– Tommy Hanson didn’t allow a hit over the first 3 1/3 innings
of his major league debut against the Brewers on Sunday afternoon, but
he gave up seven runs — six of them earned — including three home
runs — two of them by Ryan Braun — after that. The strapping
right-hander fanned five and walked one over six innings and thanks to
a three-run eighth inning by the Braves, he was taken off the hook.
– Roy Halladay became the first pitcher in baseball to reach 10 wins
against the Royals on Sunday. He struck out six in a complete game
shutout and now has a 2.52 ERA to go along with a stingy 1.02 WHIP.
– In an excellent piece
by Tim Kurkjian for ESPN.com, we learn that Princeton graduate Ross
Ohlendorf wrote his thesis on the top 100 picks from the 1989 to 1993
Amateur drafts to determine the value of the picks. He found that on
average, the player brought twice the return.
– Mariano Rivera would have preferred to pitch to Evan Longoria
instead of intentionally walking him on Saturday, but he got him to
ground out to secure his 13th save in a 4-3 comeback win over the Rays on Sunday. The Yankees plated three in the eighth inning to push ahead.
– Livan Hernandez hurled seven scoreless innings
in a 7-0 win over the Nationals on Sunday afternoon. With the win, he
moved to 5-1 with a surprising 3.88 ERA through 11 starts this season.
– Clete Thomas connected for an eighth-inning go-ahead grand slam — the first of his career– in a 9-6 win over the Angels on Sunday.
– According to Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com, the Indians have yet to decide
if they will be buyers or sellers mode as the trade deadline
approaches. The Indians currently find themselves seven games behind
the first-place Tigers.
– And finally, D.C. Fire Chief Dennis Rubin put the kibosh on fireworks at Nationals Park.
With the 2017 World Baseball Classic around the corner, Team Israel has reportedly reached out to Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, per MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. Tournament rules stipulate that a player’s roster eligibility can be achieved in one of several ways: they were born in the country in question or hold citizenship/permanent legal residence there (or are simply capable of qualifying for citizenship), or one of their parents was born in the country or holds citizenship/permanent legal residence there.
For Kipnis, it’s the latter. Kipnis’ father, Mark Kipnis, is Jewish. That gives Kipnis the status he needs to suit up for Team Israel, despite the fact that he is a practicing Roman Catholic. He has yet to confirm or deny his participation in the competition.
Fifteen players have confirmed for Team Israel so far, including Mets’ infielder/outfielder Ty Kelly and free agents Sam Fuld, Nate Freiman, Jason Marquis and Jeremy Bleich. Per MLB.com’s Chad Thornburg, eight minor leaguers will also appear for the team. Like Kipnis, at least three other major leaguers are eligible for Team Israel’s roster but have yet to accept or decline involvement in the WBC: Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson, Mariners infielder/outfielder Danny Valencia and free agent left-hander Craig Breslow.
Free agent first baseman James Loney has reportedly signed a minor league deal with the Rangers, per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The deal includes an invite to spring training and a $1 million salary if he makes the major league roster in 2017.
Loney picked up a one-year stint and starting role with the Mets in 2016, slashing .265/.307/.397 with nine home runs in 336 PA. While his numbers were down a hair from the .280/.322/.357 batting line he produced with the Rays in 2015, he provided the Mets with a necessary, if underwhelming upgrade over an injured Lucas Duda through most of the season.
The 32-year-old infielder is expected to have some competition at first base, with at least five other candidates in the mix: Jurickson Profar, Ronald Guzman, Ryan Rua, Joey Gallo and Josh Hamilton. Rumor has it that the team is planning on platooning Rua and Profar in 2017, barring any impressive breakouts or injuries during spring training, though Loney could still provide the club with some veteran depth and a decent left-handed bat off the bench.