ESPN’s Jorge Arangure links a Spanish language report in which Jose Offerman says that the umpire he struck had spoken badly about his mother. I took a bunch of Spanish about 20 years ago and forgot most of it, but I kind of got the gist from the article. But to be totally professional about it, I put Offerman’s quotes through Google Translate:
mentioned my mother in the classic tone of someone trying to offend a
man, and that’s where my reaction came to throw a punch.”
OK, I think the nature of translation software makes Offerman sound a bit more formal than he likely is, so I’ll paraphrase the rest: Offerman says that there were multiple problems with the umps during the series, and that it all came to a head after his catcher, Ronny Paulino, was ejected after some argument with the home plate ump about a replacement ball following a wild pitch. Later, when Offerman comes out to argue with Daniel Rayburn — not the one who ejected Paulino, but the crew chief — Rayburn gave Offerman some derivation of “yo momma” and Offerman let fly. He says, however, that he never hit him, and that Rayburn’s hitting the ground was a big show.
Maybe. The video certainly reveals the contact, if indeed there was some, to be minor at best, and it sure looks like Rayburn took a dive Still, when you’re Jose Offerman and you have a history destroying a freakin’ player’s life via an assault with a baseball bat, you’re not going to get the close calls.
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.
According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Cardinals are keeping an eye on outfield prospect Luis Robert. The 19-year-old left his native Cuba last November and is expected to command interest from multiple MLB teams as he approaches free agency. Goold adds that the Cardinals sent scouts to evaluate Robert’s workouts in the Dominican Republic as recently as last week.
There’s still a good chance that the club won’t get a shot at signing him; as Craig mentioned last month, it seems likely that Major League Baseball won’t declare Robert a free agent until after June 15. By July 2, the new Collective Bargaining Agreement’s policies on international bonuses will go into effect, handcuffing teams with the maximum penalty for bonuses to a $300,000 signing figure for any available international prospect. It’s designed to effectively take away those teams’ abilities to sign additional international talent, and the Cardinals have already spent a reported $9.35 million in bonuses on Venezuelan outfielder Victor Garcia, Cuban outfielders Jonatan Machado and Randy Arozarena and Cuban right-hander Johan Oviedo.
Until the cutoff in mid-June, the Cardinals are likely to continue actively scouting other international talent, including Robert. MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez quotes an anonymous National League scouting director who describes Robert as the No. 2 talent behind Japanese wunderkind Shohei Otani. The 19-year-old hit .286/.319/.397 with a .716 OPS during a 16-game run in the Canadian-American League in 2016, following up an impressive three-year tenure with the Ciego de Avila in the Cuban National Series from 2013-2015.