HBT Weekend Wrapup

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Things you missed while you restrained yourself from killing perspective-free Ohio State football fans who actually had the gall to worry — after a 73-20 victory over some Directional U. — that “the defense just didn’t have the intensity it needs.” Or maybe that was just me. Columbus in the fall is worse than New York in the summer. Sure, some Yankees fans may get bent out of shape if the team doesn’t go 162-0, but at least they don’t expect 162 shutouts:

  • Jeff Francoeur hit his 100th home run. This story reminds me of those “he’s determined to finish what he started stories” about the guy who takes a week to complete the New York Marathon or something, only far, far less inspiring.
  • Baseball’s second-in-command is being forced out. I’m pretty sure DuPuy is part of, like, six different “blue ribbon panels” and “independent commissions” and what have you that Selig set up years ago in order to punt tough decisions he didn’t want to make. This either means that we may, for example, hear something about the A’s future sometime soon. Or it may mean that new commission members have to be appointed and 18 more months added to the studies so that they may get up to speed.
  • The Phillies and Mets got all snippy at each other. It’s cute how they think these games matter for something.
  • Tim Lincecum rejected a baseball in the Giants-Rockies game he perceived had not been subjected to the Coors Field humidor. And they say drugs dull the senses.
  • The Rangers clinched the right to lose in the first round of the playoffs to the AL East champion.
  • If effing with people was an Olympic sport, Ozzie Guillen would have medal-laden pictures of himself on the cover of Sports Illustrated like he was Mark Spitz or something.
  • Bob Brenly takes himself out of the running for the Cubs gig. A gig that I figure he’d have about a 0.02% chance of getting in the first place. He probably knew that, and rightfully figured that it would be better to “take himself out of the running” than to be seen as being passed over for the job.

And now, let us begin the last week of the regular season.

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.