The Nationals placed center fielder Rick Ankiel on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained right wrist following last night’s win over the Marlins.
Ankiel hasn’t played since since jamming his wrist while attempting to make some diving catches in the outfield during Monday’s game against the Giants.
An MRI on Ankiel’s wrist came back negative, but Nationals manager Jim Riggleman told Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post that they couldn’t go short-handed on their bench any longer.
“He just is not feeling well enough to hit, and we’re just so short-handed,” Riggleman said. “Morse is kind of limping around. We just can’t continue to go a man short. We just got to get a healthy body and let Rick Ankiel get healthy.”
Ankiel, who signed a one-year, $1.5 million contract over the winter, is batting .221/.302/.288 with one home run, seven RBI and a .590 OPS over his first 118 plate appearances this season, including a .203 clip over 74 at-bats against right-handed pitching.
Roger Bernadina was recalled from Triple-A Syracuse to replace Ankiel on the active roster and has a legitimate chance to take away the starting center field job.
Free agent left-hander Rich Hill is rumored to be entertaining a three-year, $40+ million offer from the Dodgers, reports Peter Gammons. The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo corroborated the report, adding that Hill could receive somewhere between $46 and $48 million from his former team.
Hill, 36, pitched to a 2.12 ERA and 3.91 FIP in back-to-back stints with the Athletics and Dodgers in 2016. While a chronic case of blisters on his pitching hand limited the frequency of his starts, he still figures to be one of the most productive and noteworthy starting pitchers on the market this winter.
The Orioles, Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers and Astros have all been mentioned as potential suitors for the left-hander’s services, though Orioles’ GM Dan Duquette said the club has yet to make a play for Hill and ESPN’s Jim Bowden pointed out that the Red Sox are less involved in trade talks than other interested parties.
In light of the Astros’ deal for veteran designated hitter Carlos Beltran on Saturday, the Yankees are thought to be intensifying their pursuit of free agent Edwin Encarnacion, reports Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. The Yankees never made an official offer to Beltran, but remain in need of a DH/first baseman to give them a little more power outside of a Tyler Austin–Greg Bird combo in 2017.
The Red Sox, on the other hand, are reportedly withdrawing their interest when it comes to the Encarnacion sweepstakes. According to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, they will look for a hitter to beef up their lineup without taking a “big plunge” on the 34-year-old.
Encarnacion enjoyed another All-Star run with the Blue Jays in 2016, hitting at a .263/.357/.529 clip with 42 homers and a league-leading 127 RBI in 702 PA. He’s expected to command a significant contract in free agency, and agent Paul Kinzer said that a potential deal is unlikely to be finalized before the Winter Meetings as Encarnacion is not close to agreeing to any offer. Interested teams include the Blue Jays and the Astros, though Beltran’s signing appears to have effectively taken Houston out of the running for the slugger.