That sound you just heard was the optimism of Mariners fans blowing up like the Hindenburg.
OK, so that last sentence was way over the top. But there must be at least a little bit of concern in Seattle with the news from MLB.com that Cliff Lee underwent foot surgery on Friday.
The surgery, which was performed by Dr. Bryan Burke, removed a floating bone spur in Lee’s left foot that broke from its attachment. The procedure will not require Lee to wear a cast. He’s expected to return to normal baseball activities in the next two to three weeks, which means Lee will be unable to participate in workouts when Mariners pitchers and catchers report to camp in Peoria, Ariz., on Feb. 18.
“We decided Lee should have the surgery as soon as possible, rather than try to pitch with the discomfort during the year,” general manager Jack Zduriencik said. “To get it out of the way and have it behind us is important.”
This procedure looks like a minor thing, and it’s not as if Lee showed any signs of health problems in the playoffs.
Besides, with the magic Zduriencik has been working lately, I wouldn’t be all that surprised if he’s actually going to use the bone spur to clone a new and better Lee – and at half the price.
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Free agent right-hander Tim Lincecum isn’t ready to hang up his cleats just yet. At least, that’s the word from Lincecum’s agent, Rick Thurman, who says the 32-year-old is still “throwing and getting ready for the season” (via Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News).
Lincecum may not be ready to enter retirement, but another quote from Thurman suggests that he’ll be picky about where he pitches next. He doesn’t appear open to pitching overseas, and despite not having a contract for 2017 (or even any serious suitors), the right-hander is set on pitching in the big leagues this year. Whether or not he’s willing to take a bullpen role to do so remains to be seen.
While Baggarly predicts some interest in the veteran righty, there’s not much in Lincecum’s recent history to inspire faith in him as a starter, or even a reliever. He picked up a one-year, $2.5 million contract with the Angels following his hip surgery in 2015, and went 2-6 in 2016 with a 9.16 ERA, 5.4 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 over 38 1/3 innings. At this point, a minor league contract seems like the surest path back to major league success, though he’s unlikely to find an open spot on the Giants’ or Angels’ rosters anytime soon.
Free agent right-hander Jeff Manship has reportedly signed with the NC Dinos of the Korea Baseball Organization, according to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The righty was non-tendered by the Indians in December.
Manship, 32, completed his second season with Cleveland in 2016. He delivered a 3.12 ERA, 4.6 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 rate over 43 1/3 innings, a slight decline after posting an 0.92 ERA with the club the year before. During eight years in the major leagues, Manship carries a 4.82 career ERA, 3.6 BB/9 and 6.4 SO/9 in multiple stints with the Twins, Rockies, Phillies and Indians.
The right-hander will be joined by fellow MLB transplants Eric Hacker and Xavier Scruggs, each of whom took one-year deals with the Dinos last month. Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors notes that each KBO team is allowed up to three foreign players, so Manship will round out the trio when he joins the roster. Any salary terms have yet to be disclosed.