I missed this in the recaps, but file this under “wow, that wouldn’t have happened a year or two ago.”
In the seventh inning of the Dodgers-Diamondbacks game, A.J. Hinch decided to
intentionally walk Andre Ethier with two men on in order to load the bases for Manny Ramirez. And it wasn’t like they were setting up the double play. There were two outs. Ramirez, of course, promptly hit a three-run double off the wall, turning a one-run game into a four-run game, and essentially icing it for L.A. And, as Vin Scully notes in the video, Manny’s shot would have been a grand slam in just about any other park.
I know Andre Ethier leads the N.L. in everything at the moment, but I think we’ve reached a point where we’ve discounted Manny Ramirez a bit too much. He’s at .393/.507/.589 on the year.
L.A. has a lot of problems, but they’re only 4.5 out. If 2010 Manny does a reasonable approximation of 2008 Manny, the Dodgers may jump back into this thing yet.
(thanks to Mike Bogen for the heads up on the IBB)
The Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.
Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”
Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”
The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.
There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.
Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.