Rays shortstop Jason Bartlett a DL candidate

Leave a comment

bartlett headshot.jpgManager Joe Maddon said Tuesday that it’s a “50-50 proposition” whether shortstop Jason Bartlett will land on the disabled list because of right hamstring soreness.
Bartlett has been slumping and was recently dropped from first to last in Tampa Bay’s lineup, so a break might not be the worst thing. He’s hitting just .231/.327/.330 this season after posting what might go down as his career year in 2009, when he finished at .320/.389/.490 in 500 at-bats.
Filling in for Bartlett during his absence will be Reid Brignac. The 24-year-old Brignac was long considered the Rays’ shortstop of the future, but that began to change with another somewhat disappointing campaign in Triple-A last year and Bartlett’s big season. Brignac, though, has hit an impressive .306/.364/.454 in 108 at-bats as a part-time player for the Rays this year.
Moving Brignac from second base, where he’s been getting a lot of time of late, to shortstop, still opens up a hole in the lineup, though. The Rays would have the option of going with Ben Zobrist regularly at second base, creating room in the outfield for top prospect Desmond Jennings. However, Jennings, who missed the start of the year with a wrist injury, is hitting just .245/.343/.319 in 30 games for Triple-A Durham.
Instead, the Rays would probably mix and match Gabe Kapler and Sean Rodriguez between right field and second base for a little while. Veteran utilityman Joe Dillon would be one candidate to replace Bartlett on the roster.

Ichiro Suzuki tops Rickey Henderson as the oldest starting center fielder

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Marlins’ outfielder Ichiro Suzuki set a new record for the club on Sunday afternoon, and all he had to do was take the field. The 43-year-old made his second start of the year in center field, becoming the oldest starting center fielder in Major League Baseball since 1900.

Suzuki made his first start in center field back on May 6, but came 15 days shy of beating the record Rickey Henderson established in 2002 when he patrolled center field at a sprightly 43 years and 211 days old. During Sunday’s series finale against the Cubs, Suzuki’s 43 years and 246 days set a new record for aging outfielders.

Naturally, Ichiro commemorated his moment in history by doing what he does best — proving that age is just a number. He reached on a fielding error by Addison Russell in the first inning and came home to score on a Marcell Ozuna RBI single to pad the Marlins’ three-run lead. His defense wasn’t too shabby, either, as he gloved a shallow fly ball in the second inning to bail Edinson Volquez out of a bases-loaded jam.

The Marlins currently lead 3-2 in the seventh.

Indians sign Michael Martinez to minor league deal

Getty Images
Leave a comment

There’s something irresistible about Michael Martinez, at least where the Indians are concerned. Six weeks after parting ways with the utility infielder/outfielder, the Indians re-signed Martinez for the fifth time in three years, committing to a minor league contract that will see the 34-year-old in Triple-A Columbus this week. He was designated for assignment by the Rays last Thursday after slashing just .077/.172/.077 through his first 29 PA with the club.

Martinez bounced around the American League last season, logging four games with the Red Sox after the Indians jettisoned him in a trade for cash considerations. He returned to Cleveland on waivers and finished the year with a cumulative .238/.267/.307 batting line, contributing one home run and a .574 OPS in just 106 PA. He found more consistency in the minors, touting a .288 average, 11 extra-base hits and 12 RBI in 114 PA for Triple-A Columbus last season, but didn’t receive enough playing time to develop his stuff at the big league level.

Martinez will rejoin fellow infielders Chris Colabello, Nellie Rodriguez, Josh Wilson, Ronny Rodriguez, Todd Hankins, Yandy Diaz, Eric Stamets and Giovanny Urshela on the Clippers’ roster.