Read the stuff about the Yankees rotation and you’d think that they were the first team to ever be a tad short on starters before. The tell: every time they face a half-decent one, there are stories about how that guy could fit in the Yankees rotation:
Yesterday at Osceola County Stadium against the Astros, the Yankees got a look at Brett Myers, a 30-year-old right-hander who may not be what he was five years ago but has experience and is a strong candidate to be shopped by the Astros, who need players.
Myers isn’t as sexy as Felix Hernandez, Josh Johnson, Francisco Liriano, Chris Carpenter, Carlos Zambrano or Fausto Carmona. Yet, he is 87-71 with a 4.20 career ERA in nine seasons and was 14-8 with a 3.14 ERA a year ago in his first season with the Astros.
It’s the spring. Even teams who don’t stand to go anywhere like the Astros are feeling optimistic and, more importantly, are selling it to their fans. And even the Yankees will want to see where they stand with what they have. No one is trading a front of the rotation starter right now. This is all so much idle covetousness.
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.
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.