Spring training provides an opportunity for unproven minor league players to showcase their abilities on a major league stage.
For Mark Mathias, the chance to make a dazzling first impression on the MLB coaching staff presented itself on a diving play to his left side in the ninth inning of Saturday's 7-6 victory over the Kansas City Royals.
Although he was able to keep the ball in front of him, Mathias was writhing in pain after landing hard on his left shoulder.
- Mathias was diagnosed with a dislocated left shoulder on an RBI single off the bat of Billy Burns. The base knock cut the Cleveland Indians advantage to 7-6 and led to the abrupt departure of the former Cal Poly standout in the crucial stages of the contest. Todd Hankins entered the game as a defensive replacement at second base.
"They're going to take him back and put it back in," said Terry Francona to reporters about popping the shoulder back into place. "Hopefully, when it gets back in, the damage that was done is minor. We'll see. He was hurting."
The 22-year-old will reportedly get an MRI on Monday before determining the best plan of action moving forward. Mathias was batting .200 (1-5) this spring and was selected as a MiLB.com Organizational All-Star in 2016.
- A rarity in the 2016 regular season, Francona tested Tyler Naquin and put him in an unfamiliar spot against left-handed pitcher Jason Vargas on Saturday. The Spring, TX native went 2-for-3 to elevate his spring training batting average to .556 and .600 against southpaws (3-for-5).
"I'd love to almost like turn the keys over to him," Francona said in regards to shifting Naquin to an everyday role rather than a center field platoon. "It's probably going to get better and that's exciting."
Only 11.07% (32 of 289) of Naquin's 2016 at-bats came against left-handed hurlers.
- Brandon Guyer was scratched from today's lineup due to the flu. He is expected to play on Saturday and/or Sunday at the 2017 H-E-B Big League Weekend vs. the Texas Rangers at the Alamodome in San Antonio, TX.
- A right groin strain continues to cut into the playing time of Yandy Diaz. Although he ran the bases on Friday and reportedly took batting practice on Saturday, Diaz is still day-to-day with no target date for a return to Cactus League action.
"He's a good hitter and he's got so much to learn," said Francona. "It's hard when you're in the trainers room."