Clay Buchholz scratched from final start due to back stiffness

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Clay Buchholz was scratched from his final start of the season today against the Yankees due to lower back stiffness, according to Joe McDonald of ESPNBoston.com.

Because of last night’s rainout, Tim Wakefield will oppose Andy Pettitte in the first game of a day-night doubleheader this afternoon.

Buchholz said he felt his lower back “grab” at him during his normal throwing session Friday, but also admitted that his back has been an issue over the past several starts.

“I would like to throw another [game]. [The back soreness]
has been there for the last five or six starts. It might have something
to do with the cold weather. [Monday in Chicago] was the first cold game
I’ve pitched in a while, and I had a couple of innings I was in the
dugout a little bit longer and then cranked it back up to 100 percent
once I got off the bench. It was one of those that’s in a sensitive
spot.”

Buchholz, 26, wraps up the year with 17-7 record to go along with a 2.33 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP over 28 starts. There was a little bit of intrigue going into his final scheduled start of the season, not only because he had a chance at 18 wins, but also because he could have won the ERA title over Felix Hernandez. For instance, he would have passed King Felix if he managed to pitch five shutout innings. 

Ah well, doesn’t matter now. Still a pretty fantastic season for Buchholz.  

Report: Braves sign Kurt Suzuki

KANSAS CITY, MO - AUGUST 20: Kurt Suzuki #8 of the Minnesota Twins hits against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium on August 20, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
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The Braves reportedly have a deal in place with free agent catcher Kurt Suzuki, per Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that the contract is for one year, $1.5 million with up to $2.5 million in additional incentives.

Suzuki, 33, completed a three-year track with the Twins in 2016, slashing .258/.301/.403 with eight home runs in 373 PA. The veteran backstop likely won’t provide an offensive or defensive upgrade over current starter Tyler Flowers, but should give the Braves some depth at a position they’ve been looking to strengthen since the start of the offseason.

The team has yet to confirm the deal.

Jason Kipnis could join Team Israel for 2017 World Baseball Classic

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Jason Kipnis #22 of the Cleveland Indians throws during batting practice prior to Game Seven of the 2016 World Series against the Chicago Cubs at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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With the 2017 World Baseball Classic around the corner, Team Israel has reportedly reached out to Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, per MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. Tournament rules stipulate that a player’s roster eligibility can be achieved in one of several ways: they were born in the country in question or hold citizenship/permanent legal residence there (or are simply capable of qualifying for citizenship), or one of their parents was born in the country or holds citizenship/permanent legal residence there.

For Kipnis, it’s the latter. Kipnis’ father, Mark Kipnis, is Jewish. That gives Kipnis the status he needs to suit up for Team Israel, despite the fact that he is a practicing Roman Catholic. He has yet to confirm or deny his participation in the competition.

Fifteen players have confirmed for Team Israel so far, including Mets’ infielder/outfielder Ty Kelly and free agents Sam Fuld, Nate Freiman, Jason Marquis and Jeremy Bleich. Per MLB.com’s Chad Thornburg, eight minor leaguers will also appear for the team. Like Kipnis, at least three other major leaguers are eligible for Team Israel’s roster but have yet to accept or decline involvement in the WBC: Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson, Mariners infielder/outfielder Danny Valencia and free agent left-hander Craig Breslow.