resumed throwing and swinging a bat.

His status for the start of the MLB regular season has not been determined.

NATIONALS SEND WOOD TO MINORS

Outfielder James Wood was reassigned to minor league camp as the Washington Nationals made cuts that also included outfielders Dylan Crews and Robert Hassell III and third baseman Brady House.

The club also unconditionally released right-hander Zach Davies, who had been competing with Trevor Williams for the last spot in the rotation.

Wood is a 21-year-old from Maryland who is batting .341 with four homers and seven RBIs in 21 spring training games with Washington. He was a second-round pick by the San Diego Padres in the 2021 amateur draft, then was shipped to the Nationals as part of the Juan Soto trade the following year.

AP Baseball Writer Janie McCauley, AP Sports Writers Howard Fendrich and Tom Withers and AP freelance writer Mark Didtler contributed to this report.

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Around MLB: Top prospects make rosters, plus signings and injury updates