Yankees send top prospect Jesus Montero to Triple-A

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Jesus Montero was included among the Yankees cuts yesterday, with the 21-year-old stud catching prospect being optioned to Triple-A.

For some reason there are mainstream media members who should know better acting as if his not making the team out of spring training is an indictment of Montero’s long-term upside or a change of plans by the Yankees, but it seems highly unlikely that general manager Brian Cashman and company ever planned on putting an elite 21-year-old prospect in a backup role that may lead to just a couple starts per week.

For one thing he needs to be playing every day wherever he is and for another thing Montero’s defense behind the plate gets mixed reviews at best. Giving him an extended look in spring training before sending him to Triple-A is exactly what everyone should have expected to happen.

In addition to Montero being assigned to Triple-A fellow top catching prospect Austin Romine was assigned to Double-A, leaving Gustavo Molina as the backup to starter Russell Martin (with Jorge Posada around as an emergency option). Molina is replacement-level at best, so the Yankees will likely be scouring the waiver wire for a better option before Opening Day.

Noah Syndergaard scratched with a “tired arm”

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Mets manager Terry Collins says that he has scratched Noah Syndergaard, who was supposed to start this afternoon’s game against the Braves. In his place will go Matt Harvey.

Syndergaard, Collins says, has “tired arm.” But also says he has some discomfort in his right biceps. He will have an MRI, but Syndergaard says it’s not serious and that he could pitch as soon as Sunday. Collins says this is an abundance-of-caution type thing, saying “we can’t take a chance on this guy.” Which is true.

The Mets ace is 1-1 with a 1.73 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 26 innings. He has walked no one this year. Not a soul.

James Paxton has a fantastic new nickname

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James Paxton of the Mariners is 3-0 with a 1.39 ERA, 39 strikeouts and only six walks in 32.1 innings of work over five starts. Last night he shut the Tigers down, tossing seven shutout innings, striking out nine and allowing only four hits. With Felix Hernandez looking less than king-like lately, Paxton is asserting himself as the new ace of the Seattle staff.

And now the tall Canadian native has a nickname to match his ace-like status:

“Pax was really outstanding and we certainly needed it,” manager Scott Servais said of the Canadian southpaw. “Big Maple is what he was nicknamed tonight and I kind of like that. He was awesome.”

“Big Maple” is a fantastic nickname. That’s the sort of nickname guys used to get back when nicknames were great. Before managers just put “y” at the end of dudes’ names and before the “First Initial-First Three Letters of The Last Name” convention took hold in the wake of A-Rod.

“Big Maple.” That makes me smile. I’m gonna be smiling all dang day because of that.