Link-O-Rama: Capps to remain Pirates' closer (probably)

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* Matt Capps has struggled this season, going 4-8 with a 5.91 ERA and .326 opponents’ batting average while blowing five saves in 31 opportunities, but general manager Neal Huntington said yesterday that he’ll remain the Pirates’ closer next year “barring some unforeseen circumstance.” Of course, if they get any decent offers for Capps this offseason my guess is that the Pirates would be happy to trade him.
* Craig noted this morning that the Brewers are thinking about hiring Rick Peterson as their new pitching coach, but it sounds like manager Ken Macha will stick around for 2010 despite a disappointing first year in Milwaukee. Peterson and Macha worked together for quite a few years in Oakland.
* Roger Clemens showed up at Minute Maid Park over the weekend because his son Koby Clemens was among eight players honored as the team MVPs of their respective minor-league affiliates. Koby, who’s a 22-year-old catcher and former eighth-round pick, batted .345 with 22 homers, 45 doubles, and 121 RBIs in 116 games at high Single-A Lancaster of the California League.
* Koby Clemens can look forward to one day being involved in the Astros’ annual hazing ritual, which this year consisted of forcing the rookies to dress up in 1980s workout clothes. In other words, basically a whole bunch of neon, spandex, headbands, and tanktops. Alyson Footer of MLB.com has all the embarrassing details.

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.