Link-O-Rama: Hyperbole, thy name is Ron Washington

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* This isn’t really Quote of the Day material, but when asked yesterday
why the Rangers are moving Derek Holland back to the bullpen manager
Ron Washington said:
“We know he can pitch out of the bullpen very, very effectively.” Maybe
it’s just me, but the combination of “we know” and “very, very” is
amusing about a guy who’s made a grand total of 12 relief appearances
in his entire professional career and has a 5.40 ERA as a big-league
reliever.

* Jamie McOwen of the Mariners’ high Single-A team extended his hitting streak to 44 games last night with a broken-bat single in the eighth inning. McOwen, who was involved in that crazy 33-18 game
last month, now has the longest minor-league hitting streak since Roman
Mejias hit safely in 55 straight games in 1954. McOwen is batting .353
after hitting just .263 for the same team last year.

* The latest plan for Raul Ibanez involves coming off the disabled list Friday and starting the All-Star game Tuesday.

* Justin Morneau announced yesterday
that he will not defend his Home Run Derby crown, although ESPN and
most fans probably “remember” Josh Hamilton winning the contest last
season anyway.

* Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star is not a big fan of proposing to your girlfriend at a baseball game, likening it to “wearing acid-washed jeans.”

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.