A bit of welcome news here from Dan Martin of the New York Post.
Mets outfielder Jason Bay, who has been on the 15-day disabled list since the start of the regular season, is scheduled to take live batting practice Sunday afternoon for the first time since suffering a late-spring intercostal muscle strain.
Bay has been working out down at the Mets’ spring training complex in Port St. Lucie, Florida for the past week. He took hacks in a batting cage Saturday and also ran through some drills.
“He hit in the cage, soft tossed and hit off a tee,” manager Terry Collins said Saturday afternoon. “[On Sunday], he’ll take batting practice off one of the coaches. It’s step two of the process.”
The Mets are hoping that Bay will be ready to return to the major leagues within the next 10 days. He batted .333 with a .404 on-base percentage, four home runs and 10 RBI across 53 at-bats this spring.
Infielder Brett Lawrie successfully avoided arbitration and signed a one-year contract with the White Sox on Friday, per a team announcement. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman added that the deal was for $3.5 million, significantly lower than the $4.125 million Lawrie was paid by the White Sox in 2016.
The White Sox acquired Lawrie last December in a swap for minor league arms Zack Erwin and J.B. Wendelken. After splitting time at second and third base for the Athletics in 2015, Lawrie slotted in at second base and DH for the White Sox and batted .248/.310/.413 with 12 home runs in 384 PA. While it’s strange to see a healthy, fairly productive player receive a salary reduction in arbitration, Lawrie missed nearly half of the season with a strain in his left hamstring, though he’s projected to return at full health by the start of the 2017 season.
Left-hander Brian Duensing signed a one-year, $2 million contract with the Cubs on Friday, per a report from FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman.
The free agent spent the bulk of his 2016 season with the Orioles after receiving a call-up from Triple-A Norfolk in early June. He underwent elbow surgery several weeks later when a freak bullpen injury revealed cartilage chips and inflammation in his pitching elbow, but recovered to finish the season with a 4.05 ERA and 10 strikeouts in 13 1/3 innings for the club. The Orioles utilized him for a final out during the AL Wild Card game, during which Duensing recorded a five-pitch strikeout in the ninth inning of their 5-2 loss to the Blue Jays.
The 33-year-old is currently expected to bulk up the Cubs’ left-handed relief corps, with fellow left-hander Mike Montgomery slated for the rotation in 2017.