Ian Kinsler to begin season on disabled list

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Ian Kinsler hasn’t played since suffering a high-ankle sprain on March 11 and MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan reports that the All-Star second baseman will begin the season on the disabled list.
Because the Rangers can backdate Kinsler’s trip to the disabled list he’ll be eligible to return on April 10, but high-ankle sprains can be a tricky injury and he’s no sure thing to be ready by then.
“Our goal is to win the American League West,” assistant general manager Thad Levine told Sullivan. “Ian Kinsler will play a huge part in us accomplishing that goal. We are also well aware of the length of the season. We are not [trying] to get him out there early in the season and cost us more games later in the season.”
Earlier this week the Rangers acquired light-hitting infielder Andres Blanco from the Cubs for a player to be named later or cash, and he could be thrust into the lineup as Kinsler’s replacement at second base early on. Joaquin Arias and non-roster invitees Esteban German and Gregorio Petit are other potential fill-ins.

Mets sign Matt Purke to minors deal

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The Mets signed left-hander Matt Purke to a minor league deal, the team announced Friday. Purke will also receive an invitation to spring training, where he could presumably beef up the club’s left-handed relief options alongside Jerry Blevins and Josh Smoker.

Purke has not appeared in the majors since 2016, when he was used in a dozen relief appearances by the White Sox. The 27-year-old racked up a 5.50 ERA, 6.0 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 in his first 18 innings with the team, and was demoted to Triple-A Charlotte in June to finish out the season. He spent the entire 2017 season in Triple-A as well, showing more promise with a 3.84 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 11.0 SO/9 in 48 appearances.

While Purke may not amount to much more than a depth piece in New York’s ‘pen, the veteran lefty figures to be part of the Mets’ new bullpen-first strategy next year. Reports from MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo indicate that the club will be focusing on improving their relief options in order to ease the workload of their starting pitchers, and will likely add a few more arms before the offseason comes to a close.