Jose Bautista hit an infield popup in the fourth inning of yesterday’s White Sox-Blue Jays game and got mad at himself over it. The man pitching at the time was John Danks and he didn’t like the way Bautista handled himself. They jawed at one another after Bautista slammed his bat down while running out the popup:
“I just told him to run the bases. He was out there acting like a clown. He’s had a great year and a half — no doubt. He’s one of the best players in the league. But he’s out there acting like he’s Babe Ruth or something. Just the way he was acting. He ran halfway down the line and stopped and spiked his bat. I get it. He’s upset at himself. He’s a good hitter, he’s had a great couple years. But he isn’t that good to be acting like he needs to hit every ball out of the ballpark.”
Hey, we should defer to Danks here. He’s 0-8 with a 5.25 ERA and got rocked again yesterday, so if anyone knows how to handle failure, it’s him. We should all take his example when we do a poor job at what we set out to do. Handle it stoically. Have no reaction at all. Who are we to argue with him?
On the other hand, maybe Danks shouldn’t worry too much about how opposing batters who are clearly not setting out to show him up react in these sorts of situations. Is Danks proposing a whole new set of unwritten rules about the proper deportment of ballplayers following a given outcome of a specific play the field? Does he not realize that, in addition to being totally nuts, that Chris Carpenter and Tony La Russa are already chairing that particular committee?
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.
Free agent first baseman James Loney has reportedly signed a minor league deal with the Rangers, per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The deal includes an invite to spring training and a $1 million salary if he makes the major league roster in 2017.
Loney picked up a one-year stint and starting role with the Mets in 2016, slashing .265/.307/.397 with nine home runs in 336 PA. While his numbers were down a hair from the .280/.322/.357 batting line he produced with the Rays in 2015, he provided the Mets with a necessary, if underwhelming upgrade over an injured Lucas Duda through most of the season.
The 32-year-old infielder is expected to have some competition at first base, with at least five other candidates in the mix: Jurickson Profar, Ronald Guzman, Ryan Rua, Joey Gallo and Josh Hamilton. Rumor has it that the team is planning on platooning Rua and Profar in 2017, barring any impressive breakouts or injuries during spring training, though Loney could still provide the club with some veteran depth and a decent left-handed bat off the bench.