UPDATE: Langosch notes that Vazquez wasn’t actually released, just designated for assignment. The Pirates now have 10 days to find a trade partner for him or grant him his release. He can also accept an assignment to Triple-A Indianapolis.
2:33pm: Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports (and MLB.com’s Jen Langosch confirms) that the Pirates have released infielder Ramon Vazquez.
The 33-year-old strung together an ugly .176/.243/.176 batting line in 34 at-bats this spring with zero extra-base hits and seven strikeouts. He was thought to be in line for a utility infield spot this season, but the Bucs have opted to fill their bench with guys like outfielder John Raynor, and infielders Delwyn Young and Bobby Crosby.
Vazquez is a .254 career hitter with a 678 OPS and will have a difficult time finding a spot on a big league roster with Opening Night just hours away.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis tweeted on Sunday, “Got a little too close to [Francisco Lindor] during the celebration!! Freak accident but should be good to go by Tuesday! #cantkeepmeoutofthisgame!”
Per MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian, manager Terry Francona said Kipnis is dealing with a low ankle sprain, but he’s expected to be ready to go when the World Series begins on Tuesday. Kipnis went through fielding drills on Sunday.
Kipnis is hitting .167/.219/.367 with a pair of homers and four RBI in eight games this postseason.
Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports reports that Indians manager Terry Francona has set his starting rotation for the first three games of the World Series against the Cubs. Corey Kluber will start Game One, followed by Trevor Bauer and Josh Tomlin for Games Two and Three, respectively.
Kluber, the ace of the staff, has had a terrific postseason. He’s made three starts with a 0.98 ERA and a 20/7 K/BB ratio in 18 1/3 innings. The Indians won two of his starts — Game Two of the ALDS and Game 1 of the ALCS.
Bauer was unable to make it out of the first inning of his ALCS Game 3 start against the Blue Jays after the stitches on his pinky opened up and caused blood to pour out. He suffered the injury repairing one of his drones, which he builds as a hobby. Bauer insists he’ll be good to go in Game Two, though he also insisted that the injury wouldn’t be an impediment against the Jays.
Tomlin has made two solid starts for the Indians, allowing a total of three runs over 10 2/3 innings. The Indians won both games he started, Game 3 of the ALDS and Game 2 of the ALCS. MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian notes that if Bauer can’t go in Game Two, Tomlin will be moved up to start in his place.