UPDATE: I guess I jumped the gun earlier when I said that the Manny-to-the-White Sox thing was a done deal as a straight waiver claim, because it’s only within the last few minutes that all of the reputable reporters are saying it’s confirmed. Maybe I dreamed it all.
Also, Nightengale has now backtracked from his earlier report: Manny was waiting for the deal to be finalized before leaving for Cleveland. He will still join the team sometime tonight, but won’t make it in time to be in the lineup.
11:03 A.M.: Bob Nightengale just tweeted that Manny Ramirez is en route to Cleveland as we speak and thus should be in the lineup for tonight’s White Sox-Indians matchup.
It will be cute to see national writers try to jam in some “Manny-returns-to-Cleveland” angle to this. Indians fans really don’t care much about him anymore. He left there after the 2000 season, for crying out loud. That’s ancient history for Indians fans. Sandy Alomar, Chuck Finley, Charles Nagy and David Justice played on that team. It was, like, 110 Manny-years ago.
By the way, it’s been confirmed that the transaction to send Ramirez to Chicago was a straight waiver claim deal with nothing going back to Los Angeles other than the salary relief Manny’s one month and change away from the team will bring.
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.