Some good news on the Zack Greinke front.
Brewers manager Ron Roenicke told Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel this morning that Greinke played catch yesterday for the first time since being shut down with a fractured rib earlier this month. Specifically, Roenicke said that Greinke “felt great” and “the pain is gone.”
It’s nice to hear he’s making progress, but Greinke will essentially have to start from scratch with his throwing program. As such, Roenicke said last weekend that it’s unlikely he’ll be ready to return by April 16, a date which was previously considered the best-case scenario. Now they’d probably be thrilled to have him back by the end of April.
With Greinke sidelined, the Brewers are expected to decide between Marco Estrada or the newly-acquired Sergio Mitre to fill the void in their starting rotation. The club won’t need a fifth starter for the first time until April 6 against the Braves.
The Braves reportedly have a deal in place with free agent catcher Kurt Suzuki, per Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that the contract is for one year, $1.5 million with up to $2.5 million in additional incentives.
Suzuki, 33, completed a three-year track with the Twins in 2016, slashing .258/.301/.403 with eight home runs in 373 PA. The veteran backstop likely won’t provide an offensive or defensive upgrade over current starter Tyler Flowers, but should give the Braves some depth at a position they’ve been looking to strengthen since the start of the offseason.
The team has yet to confirm the deal.
With the 2017 World Baseball Classic around the corner, Team Israel has reportedly reached out to Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, per MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. Tournament rules stipulate that a player’s roster eligibility can be achieved in one of several ways: they were born in the country in question or hold citizenship/permanent legal residence there (or are simply capable of qualifying for citizenship), or one of their parents was born in the country or holds citizenship/permanent legal residence there.
For Kipnis, it’s the latter. Kipnis’ father, Mark Kipnis, is Jewish. That gives Kipnis the status he needs to suit up for Team Israel, despite the fact that he is a practicing Roman Catholic. He has yet to confirm or deny his participation in the competition.
Fifteen players have confirmed for Team Israel so far, including Mets’ infielder/outfielder Ty Kelly and free agents Sam Fuld, Nate Freiman, Jason Marquis and Jeremy Bleich. Per MLB.com’s Chad Thornburg, eight minor leaguers will also appear for the team. Like Kipnis, at least three other major leaguers are eligible for Team Israel’s roster but have yet to accept or decline involvement in the WBC: Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson, Mariners infielder/outfielder Danny Valencia and free agent left-hander Craig Breslow.