Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Texas Rangers

Jered Weaver takes arbitration loss in stride … for now

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History suggests that players who lose arbitration hearings don’t stay with the teams that defeated them for long, but Jered Weaver has “no hard feelings” after a three-person panel sided with the Angels last week.

Weaver requested $8.8 million while the Angels countered at $7.365 million and the team came out on top after what Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports was a four-hour hearing.

However, the 28-year-old right-hander doesn’t sound very optimistic about the chances of a long-term contract extension:

From my understanding, talks never went anywhere. I’m open to it. I would love to play for the Angels for a long time. But I don’t want it hanging over my head for the season. Talks are done for now.

Weaver called the hearing “good” and “interesting” and “kind of fun in a way,” so presumably the Angels making a compelling case against his deserving the money he asked for won’t lead to any lingering resentment. At the same time, Weaver did say that “it was one of those things I wish I didn’t have to do, but the game has become very business-oriented and I found out business is business.”

Weaver, whose lack of run support led to a mediocre 13-12 record despite a 3.01 ERA and league-leading 233 strikeouts in 224 innings last season, will be arbitration eligible for the third and final time in 2012. His agent, Scott Boras, has tended to encourage star players to hit the open market as free agents.

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.