The Cardinals received good news Thursday evening on all three of their starting outfielders.
Colby Rasmus returned to center field and doubled in an afternoon victory over the Astros, left fielder Matt Holliday has been cleared of his quad discomfort and is expected to return Friday, and right fielder Lance Berkman underwent an MRI on his wrist that ruled out ligament damage.
That all comes from ESPN 101’s Brian Stull.
The Cardinals have featured one of baseball’s most productive outfields this season. Rasmus has an .855 OPS and 32 runs scored, Holliday is batting an MVP-like .357/.444/.557 with 28 RBI, and Berkman has a stunning .349/.455/.683 slash line with 11 home runs and 35 RBI.
Rasmus and Holliday should be able to play all three games of the Cardinals’ upcoming interleague weekend series against the Royals. Berkman is likely to return to the starting lineup by early next week.
The Braves reportedly have a deal in place with free agent catcher Kurt Suzuki, per Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that the contract is for one year, $1.5 million with up to $2.5 million in additional incentives.
Suzuki, 33, completed a three-year track with the Twins in 2016, slashing .258/.301/.403 with eight home runs in 373 PA. The veteran backstop likely won’t provide an offensive or defensive upgrade over current starter Tyler Flowers, but should give the Braves some depth at a position they’ve been looking to strengthen since the start of the offseason.
The team has yet to confirm the deal.
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.