Pirates prospect catcher Tony Sanchez was just named to represent the organization in next month’s All-Star Futures Game, but his appearance could be in jeopardy after he was hit in the left cheek by a pitch while playing for High-A Bradenton on Tuesday, according to Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Kovacevic originally reported that the injury was not considered serious, however he writes in a follow-up tweet that a new scan of the catcher’s left cheek showed two possible fractures. The team has yet to make an official announcement on the extent of his injury.
Sanchez, 22, was selected out of Boston College as the No. 4 overall pick in last year’s First-Year Player Draft. Though he is more highly-regarded for his defense behind the plate, he’s no slouch with the bat, either. He hit .309/.409/.539 in his first taste of pro ball last season and entered play on Tuesday with a .314/.414/.454 triple-slash to go along with four home runs and 35 RBI over his first 207 at-bats with High-A Bradenton this season.
Sanchez was ranked as the organization’s No. 3 prospect by Baseball America over the winter.
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.