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Weekend Rumblings - News for February 18, 2017

Where is Luke?

MLB: Chicago White Sox at Kansas City Royals John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Weekend Rumblings - News for February 18, 2017

Rustin Dodd gives an update on Luke Hochevar, who is still a free agent.

Hochevar underwent surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome last summer and he’s been slow to return from that. Once he can throw for prospective teams, he will be able to prove he’s healthy again. Until then, it seems unlikely a team will take a chance on more than a minor-league deal. Even then, teams might want proof that his arm is functional. But for now, that timetable remains elusive. So we’ll see.

The Royals’ front office and coaching staff have a terrific relationship with Hochevar, and that’s not going to change. A possible reunion would probably hinge on his health — and the organization’s needs later this summer.

Ned Yost toys with the idea of Alex Gordon in center field.

"Every scenario is open," Yost said. "I'm going to move Gordy around. I'm going to play Gordy in right, Gordy in center. Just to see what we got."...

"Is left field easier to play than right field? Yes," Yost said. "But with Rusty, [Moss' and Soler's] ability to cover ground is going to get better."

Soler, though, is the right fielder for now.

"Soler is more comfortable in right," Yost said. "But maybe Moss could play some left when Gordy needs a break.

David Lesky at Baseball Prospectus Kansas City is intrigued by Christian Colon.

What intrigues me is the walk rate – 8.3 percent – for a guy who isn’t playing every day. He’s never shown much pop in the minor leagues, but he has shown more than we’ve seen in the big leagues. He has a .100 career ISO in the minors, but does at least have 132 extra base hits in 561 games at the minor league level. Maybe with a new physique, he can keep up the plate discipline (he swung at 28.5 percent of pitches outside the zone last year), add a little pop and continue to play solid defense at second base. I know a lot of people loved Merrifield last year. He was fun to watch. But I wonder if, given his age, pedigree and physical condition, we might be in for Christian Colon’s career year. I hope he gets a legitimate shot to win the job.

Bryan Grosnick looks at non-roster invitees for American League clubs.

If the year was 2012 instead of 2017 there’d be a decent enough bullpen among KC’s non-roster invitees. Brandon League was coming off a season as a good closer in Seattle, and Bobby Parnell was coming into his own in New York. Jonathan Sanchez wasn’t that far removed from good starting seasons in San Francisco, and Al Alburquerque had the stuff to back up his film-noir name. Today? It’s just sad. League missed 2016 after years of being a “don’t pay for saves” cautionary tale. Parnell never came back from a severe arm issue. Al-Squared turned into a pumpkin after leaving Detroit. Sanchez last pitched in affiliated ball back in 2014, only getting two outs all year. If any NRI makes the bullpen it’s likely to be Chris Withrow, who could be in line for a post-Tommy John surgery bounceback year.

The Royals sign a number of pre-arbitration players to new deals.

The Yordano Ventura toxicology report won’t be released to the public.

Paulo Orlando has a new tattoo of his wife.

The Tigers admit they are not a very fast team.

Pittsburgh’s Starling Marte is cool with moving to centerfield.

Red Sox catcher Blake Swihart gets the yips.

Nick Swisher retires from baseball.

How can spring training be improved?

Why the video game RBI Baseball is still awesome.

A look back at the worst NBA dunk contest ever.

Cavs guard Kyrie Irving is a flat-earther.

A conference for domain names is a surreal experience.

Youtube will kill unskippable 30-second ads.

RIP George “The Animal” Steele.

Your song of the day is Sonny Stitt with Everything Happens to Me.