Hired as the Dodgers’ manager despite having zero actual managerial experience, Don Mattingly headed to the Arizona Fall League to get some games under his belt skippering the Phoenix Desert Dogs.
And as Scott Merkin of MLB.com writes, he ran out of pitchers in a blowout loss yesterday.
The game was originally ruled a forfeit after the top of the eighth inning ended, but then the statistics amassed would not have counted. A decision was made by the AFL to call this game due to a lack of pitching in order to avoid extending any fall league pitcher and lessen the chance for injury. The move came after Mattingly met with the umpiring crew on the field before the bottom of the eighth, and the crew then talked with Saguaros manager Ted Simmons.
Things were going OK until the seventh inning, when Dodgers prospect Steven Ames came into the game and allowed all seven batters he faced to reach base. Mattingly then used two other pitchers to get out of the inning, at which point the bullpen was apparently empty with six outs still to record.
Not exactly what Dodgers fans were hoping for as Mattingly tries to learn on the job, particularly after he had two embarrassing gaffes this season while managing following a Joe Torre ejection, allowing the team to bat out of order and being forced to remove closer Jonathan Broxton following an accidental visit to the mound.
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.
Free agent first baseman James Loney has reportedly signed a minor league deal with the Rangers, per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The deal includes an invite to spring training and a $1 million salary if he makes the major league roster in 2017.
Loney picked up a one-year stint and starting role with the Mets in 2016, slashing .265/.307/.397 with nine home runs in 336 PA. While his numbers were down a hair from the .280/.322/.357 batting line he produced with the Rays in 2015, he provided the Mets with a necessary, if underwhelming upgrade over an injured Lucas Duda through most of the season.
The 32-year-old infielder is expected to have some competition at first base, with at least five other candidates in the mix: Jurickson Profar, Ronald Guzman, Ryan Rua, Joey Gallo and Josh Hamilton. Rumor has it that the team is planning on platooning Rua and Profar in 2017, barring any impressive breakouts or injuries during spring training, though Loney could still provide the club with some veteran depth and a decent left-handed bat off the bench.