Remember how the Pirates signed those two Indian reality-show winners? Well, they’re back in camp this year, and unlike last spring, which was basically a publicity tour masquerading as baseball, this year they’re pitching and working out just like any other ballplayers. And they’re improving:
The progress between last spring and now is remarkable, Pirates farm
director Kyle Stark said, considering they knew next to nothing when
they arrived. They had a difficult time getting the concept of catching the ball
with the glove, not their bare hands, and the first time a ball was hit
back to one of them during live batting practice, he jumped and screamed
Not bad. It usually takes Pirates prospects two or three years to stop jumping and screaming when the ball comes their way.
The Mets told Jay Bruce that the club plans on having him open the season as the everyday right fielder, Ken Davidoff of the New York Post reports. This comes as no surprise after the Mets failed to get any bites after dangling Bruce as a trade chip. The Mets reportedly wanted a pair of prospects in exchange for Bruce.
With Bruce in right, Yoenis Cespedes back in left, and Curtis Granderson in center, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out. He’ll either warm the bench or head back to Triple-A Las Vegas for regular at-bats.
Bruce, who turns 30 years old in April, had a rough final two months of the 2016 season after joining the Mets in a trade from the Reds. He hit a paltry .219/.294/.391 with eight home runs and 19 RBI in 187 plate appearances. Bruce, apparently, wanted to go anywhere but in New York.
Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels have inked outfielder Eric Young, Jr. to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.
Young, 31, played in just six games and logged one plate appearance in the majors this past season with the Yankees. He last played regularly in 2014. While Young doesn’t do much with the bat, he could provide value as a pinch-runner. He also offers versatility, having played all three outfield positions along with second base.
The Angels have Ben Revere as their fourth outfielder and Jefry Marte behind him, so Young would need to have a very impressive showing in spring training to find a spot on the Angels’ roster.