White Sox pick up reliever Pena from Diamondbacks

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So much for that idea
of Brandon Allen being sent to the Blue Jays in a Roy Halladay trade.
The White Sox just used him to bolster their bullpen with the
acquisition of Tony Pena from the Diamondbacks.

Pena, once known as Adriano Rosario, was considered a future closer
for Arizona when he debuted in 2006, but his stuff had only
occasionally translated into the expected results. After a strong 2007
in which he had a 3.27 ERA and 30 holds, he was overlooked in favor of
Brandon Lyon for the closer’s role in 2008. He was later passed by Chad
Qualls, so he remained a setup man this year with Lyon gone. He did
well in that role early on, amassing a 1.85 ERA through the end of May,
but he had given up 15 runs — 13 earned — in his last 15 appearances,
leaving him at 4.24 for the year. Pena makes barely more than the
minimum now and is under control through 2012, so this isn’t just a
trade for this year.

Pena still seemed like a possibility to close for the Diamondbacks with
Qualls likely to attract suitors before the deadline. With the White
Sox, it’s highly unlikely that he’ll ever get that opportunity. Bobby
Jenks, Scott Linebrink, Octavio Dotel and Matt Thornton are all ahead
of him on the depth chart. Fantasy leaguers should now be looking at
Jon Rauch as a possible sleeper for saves.

Allen gives the Diamondbacks something they didn’t have in their
system: a possible first baseman of the future. The 23-year-old hit
.290/.372/.452 with seven homers in 241 at-bats for Double-A Birmingham
to begin the year. Since a promotion to Triple-A last month, he was at
.262/.262/.377 with no walks in 61 at-bats. He’s a potential 25-homer
guy, and he’s shown better on-base ability with every move up the
ladder, at least until a couple of weeks ago. He’s probably not going
to be a regular to begin 2010, but the move suggests that the
Diamondbacks aren’t interested in turning either Mark Reynolds or Conor
Jackson into a full-time first baseman going forward.

Mets leaning on Jay Bruce, Neil Walker as Lucas Duda insurance

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MAY 12:  Pinch hitter Lucas Duda #21 of the New York Mets walks back to the dugout after striking out for the first out of the ninth inning against Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on May 12, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  The Dodgers won 5-0.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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The Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.

Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”

Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”

The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.

Jason Kipnis diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Jason Kipnis #22 of the Cleveland Indians celebrates after scoring a run on a wild pitch thrown by Jon Lester #34 of the Chicago Cubs (not pictured) during the fifth inning in Game Seven of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.

There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.

Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.