Rockies sign Willy Taveras to minor league deal

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The Rockies have signed outfielder Willy Taveras to a minor league contract with an invite to spring training, according to the team’s Twitter feed.

This is a homecoming of sorts for Taveras, who batted .320 with a .367 on-base percentage and .748 OPS with the Rockies during the team’s World Series run in 2007. Baseball’s version of a rotten hot potato, this is actually Taveras’ sixth organization in the past year.

He signed with the Nationals last February after being designated for assignment by the A’s, but was released last May after batting .200 over his first 35 at-bats with the club. He had brief minor league stints with the Phillies, Braves and Rangers from there, but didn’t find his way back to the major leagues.

Though the 29-year-old outfielder offers plenty of speed and defensive ability, he has been one of the least productive players at the plate since the start of the 2008 season, putting up a lowly .581 OPS, the lowest during that timespan among players with at least 1,000 plate appearances.

Here’s the ugliness in full detail:

1. Willy Taveras – .581 OPS

2. Cesar Izturis – .596 OPS

3. Jason Kendall – .635 OPS

4. Bobby Crosby – .637 OPS

5. Andy LaRoche – .637 OPS

6. Brendan Ryan – .641 OPS

7. Gerald Laird – .644 OPS

8. Carlos Gomez – .647 OPS

9. Ronny Cedeno – .649 OPS

10. Pedro Feliz – .651 OPS

Good grief. Sorry to ruin your dinner, but this is a boring Monday.

Travis d’Arnaud’s position in Wednesday’s box score read “3B-2B-3B-2B-3B-2B-3B-2B-3B-2B-3B-2B-3B-2B-3B-2B-3B-2B”

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The Mets had to scratch both Jose Reyes and Wilmer Flores an hour before Wednesday’s game against the Yankees due to ribcage injuries, so Travis d'Arnaud — normally a catcher — borrowed David Wright‘s glove and played third base for the first time in his career. He had played some third base in spring training, but as far as an official professional game goes, he’s never been there.

The first two batters the Yankees sent up to the plate in the first inning were left-handed. But when the right-handed Aaron Judge came up, manager Terry Collins swapped second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera with d’Arnaud. It became a thing. The two swapped once more in the first inning, three times in the second, once in the third, five times in the fourth, once in the fifth, three times in the sixth, four times in the seventh, once in the eighth, and twice in the ninth. It worked, as d’Arnaud didn’t have an opportunity to make a play until catching Todd Frazier‘s pop-up for the first out of the ninth inning — as a second baseman. Cabrera had a handful of opportunities, including immediately after having swapped with d’Arnaud.

The Mets lost 5-3. At the plate, d’Arnaud went 0-for-3 with a sacrifice fly. Cabrera was 1-for-4.

Matt Reynolds and Gavin Cecchini are being recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas so the Mets don’t have to do the “3B-2B shenanigans,” as MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo put it, again.

John Lackey stole the first base of his career

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Cubs starter John Lackey stole the first base of his 15-year career on Wednesday against the Reds. Of course, he spent the first 11 and a half years of his career in the American League, where opportunities to bat, let alone attempt to steal a base, were rare. Lackey entered Wednesday having taken 250 plate appearances, reaching base just 31 times on 17 singles, seven doubles, and seven walks for a .134 on-base percentage. One can imagine the 38-year-old is not exactly the swiftest base runner.

Still, Lackey managed to swipe a bag in the fourth inning. He singled with two outs against Homer Bailey. Then, with an 0-1 count on Ben Zobrist, Lackey broke for second even before Bailey began his windup. Tucker Barnhart stood up to alert Bailey that Lackey was running, so Bailey wheeled around and threw to second base, but Lackey slid into the bag easily safe. It wasn’t a pretty slide, but it did the job.

Lackey, however, was picked off of second base by Barnhart later that inning. Bailey threw a 3-2 fastball wide of the strike zone, walking Zobrist. Lackey had wandered too far off of second base, so Barnhart threw behind Lackey and the tag was applied by Zack Cozart. Lackey was called safe initially. The play was reviewed and the ruling on the field was overturned, ending the fourth inning.

Base Ba’al giveth and Base Ba’al taketh away.