Texas Rangers v San Francisco Giants, Game 2

How about that Edgar Renteria?

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I would have been mildly surprised if, before the series, you told me that the Giants would be up 2-0.  I would have been a bit more surprised if you would have told me that the Giants would be up 2-0 because Cliff Lee got lit up in Game 1.  But I would have been most surprised if you told me that a big part of the Giants being up 2-0 was because Edgar Renteria has been playing incredible baseball.  Really, that wouldn’t have computed.

As you saw last night, Renteria hit a solo homer off C.J. Wilson in the fifth inning and hit a two-run single in the eighth.  On Wednesday he was one for three and scored a couple of runs.  Each night he played some pretty darn solid shortstop, with the only blemish being a dropped throw when Buster Posey tried to cut down a runner last night.

More than anything, though, is that he has looked downright spry out there.  Intense, even. I don’t mean to disparage him or anything, but “intense” is not a word you could have used to describe Renteria’s play for the past several years.  He’s a guy who has talked openly of retirement recently. Who has business and charitable interests in Colombia that occupy him more and more as time goes on (he really is a big deal there).  He sat an awful lot in the second half of the season and it would have surprised no one if he all but disappeared as the playoffs got underway.

But he hasn’t. He’s been pretty awesome, actually. And I suppose him sitting so much in the second half has a lot to do with that. I mean, those [ahem] “35-year-old” bones probably needed the rest.  And even if Bruce Bochy never figured that Renteria was going to be an important part of the Giants’ championship push, the rest has done them wonders.

Renteria may still retire after this season. But if he does, it’s nice to see him go out looking a bit more like the exciting player we met as a Florida Marlin than the aging vet he has appeared to be these past few years.

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.