Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News

Injury updates: Carpenter, Tulowitzki, Gamel

Shoulder inflammation will keep Salazar from OD rotation
MLB.com @DKramer_

As Spring Training reaches the halfway mark and clubs continue to scope their Opening Day rosters, many will be doing so with key contributors potentially on the mend. At least three everyday players from 2017 -- Cardinals first baseman Matt Carpenter, Blue Jays shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and Mariners left fielder Ben Gamel -- have all recently had their immediate regular season status put in doubt due to injury.

Here is a look at those three and other health-related notes compiled by MLB.com reporters, contributors and others this week:

As Spring Training reaches the halfway mark and clubs continue to scope their Opening Day rosters, many will be doing so with key contributors potentially on the mend. At least three everyday players from 2017 -- Cardinals first baseman Matt Carpenter, Blue Jays shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and Mariners left fielder Ben Gamel -- have all recently had their immediate regular season status put in doubt due to injury.

Here is a look at those three and other health-related notes compiled by MLB.com reporters, contributors and others this week:

Matheny expresses concern over Carpenter falling behind
Carpenter is expected to return to the field soon from a back issue, so Cardinals fans need not worry about his long-term health. However, with the club nearly two weeks into Grapefruit League play, the cause for concern could be Carpenter not facing enough live pitching by Opening Day.

"It's still early," manager Mike Matheny said. "But we're getting down there to where it's time. It's time things need to be progressing, and they are. He's moving along in the right direction. There is some urgency."

Carpenter began baseball activities last Tuesday, but has yet to take batting practice. He was bothered by a sore left shoulder for much of last season and the year prior missed time with an oblique injury. He's said neither are related to his current issue, which at this point centers around the timing of Carpenter's swing.

Video: Outlook: Carpenter has solid pop, is on-base machine

Matheny tabbed Carpenter his three-hole hitter earlier in camp, and Tuesday, used his first lineup featuring multiple projected starters. Among a group that included Dexter Fowler, Tommy Pham, Marcell Ozuna, Paul DeJong, Kolten Wong and Yadier Molina, Carpenter's was the only name missing.

"If we didn't see that progression continuing, yeah, we would be concerned," Matheny said. "We're pushing it right now in terms of getting him locked in timing-wise. We're probably right at that edge. … If this doesn't stay on track, I don't know if he'll be timed up. Physically, I think he'll be ready. Whether he's timed up and actually ready to be at his best when we bust out of the gate [on Opening Day] in New York."

Tulo not expected to be ready for Opening Day
A chronic bone spur in his right heel is the latest ailment Tulowitzki is battling to overcome, and the prognosis for the Blue Jays' March 29 opener against the Yankees isn't optimistic.

"I don't expect he'll be ready," manager John Gibbons said Sunday. "But he's moving in the right direction."

Video: Tulowitzki on timetable to return from injuries

Tulowitzki said he's dealt with the bone spurs throughout his 12-year career, but they didn't become more of an issue until he was rehabbing this winter from a sprained right ankle that limited him to just 66 games. In camp, Tulowitzki has been jogging and taking BP, but the club tempered his fielding workload as a precaution.

Tulowitzki, 33, and second baseman Devon Travis (who was limited to just 50 games) last year forced the Blue Jays to scramble filling their infield. Primary bench players Darwin Barney and Ryan Goins played the most games at second and short, respectively. The club addressed their infield attrition this winter by acquiring versatile infielders Yangervis Solarte and Aledmys Diaz.

In 238 games since being traded to the Blue Jays in July of '15, Tulowitzki has slashed .250/.313/.414 with 36 homers, 122 RBIs, 183 strikeouts and 74 walks in 987 plate appearances.

Salazar won't start year in Tribe's rotation
With arguably the Majors' most starting-pitching depth, one of the most intriguing competitions of camp centered on which five the Indians would roll out the regular season with. Reigning American League Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber, and right-handers Carlos Carrasco and Trevor Bauer were the only assured, with Josh Tomlin, Mike Clevinger and Danny Salazar entering camp vying for the other two spots. Ryan Merrit is also competing for a spot. 

Cleveland got a little more clarity on Monday when manager Terry Francona revealed that Clevinger will take the fourth spot, as Salazar continues to recover from shoulder inflammation. The Dominican-born right-hander is still a few weeks behind in his throwing program, and began throwing at 90 feet as of Monday, per Footer.

"He is going in the right direction," Francona said of Salazar. "If he does that for a couple of days, then the next thing will be maybe throwing off the mound, which I don't think we're too far away from."

Video: Salazar talks shoulder discomfort, starting to throw

Following a breakout 2016 that took a late turn due to elbow inflammation, Salazar was limited to 103 innings over 23 outings (19 starts) in '17, and from late May to late July, he was moved to the bullpen due to struggles. He finished the year 5-6 with a 4.28 ERA. Given his four years of club control remaining and versatility as both a starter and reliever, Salazar has been linked to trade speculations this offseason.

Mariners outfield takes another hit
Gamel was diagnosed on Monday with a strained right oblique that will shelf him 4-6 weeks, putting him on the mend with right fielder Mitch Haniger (sore right hand), who has yet to play in a Cactus League game. Haniger was cleared Friday to begin swinging a bat.

Gamel, 25, said he felt pain in his side while hitting in the batting cage Friday, was scratched from the lineup that afternoon and only expected to miss a few days. However, an MRI conducted Sunday revealed the prognosis to be worse than initially envisioned. Gamel was one of the Mariners' more significant offensive contributors -- and a pleasant surprise as a rookie -- hitting .275/.322/.413 with 11 homers, 59 RBIs and 68 runs in 134 games last year.

With he and Haniger out, suddenly an outfield with plenty of intrigue quickly has a few question marks. Converted center fielder Dee Gordon has looked good, but this is his first stint in the outfield. And perhaps to account for their immediate injuries, Seattle on Tuesday signed 44-year-old Ichiro Suzuki to a Major League contract, which is pending a physical, per Johns.

Daniel Kramer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @DKramer_.

Matt Carpenter, Ben Gamel, Danny Salazar, Troy Tulowitzki