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Weekend Rumblings - News for February 17, 2018

The race to the bottom continues.

Detroit Tigersv Kansas City Royals
Utility infielder!
Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images

Jeffrey Flanagan reports that Nate Karns is making progress in camp in his return from season-ending surgery last year:

“We worked hard to come in here with no restrictions,” Karns said. “I’ve had no setbacks or hiccups. I’m as normal as we can be.”

Karns credits an offseason program of throwing a football to re-teach his body the proper throwing mechanics again.

”When you throw a football you have to be mechanically sound to throw a spiral that far,” Karns said. “It forced me to use my lower body better. So far so good.”

Flanagan also reports that Whit Merrifield is amenable to a utility role, should Raúl Mondesí force the Royals’ hand in spring training as Ned Yost suggested could happen:

“Whatever it takes to put our team in the best situation,” Merrifield said. “I liked solidifying that spot at second base last year. Being there every day helped me get better. I thought I put together a good defensive season.

”I prided myself in being a top tier defensive second baseman. But whatever they want me to do. I know I have value [as a utility guy] for managers. I know that.”

Rustin Dodd tweets:

Jason Vargas signed a two-year, $16MM deal with the Mets with an option for a third year and a bunch of innings bonuses. Zack Wheeler is apparently pissed about the signing—he should probably worry more about his own performance. Jeff Sullivan writes about Vargas’s 2017, a campaign with which most readers should be more than familiar.

Two Royals prospects make the BP top 101 dynasty (read: fantasy) prospects list and another is honorable mention.

If you missed David Laurila’s feature on Trevor Oaks at FanGraphs from yesterday’s Rumblings, you should check it out:

“Some of the adjustments I made this offseason should help. I moved my thumb underneath the ball a little bit more, and all the sink totally came back. I also started doing a little of the weighted-ball program while the Dodgers were still directing me on my career. I felt that helped me be a little more athletic and get that rhythm back to my pitching motion. So far I haven’t had a day in my offseason where the ball isn’t driving like crazy. I’m excited to have that pitch back, with the confidence that the ball will be doing what I want it to do.

“On the pronation… it’s not like I intentionally try to pronate. It’s more that my arm just naturally does that. But again, staying through the pitch and not cutting it off short… sometimes, over the course of your career, you’ll notice that your throwing motion will kind of change. Because of the cutter, I was kind of coming across my body a little more, and this offseason allowed me to reset that. Now I’m throwing through the ball again, which has given me that pronation back.”

The Rangers signed old friend Edinson Volquez to a two-year minor-league deal while he rehabs from his second Tommy John surgery that he underwent near the end of the 2017 season.

At Royals Farm Report, Madison Dunphy chats with Chase Vallot about preparing for spring training.

David Lesky had his Friday notes column over at BP KC.

Clint Scoles looks toward the draft at potential draftee Jimmy Herron.

At BP, Joe Schwarz has a great piece on pitch tunneling with regards to Michael Wacha.

The Angels are apparently going to go with a six-man rotation.

The State of Maryland is trying to kill its craft breweries.

London is trying to get its hedgehogs back.

It looks like the MCU may have its best villain in the form of Killmonger in Black Panther. [I’d definitely side with this contention, having seen the film Friday.]

The song of the day is Sonny Rollins’s “Come, Gone” from his seminal album Way Out West.