The Mets respond to Putz's allegations

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UPDATE: While I had seen the actual statement the Mets released about Putz before writing the business below, I had missed this story from Marty Noble at MLB.com last night. In it he relates that the Mets do, in fact, deny Putz’s claim that they told him to hide his injuries from the media.  They also say that it’s not standard to do a physical on a player in a trade, only when he’s a free agent.  Whether that means it’s not standard for the Mets to do it or standard for all teams is unclear from the article.

Seems to me, however, that if I was trading for a guy I knew to have bone spurs, I might want to check him out.  But like I said below, I’m not doctor.

4:20 P.M.: Yesterday J.J. Putz alleged that (a) the Mets didn’t give him a physical at the time he was acquired in a trade despite knowing he had a bone spur while pitching for the Mariners; (b) that his spring training physical was a “formality”; and (c) that the Mets told him not to disclose to the media that he was injured after his bone spur flared up again in May. Today the Mets responded:

“In our review of the player’s medical records in the acquisition of
J.J. Putz, we were aware that he had a bone spur before the trade.  He
had the same condition in 2008 and was able to pitch with it.  J.J.
underwent an exam during Spring Training and an additional exam and MRI
before he was cleared to play in last year’s World Baseball Classic. 
Unfortunately the spur did flare up again in May, and he missed the
rest of the season.  We are happy to hear he is feeling well, and wish
him success with the White Sox.”

That’s nice and all, but that doesn’t seem to contradict anything Putz said.  The team admits that they knew about the bone spur. They make no mention of any physical at the time of the trade, so we can assume that the Mets knowingly traded for a guy with bone spurs and did not conduct their own physical of the player.

They agree with Putz that a physical happened during spring training and presumably add the fact of the MRI to contradict Putz’s characterization of it as “a formality,” but neither side suggests that anything relating to bone spurs came up. Rather, they “flared up” in May.  Finally, the team ignores Putz’s charge that they told him not to tell anyone he was hurt.

Look, I’m no doctor, so I can’t say anything intelligent about the bone spurs, when Putz had them when he didn’t and how much trouble they gave him at any given time.  But the flare up, or not, of bone spurs seems like the least troubling part of all of this. More troubling is the lack of a physical at the time of the trade and telling the player not to disclose that he was hurt to the media, neither of which the Mets deny.

David Price’s season debut could be pushed back to May

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David Price showed “strength improvements” in his elbow on Saturday, but Red Sox’ manager John Farrell still doesn’t think the left-hander will be ready to throw by the start of the season — or for a few weeks afterward. According to ESPN’s Scott Lauber, the 31-year-old might not be ready to debut until May at the earliest.

Price hasn’t thrown off of a mound this spring after experiencing soreness in his left elbow on March 1. Surgery doesn’t appear to be necessary, but the Red Sox are playing it extra safe with their No. 3 starter in hopes that rest and rehabilitation will return him to full health sometime during the 2017 season. For now, Price has been restricted to short games of catch until he’s cleared to resume a more rigorous throwing program. Via MLB.com’s Ian Browne:

[There were] strength improvements to the point of putting the ball back in his hand a little more consistently,” said manager John Farrell. “Today’s the first step for that. A short game of catch. That’s what he’s going through. Not off a mound but just to get the arm moving with a ball in flight, and he will continue in this phase for a period of time. There’s no set distance and volume yet to the throws.

The lefty is coming off of a lackluster 2016 season, during which he delivered a 3.99 ERA, 2.0 BB/9 and 8.9 SO/9 over 230 innings for the Red Sox.

Yadier Molina will not enter contract negotiations during the 2017 season

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Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Cardinals’ catcher Yadier Molina is still open to extension talks during the last week of spring training. Once Opening Day rolls around, however, Molina has preemptively nixed any contract negotiations until the end of the 2017 season, when he’s scheduled to hit free agency.

Molina wants to stay with the Cardinals, or so he’s telling reporters, but he’s also “not afraid” to test the free agent market this fall should a deal fail to materialize. Via Goold:

I would love to stay, but at the same time I’m not afraid to go to free agency. I’ve still got many years in the tank. Believe me. I feel great. I feel like a 20-year-old kid. I’m not afraid to go to free agency.

The 34-year-old backstop is entering his final year under contract, though Goold points out that he has a $15 million option for 2018 that he can choose to decline in the event that it’s exercised by the team. He’s reportedly searching for a figure closer to those made by other top catchers like Buster Posey and Russell Martin.

The 2017 season will mark Molina’s 14th year in the Cardinals’ organization, building on a career that has spanned seven All-Star campaigns, nine postseason runs and two World Series championships in St. Louis. He batted .307/.360/.427 with eight home runs and a .787 OPS for the club in 2016.