6:00 p.m. EDT: After failing to talk his way out of the assignment, Jeter was placed on the disabled list by the Yankees, putting the chase for 3,000 hits on hold for at least 15 days. Eduardo Nunez will take over as the team’s shortstop. Ramiro Pena was called up to serve as a utilityman.
The official announcement isn’t supposed to happen until everyone gets settled in at the ballpark in hour or so, but everyone is saying that it’s likely that Derek Jeter will be placed on the disabled list today. Jon Heyman says the Yankees are “strongly considering” it. Most Yankees beat guys who have said anything have suggested that they would not be surprised.
It’s been some time since Jeter saw any DL time, but the danger in not doing it here is two-fold: (1) that the Yankees would be shorthanded in upcoming games against the NL in interleague play when you just know that Joe Girardi will want to get all double-switchy; and (2) more importantly, that the calf, if not completely rested and at least mostly healed, could become a chronic problem like Jimmy Rollins and some other players have had in recent years.
A third consideration — that the Yankees are really just gaming this so that Jeter can be back to get his 3000th hit in Yankee Stadium — is far to silly to be true, but far too delicious to be too mad at people for perpetuating in the first place.
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.