Grapefruit Wrap: Mets' Davis hits long grand slam

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2008 first-round pick Ike Davis hit a long grand slam in the bottom of the eighth Thursday as the Mets beat the Cardinals 17-11 in early Grapefruit League action.
The bomb made up for an error the previous half-inning that helped the Cardinals score four times and get within one run of the Mets in 11-10.
It was already the second error for Davis this spring, as he failed to get in front of a grounder today. On Tuesday, he let a throw get by him at first base. Davis, though, has gone 4-for-6 with two walks at the dish as he attempts to give the Mets something to think about at first base. Daniel Murphy is currently penciled in at the position.
The game also featured homers from David Wright and the Cards’ Ryan Ludwick. It was a sloppy contest, with Omir Santos at one point getting credit for a two-run single after a 35-foot popup down the first-base line. Of the 10 pitchers used by the teams, just one, the Mets’ Sean Green, is slated to begin the season in the majors, and he was actually charged with four runs — two earned — in two-thirds of an inning.
Other notes:
– Roy Halladay and CC Sabathia turned in two scoreless innings apiece as the Phillies and Yankees faced off in a much-hyped World Series rematch.
OK, that’s probably stretching it. The Phillies won 3-2 after both teams scored two runs in the ninth. Wilson Valdez had the infield single in the bottom of the ninth that ended it.


– The Astros beat a Nationals split-squad 15-5 behind a pair of homers from Hunter Pence. He also doubled, and he finished with four RBI.
– The Marlins topped the Nats’ other split-squad 10-4, with a couple of prospects playing key roles. Bryan Peterson homered and scored three times, while first-base hopeful Logan Morrison tripled in three runs.
– The Rays, avenging a 12-2 loss on Wednesday, edged the Orioles 6-5, with Sean Rodriguez hitting his second homer in as many days. Orioles starter Brian Matusz fanned four, but those were the only outs he recorded as his pitch count caused him to be lifted in the second. He allowed two runs, one of which was earned.
– Young catcher J.P. Arencibia hit a tiebreaking homer in the top of the ninth as the Jays prevailed over the Tigers 9-7. Unfortunately, the game wasn’t televised, because it would have been really nice to see how Tigers pitchers Rick Porcello (perfect for 2 IP), Max Scherzer (3 ER, 6 H in 2 IP), Dontrelle Willis (0 R, 2 K in 2 IP) and Armando Galarraga (4 ER in 1 IP) looked in their spring debuts.
Also notable is that Austin Jackson, who is slated to lead off for the Tigers, had a very nice game, with a single and two walks in three plate appearances.
– The Braves defeated the Pirates 4-2, even though Jason Heyward went 0-for-2 with a HBP to send his average plummeting from .667 to .400. Then again, he still outshined fellow top prospect Pedro Alvarez, who went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts for the Pirates.

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.