UPDATE: Reds keeping an eye on Matthews Jr.?

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matthews headshot.JPGUPDATE: A Reds source told the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Fay late Thursday evening that the club has “zero” interest in Matthews Jr.  Here is Fay’s tweet from moments ago:

Reds source on Gary
Matthews Jr.: Zero interest. Listed 5 OFs in camp he’d take over
Matthews.

7:48pm: According to Buster Olney of ESPN.com (via Twitter), the Reds are interested in acquiring outfielder Gary Matthews Jr. if he fails to beat out Angel Pagan for the Mets’ month-long centerfield opening.

Matthews Jr. posted a lousy 697 OPS in 316 at-bats for the Angels last season and was shipped to New York this winter for reliever Brian Stokes.  If he makes the Mets’ final squad, and trumps Pagan, he will man the centerfield position until Carlos Beltran (knee)
returns to the field in May.  If not, Matthews should be able to find ample playing time in Cincinnati.  We’ll have to play the waiting game until late March and see how this one plays out.

Matthews, who turns 36 this season, has hit just .248/.325/.383 since signing a five-year, $50 million contract with Anaheim in November of 2006, but perhaps he’ll fare well with a move back to the National League.

Yoenis Cespedes blames a lack of golf for his early season slump

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Back during the 2015 playoffs the sorts of New York media types who love to find reasons to criticize players for petty reasons decided to criticize Yoenis Cespedes for playing golf the day of a playoff game. The Mets won the series with the Cubs during which the controversy, such as it was, occurred and it was soon dropped.

It was picked back up again in 2016 when Cespedes, while on the disabled list with a strained quad, was seen playing golf. Despite the fact that everyone involved said that golf did not contribute to his injury and that golf would have no impact on his injured quad, it was deemed “a bad look” by a columnist looking to get some mileage out of bashing Cespedes for having a hobby that probably half of all ballplayers share. They did it when he showed off his fancy cars too, by the way, even though just about every ballplayer has a fancy car or three. When you’re a superstar in New York — especially when you’re one with whom the media is not particularly close for various reasons — you’re going to catch hell for seemingly nothing.

Now there’s a new twist to the Cespedes golf saga. Yoenis himself says that his poor start — he’s hitting .195/.258/.354 and leads the league in strikeouts — is due to . . . not enough golf! From the New York Times:

He gave a possible reason for the poor start this weekend: not playing enough golf, a hobby beloved by many baseball players. And, yes, he is serious.

“In previous seasons, one of the things I did when I wasn’t going well was to play golf,” he said after a game on Friday in which he struck out four times but still drove in the go-ahead run in the 12th inning. “This year, I’m not playing golf.”

The story says Cespedes quit golf last summer because he worried that it was contributing to hamstring problems. He’s thinking about going back to it soon, as he thinks it’ll help his swing. Given that he’ll catch hell either way, he may as well do what he wants.