The Pirates could have a new-look outfield when they open an interleague series Tuesday in Toronto.
Bucs left fielder Jose Tabata had to be wheeled off on a cart in the bottom of the first inning Sunday after suffering a serious left quadriceps injury while legging out a bunt single. Garrett Jones entered the game as a pinch-runner and took over in right field in the second inning as Matt Diaz shifted to left.
The Pirates are trying for a surprising three-game sweep of the formerly red-hot Red Sox.
If the injury is as bad as it looked and Tabata needs to be placed on the disabled list, prospect Alex Presley could become Pittsburgh’s new starting left fielder. A 25-year-old from Monroe, Louisiana, Presley has posted a sparkling .336/.389/.500 batting line with eight home runs, 36 RBI and 18 stolen bases in 75 games this season for Triple-A Indianapolis. He was pulled from the lineup at Triple-A on Sunday, soon after news of Tabata’s injury made its way to Indy.
The Pirates entered Sunday’s play with a 39-37 record, three games back in the National League Central.
The Mets told Jay Bruce that the club plans on having him open the season as the everyday right fielder, Ken Davidoff of the New York Post reports. This comes as no surprise after the Mets failed to get any bites after dangling Bruce as a trade chip. The Mets reportedly wanted a pair of prospects in exchange for Bruce.
With Bruce in right, Yoenis Cespedes back in left, and Curtis Granderson in center, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out. He’ll either warm the bench or head back to Triple-A Las Vegas for regular at-bats.
Bruce, who turns 30 years old in April, had a rough final two months of the 2016 season after joining the Mets in a trade from the Reds. He hit a paltry .219/.294/.391 with eight home runs and 19 RBI in 187 plate appearances. Bruce, apparently, wanted to go anywhere but in New York.
Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels have inked outfielder Eric Young, Jr. to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.
Young, 31, played in just six games and logged one plate appearance in the majors this past season with the Yankees. He last played regularly in 2014. While Young doesn’t do much with the bat, he could provide value as a pinch-runner. He also offers versatility, having played all three outfield positions along with second base.
The Angels have Ben Revere as their fourth outfielder and Jefry Marte behind him, so Young would need to have a very impressive showing in spring training to find a spot on the Angels’ roster.