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.

Felix Hernandez will miss 3-4 weeks with shoulder bursitis

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Mariners’ right-hander Felix Hernandez is looking at a 3-4 week recovery period, the team announced on Friday. Hernandez has been officially diagnosed with bursitis in his right shoulder after getting pulled from his last start against the Tigers on Tuesday.

It’s not the first shoulder issue the 31-year-old righty has dealt with during his career. Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times notes that Hernandez was previously diagnosed with bursitis during a minor league stint in 2005, several weeks prior to making his major league start for Seattle. This time around, however, the injury is coupled with a few years of not-so-sharp stuff, waning velocity and career-low numbers, and while it’s certainly not a worst-case diagnosis, it seems like greater cause for concern.

Without Felix, the Mariners will keep rolling with James Paxton, Hisashi Iwakuma, Ariel Miranda, Yovani Gallardo and Chase De Jong in their rotation. They’ll also keep Ben Gamel in right field, with starting right fielder Mitch Haniger expected to miss 3-4 weeks after sustaining a Grade 2 strain in his right oblique on Tuesday.

Rays acquire RHP Drew Smith from Tigers

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The Rays acquired minor league reliever Drew Smith from the Tigers on Friday, per a team announcement. The move will close the loop on the trade the two teams began in January for backup outfielder Mikie Mahtook.

Smith, 23, pitched his first full season in Single-A West Michigan in 2016, turning in a 2.96 ERA, 4.3 BB/9 and 11.5 SO/9 in 48 2/3 innings. The right-hander is still several levels away from making any impact on the Rays’ major league roster, but appears to be progressing steadily in two seasons of pro ball and has delivered two runs, four walks and 12 strikeouts in his first 11 2/3 innings at High-A Lakeland this season. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that he’ll be reassigned to the Rays’ High-A Charlotte this week.