5:26pm: Topkin hears that Navarro has only a bruised nerve in his left leg and should be fine for the start of the season. He’ll sit out the next two or three days of camp.
2:07pm: According to Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times, Rays catcher Dioner Navarro was injured in a collision at home plate on Saturday afternoon and had to be carted off the field. He looked to be in a considerable amount of pain and was motioning toward his left leg while trainers attended to him.
If Navarro has some kind of break or deep bone bruise and is forced to miss the start of the season, Kelly Shoppach will likely handle catching duties all to himself for the early part of April.
Navarro, 26, had a miserable .218/.261/.322 batting line last year with eight homers and 32 RBI in 376 at-bats. He badly needs a bounce-back season and was off to a 6-for-13 start in Grapefruit League play this spring. Shoppach, 30 in April, was brought over from Cleveland in early December for a player to be named later. He batted .214/.335/.399 last year with 12 home runs and 40 RBI in 271 at-bats.
Mets’ left-hander Steven Matz will miss his Grapefruit League appearance on Monday after experiencing soreness in his left elbow, according to a report by Mike Puma of the New York Post. Matz reportedly first felt discomfort in his elbow on Wednesday after pitching four innings against the Marlins, but a medical evaluation revealed no structural damage.
Still, it’s unsettling news for the 25-year-old, who is coming off of an injury-riddled 2016 season. Matz pitched to a 3.40 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 8.8 SO/9 during his sophomore campaign with the Mets, but his success was hampered by a bevy of shoulder and elbow issues that culminated in season-ending surgery to remove bone spurs from his left elbow.
Comments from Mets’ GM Sandy Alderson indicated that while the club doesn’t believe anything is significantly wrong with Matz’s elbow this time around, the setback could have an impact on his chances of cracking the Opening Day roster. Until he’s cleared to return to the mound, the club is expected to take a longer look at rotation candidates Robert Gsellman, Zack Wheeler and Seth Lugo.
Dodgers’ left fielder Andrew Toles crushed his first spring training home run on Saturday afternoon. With the bases loaded and a two-run deficit hanging over their heads in the fourth inning, Toles stepped up to the plate against Oakland right-hander Jesse Hahn and unloaded a grand slam on the second pitch he saw.
Third baseman Justin Turner was quick to follow up with a solo jack of his own, bringing the score to a comfortable 7-4 lead by the end of the fourth. Another three-run outburst in the fifth and an eighth-inning RBI single by Austin Barnes raised the final score to 11-6… which, coincidentally, was the same score the Reds used to defeat the Athletics’ second split-squad lineup on Saturday (albeit with a few more RBI walks than grand slams).
Toles, 24, is approaching his sophomore season with the Dodgers in 2017. He slashed .314/.365/.505 with three home runs and an .870 OPS in his first major league season in 2016 and is expected to platoon with the right-handed Franklin Gutierrez in left field this year.