At this point I’m thinking that there had to have been a memo sent out to all the umpires that acting all insecure and combative is the new thing to do because it happened again yesterday, this time involving home plate umpire Mike Eastabrook.
Zack Grekine threw a pitch that both he and catcher Jason Kendall thought was a strike (and, based on the video looked like a strike). Kendall obviously said something, but it’s not like he made a scene about it. Catchers and umps go back and forth on this stuff all the time.
Estabrook, however, didn’t appear too comfortable with that because he walked around Kendall — who was back in his crouch — bent over and started to jaw with him in a manner that suggested he was giving Kendall the “you talkin’ to ME?” thing. Kendall didn’t take the obvious bait. At that point Ned Yost came out to protect his catcher, got into it with Estabrook and was ejected with about 57% more theatrical flourish than you normally see in such situations.
Kendall after the game: “He got in my face, and it was unprofessional what he did.”
“The catcher will say something but he never turns his head back, and
the umpire will usually jaw back and stay right behind him. And that’s fine. That’s how they handle things. But to step out in
front and make a bit of a scene isn’t right . . . I’ll never let an umpire show up one of my players, and that’s exactly
what he was doing.”
I’m 100% on Yost’s and Kendalls’ side here. I have no idea why umpires have been acting out the way they’ve been lately, but they’re making utter fools of themselves.
Make a call. Stick with it. When someone jaws at you about it, simply say “That’s my call. Now let’s play ball.” How hard is that?
(thanks to reader Richard D. for the heads up)
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.