Thoughts on Yanks-Sox: Slide Jorge!

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090806_posada_collision.jpgSome thoughts from the Yankees-Red Sox game Thursday night:

— The game was nearly four hours long, coming in at 3:52. About an hour of it was interesting. Basically, the Chamberlain-Smoltz matchup/disaster, plus the Pedroia plunking in the 8th. (You think Josh Beckett will have something to say about that on Friday?)

— The game was so long, I was hearing calls for umpire Derryl Cousins to widen his strike zone to actually encompass the entire plate. With a strike zone like that, even Yuniesky Betancourt could have drawn a walk.

— *The game was so long, John Smoltz had surgery, underwent rehab and returned to watch the final three innings.

*This is not true, but might be something to consider.

— Speaking of Smoltz, it may be time to pull the plug, and he knows it. “I’m not doing it right now. I’m a big enough man to stand up here and say I’m not doing it. Time may not be on my side if this continues. I’ve been here before, but not like this.”

— I know Jorge Posada was one of the heroes and all (3-for-5, one mammoth 3-run homer), but how could he not slide on that play at the plate in the second inning? He was tagged out easily while sort of gently bumping Victor Martinez. If you remember, Posada was the guy who helped create the Derek Jeter legend by tagging out a non-sliding Jeremy Giambi in the 2001 playoffs. Talk about not learning from history.

— Not sure if he was praising the Yankees, ripping Yankee Stadium, or a little bit of both, but Terry Francona said: “That’s an unforgiving lineup in an unforgiving ballpark.”

— In going 0-for-5, David Ortiz played as if Saturday’s press conference is weighing on his mind.

— Lost in the shuffle: Casey Kotchman hit a two-run home run in his first start for Boston, and Kevin Youkilis played passably well in left field.

— If you Twitter, you can often find me there at @bharks.

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.