Jim Tracy on Ian Stewart: “He’s either going to play his way in or play his way off the team”

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Demoting their starting third baseman of the past two seasons to Triple-A because of a bad first two weeks was a pretty strong indication that the Rockies have soured on Ian Stewart and yesterday manager Jim Tracy made that even more obvious.

When asked why Stewart batted eighth in the Rockies’ lineup, Tracy told Troy Renck of the Denver Post:

I don’t want Ian to hit eighth. But unfortunately he’s not giving me much choice. We are getting to the point with him that’s it time for him to fish or cut bait. He’s either going to play his way in or play his way off the team.

There’s no spinning how bad Stewart has been this season, going 3-for-41 (.073) with 17 strikeouts, but 41 horrendous at-bats are still just 41 at-bats and he came into the season as a 26-year-old with a .782 OPS in 1,282 plate appearances.

At this point it might be best for everyone involved if the Rockies find a trade for Stewart.

Report: Shohei Ohtani has sprained UCL in pitching elbow

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The Angels signed Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani for a $2.3 million signing bonus last weekend. They may have damaged goods on their hands. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that Ohtani underwent a physical that revealed a first-degree sprain of his ulnar collateral ligament. As a result, he got a platelet-rich plasma injection on October 20. This was made known to teams after Ohtani entered MLB’s posting system, so it wasn’t like the Angels went into this blind.

Ohtani’s report said, “Although partial damage of UCL in deep layer of his right UCL exists, he is able to continue full baseball participation with sufficient elbow care program.” It also said Ohtani “will most likely be available to start his throwing program approximately a month from the PRP.”

Passan notes that the report also mentioned that a “small free body” floats in Ohtani’s elbow near his UCL.

Ohtani isn’t without other injuries. He battled hamstring and ankle issues throughout 2017 and underwent right ankle surgery back in October. Thankfully for the Angels, this diagnosis is about as good as it could be considering the circumstances. However, if Ohtani does exacerbate his UCL issue, he may ultimately need Tommy John surgery at some point, which would take him out of action for at least a year.