HBT Weekend Wrapup

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  • Things like the A-Rod and Torre drama is the reason why, instead of watching the Yankees-Dodgers game last night, I watched “L.A. Confidential” for the 45th time instead. Have you a valediction, boyo?
  • Brandon Phillips was arrested for reckless driving. I’m not one to rake muck or anything, but in Ohio reckless driving that involves speed alone — as Phillips’ apparently did — is quite often a ticketing offense, not an arresting offense. Usually the cops only take you in for it if they suspect booze or if you caused an accident or if there is some other reason to suspect that you pose a danger to anyone.  None of that appears to be the case with Phillips.  Things that make you go hmmm.
  • Jason Heyward has a sore thumb, which probably explains the express train to blah he’s been on the past few weeks. You got the gig, kid, don’t be a hero. Take some time off.
  • The ump in the Tigers-Braves game admitted he blew the strike call that ended Friday’s game.  Second sighting of the “I kicked that call” construction this year. I had never heard that before Joyce said it, and here it is again. Since then I’ve been using it around the house (i.e. “I kicked the s— out of that omelet this morning,” etc.) I bet I’m not alone.

Buster Olney ends each of his daily columns by saying “and today will be better than yesterday.” I admire his optimism, but I’m gonna level with you: each of you reading these words are one day closer to your death today than than you were yesterday. All your loved ones and pets and stuff too.  Sorry to be a downer like that, but if I can be honest with you on that score, you know I ain’t bull s——- you on the baseball stuff.  In other news, Buster Olney gets invited to a lot more parties than I do.

Now let’s go out there and avoid kicking the s— out of this week!

Mets leaning on Jay Bruce, Neil Walker as Lucas Duda insurance

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MAY 12:  Pinch hitter Lucas Duda #21 of the New York Mets walks back to the dugout after striking out for the first out of the ninth inning against Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on May 12, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  The Dodgers won 5-0.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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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.

Jason Kipnis diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Jason Kipnis #22 of the Cleveland Indians celebrates after scoring a run on a wild pitch thrown by Jon Lester #34 of the Chicago Cubs (not pictured) during the fifth inning in Game Seven of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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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.