Michael Matuella, the righthanded pitcher who the Texas Rangers drafted in the third round in 2015, threw live batting practice yesterday, per Evan Grant on Twitter. This is the first time Matuella has thrown batting practice since being shut down last summer due to elbow issues.
Matuella was considered a possible #1 overall pick before his junior year at Duke was cut short due to Tommy John surgery. The Rangers signed him to a well-above-slot $2 million bonus after taking him in the third round in 2015, and assigned him to Spokane in the Northwest League last year. Matuella pitched in just one game, however, before UCL issues shut him down for the rest of the year.
Matuella has the highest ceiling of any pitcher in the Rangers system, but his elbow issues, as well as a history of back problems, make him more of a medical risk than most pitchers. The fact that he’s throwing batting practice is encouraging, and hopefully, we’ll see him back on the mound this summer.