It’s a really thin market for middle infielders this winter. So thin that, if your team is in need of a shortstop, you may have come across the name Hiroyuki Nakajima on various message boards, blogs and other, less-reputable parts of the Internet where rumors and speculation flow thick. Nakajima plays for the Seibu Lions, he’s 28, he hits for power and gets on base and he reportedly wants to play in the United States.
But sorry, folks! Seibu has denied his request to be posted, which is the mechanism by which major league teams can pay for the privilege of negotiating with him. You’ll have to spend some time over at the excellent NPB Tracker to understand why this is. My guess, though: shortstops who can hit .300+ with power are just as rare in Japan as they are over here, and the Lions don’t want to part with him.
Nathan Eovaldi hasn’t pitched in a month due to right elbow inflammation, but he told Chad Jennings of the Journal News today that he expects to pitch out of the bullpen if the Yankees advance to the ALDS against the Royals.
Eovaldi was originally expected to throw a 35-pitch bullpen session today, but the Yankees moved up his timetable after the news that CC Sabathia was checking into alcohol rehab. Instead, he threw 10 pitches in a bullpen session before facing hitters for the first time since his injury.
There isn’t enough time for Eovaldi to get stretched out to start during the ALDS, but he could still play an important role for the Yankees, especially with Adam Warren looking like the most likely option to replace Sabathia in the rotation.
Yadier Molina suffered a mild ligament tear in his left thumb on September 20, but the Cardinals announced Monday that they remain “optimistic” he’ll be on the roster for the upcoming NLDS.
Molina visited a hand specialist Monday and Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports that he’ll have a custom splint built in hopes that he’ll be able to hit and catch. He’s still not 100 percent, but even a limited Molina could be better than the alternative. That would be Tony Cruz in this case.
The Cardinals will meet the winner of Wednesday’s Wild Card game between the Cubs and the Pirates. Game 1 of the NLDS will take place Friday at 6:30 p.m. ET in St. Louis.