Yankees, Phillies tweak rosters for World Series

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With the World Series now just hours away the Yankees and Phillies have both made some minor roster changes.
Philadelphia has swapped utility man Miguel Cairo for a 12th pitcher, adding Brett Myers to the bullpen after leaving him off the NLCS roster. Cairo, who played for the Yankees for three seasons, appeared in two games and batted a total of five times through the first two rounds.
Myers made one poor appearance in the NLDS before being dropped for the NLCS and has allowed five runs in 7.2 innings since returning from hip surgery, but the Phillies hope that the time off will help after spending three months on the sidelines. When healthy Myers has shown that he’s capable of being a shutdown reliever, but he’s unlikely to be used in high-leverage spots if manager Charlie Manuel can help it.
New York has reversed the ALCS switch by adding Eric Hinske back to the roster in place of Freddy Guzman, and have also added a 12th pitcher in Brian Bruney at the expense of third catcher Francisco Cervelli. Bruney will give Joe Girardi a chance to be even more manic with his bullpen management and playing under NL rules in Philadelphia makes pinch-hitting Hinske for a pitcher more valuable than pinch-running Guzman.
Cervelli got just one plate appearance through two rounds, but subtracting him from the roster could mean Jorge Posada starting every game behind the plate instead of giving way to Jose Molina when A.J. Burnett is on the mound. There’s also speculation that adding Bruney makes it more likely that the Yankees will use a four-man rotation including Chad Gaudin, who had been a reliever against the Twins and Angels.

Tanner Scheppers leaves Cactus League game with lower core injury

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Rangers’ bullpen candidate Tanner Scheppers left Friday’s Cactus League game with pain in his “lower half,” according to reports by Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. The specifics of the right-hander’s injury have yet to be determined, but he was accompanied by the athletic trainer when he exited the game and is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Saturday.

Scheppers, 30, has a long history of elbow and knee injuries. He missed all but 8 2/3 innings of the 2016 season after undergoing a procedure to repair torn articular cartilage in his left knee. While he appeared healthy enough through his first seven appearances this spring, he failed to impress with three runs, five walks and six strikeouts over 7 2/3 innings with the club.

Should Scheppers find himself on the disabled list for another lengthy stay, MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan speculates that his absence could clear some room in the bullpen for Rule 5 draft pick and fellow righty Mike Hauschild. Hauschild, 27, has dealt seven runs, five walks and 15 strikeouts through 17 1/3 innings in camp.

Report: Jose Ramirez close to four-year extension with Indians

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Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan reports that third baseman Jose Ramirez is finalizing a four-year extension with the Indians. The deal is said to be worth north of $30 million, and may crest $50 million if all options are exercised. While the extension won’t take effect until the 2018 season, it guarantees Ramirez a $26 million sum with two options worth $11 and $13 million and will give the Indians control of the infielder through the 2023 season.

Ramirez, 24, is entering his fifth season in the Indians’ organization. He posted career-high numbers during his first full season in the majors, slashing .312/.363/.461 with 11 home runs, 22 stolen bases and 4.8 fWAR in 2016. He’s projected to have a strong follow-up season at the plate and will likely see some time at second base as Jason Kipnis works his way back from a shoulder injury.

Although 2016 only showcased the beginning of Ramirez’s success with the club, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman says it’s a standard move for Cleveland to “sign their stars early,” and indicates that Ramirez was rumored to want the deal. Jeff Todd of MLB Trade Rumors adds that the extension will keep Ramirez under club control through three arbitration-eligible years and one year of potential free agency.