Yesterday I presumed, based on some comments from Bob Watson, that umpire Joe West was going to get disciplined over his recent antics. Last night Jeff Passan of Yahoo! confirmed it. West might even get suspended:
A source said the league plans to suspend or fine West, one of its
most tenured umpires, after he solicited reporters this week to talk
about the controversy he created in April when he called the New York
Yankees and Boston Red Sox “pathetic and embarrassing” because of their
long game times.
Between West dredging up a subject MLB was peeved he addressed in
public in the first place, and the fallout from his ejections of Chicago
White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen and pitcher Mark Buehrle on Wednesday,
his behavior reached a tipping point for baseball officials. MLB
reprimanded West during a phone conversation Thursday and will continue
to consult with the World Umpires Assocation – of which West is
president – to determine the severity of his punishment.
I would have hoped that the “tipping point” would have come before the whole deal about West having his publicist solicit the media — he’d already done enough in my mind — but whatever it took Major League Baseball to get on this case, good for them finally getting on it. Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.
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.