Good news here for the Cardinals, who haven’t been getting many breaks in the early going and currently sit three games back of the Reds in the National League Central standings.
According to Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, outfielder Matt Holliday has been cleared to return to action and will be in the Cardinals’ lineup for Sunday afternoon’s series finale in San Francisco.
Holliday underwent an emergency appendectomy on April 2 and early timetables had him missing as much as a month. But the in-shape left fielder felt healthy almost immediately after the procedure and was given clearance Saturday night by team trainers.
Giants outfielder Andres Torres rushed back from an appendectomy in 11 days last year and told reporters after the season that he may have returned too quickly. But these are sort of case-by-base things. Adam Dunn, for instance, is already trying to claw his way back into the Chicago starting lineup despite having his appendix removed just this past Wednesday.
Holliday went 3-for-4 with a home run and two RBI on Opening Day. It’s the only game he’s played thus far.
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.
Free agent first baseman James Loney has reportedly signed a minor league deal with the Rangers, per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The deal includes an invite to spring training and a $1 million salary if he makes the major league roster in 2017.
Loney picked up a one-year stint and starting role with the Mets in 2016, slashing .265/.307/.397 with nine home runs in 336 PA. While his numbers were down a hair from the .280/.322/.357 batting line he produced with the Rays in 2015, he provided the Mets with a necessary, if underwhelming upgrade over an injured Lucas Duda through most of the season.
The 32-year-old infielder is expected to have some competition at first base, with at least five other candidates in the mix: Jurickson Profar, Ronald Guzman, Ryan Rua, Joey Gallo and Josh Hamilton. Rumor has it that the team is planning on platooning Rua and Profar in 2017, barring any impressive breakouts or injuries during spring training, though Loney could still provide the club with some veteran depth and a decent left-handed bat off the bench.