UPDATE: 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
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.
The Reds announced earlier that they plan to extend the protective netting at Great American Ball Park in time for Opening Day next season. You can add the Padres and Mariners to what will surely be a growing list.
A young fan was struck in the face by a foul ball at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday, which gave new life to the netting debate. Some fans and media types think Major League Baseball is not doing enough to protect fans. While Major League Baseball has issued guidelines for protective netting, it is ultimately up to the teams to decide just how much netting to use.
Orioles closer Zach Britton is likely done for the remainder of the 2017 season after receiving a stem cell injection in his left knee, Peter Schmuck and Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun report. Britton has been battling knee problems for most of the season.
The Orioles are still technically in the AL Wild Card race, entering play Thursday 5.5 games behind the Twins for the second Wild Card slot. With only nine games remaining, however, the 73-80 Orioles are likely being realistic about their chances and not taking any unnecessary risks with Britton.
Britton, 29, put up a 2.89 ERA with 15 saves and a 29/18 K/BB ratio in 37 1/3 innings this season. He will be eligible for arbitration for the fourth and final time this offseason.