Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports heard from a source late Wednesday evening that Red Sox right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka is considering undergoing Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery following his visit this week with Dr. Lewis Yocum.
According to Brown’s source, the Los Angeles-based Yocum found a “significant tear” in Matsuzaka’s throwing elbow and recommended the procedure. Dice-K will meet with the Red Sox front office and medical staff before any decisions are made.
The 30-year-old signed a six-year, $52 million contract with the Red Sox in December of 2006 after Boston paid the Seibu Lions over $51 million for exclusive negotiating rights. He’s making $10 million this season and is owed another $10 million in 2012.
If Matsuzaka undergoes Tommy John surgery, there’s a chance he won’t return before the end of that deal. Recovery times vary, but it can often take over 15 months for some starting pitchers to fully heal.
Matsuzaka has posted a 49-30 win-loss record, a 4.25 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP in his four-plus rocky years with Boston. He drew Cy Young Award votes in 2008, by far his best season to date. The Tokyo native had a 5.30 ERA, 1.47 WHIP and 26/23 K/BB ratio in 37 1/3 innings this year before he was shut down in mid-May.
UPDATE: Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston is now reporting that Dice-K has elected to have Tommy John surgery and will inform the Red Sox Thursday morning. He’s likely to undergo the procedure early next week.
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.