Yankees GM Brian Cashman told reporters on Wednesday that veteran shortstop Derek Jeter could be ready to begin playing in minor league rehab games Saturday at Double-A Trenton.
Jeter fielded ground balls, took batting practice and ran the bases Wednesday morning in Tampa, reporting no issues with his once-strained right calf.
He’ll continue doing similar workouts through the end of this week and will fly out to Trenton on Friday if everything continues to go smoothly.
Jeter is sitting on 2,994 career major league hits and should be able to get back to his pursuit of 3,000 early next week. The Yanks begin a three-game series on Monday in Cleveland then return to New York on Friday for a lengthy homestand. Unless Jeter falls into a major slump upon returning, it seems likely that he will register hit No. 3,000 at Yankee Stadium.
Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly reports that the Phillies are close to signing free agent reliever Joaquin Benoit. An announcement is expected before the winter meetings end on Thursday.
Benoit, 39, has quietly been among the better relievers in baseball over the past seven years. This past season with the Mariners and Blue Jays, the right-hander put up an aggregate 2.81 ERA with a 52/24 K/BB ratio in 48 innings. That included a 0.38 ERA in 23 2/3 innings after the Jays acquired him from the Mariners.
Benoit suffered a torn calf muscle during a benches-clearing brawl with the Yankees near the end of the regular season. He’s expected to be healthy for spring training.
The Phillies have now added three relievers this offseason with Benoit, Pat Neshek, and David Rollins.
ESPN’s Pedro Gomez provides a previously unreported detail of the new collective bargaining agreement, agreed to by the owners and the players’ union last week. Players’ meal money for road games is being reduced from $105 to $30 per day. Teams are providing pre- and post-game meals in the visitors’ clubhouse to offset some of the decrease in meal money.
Gomez quotes an unnamed player who said, “I doubt many guys know about the money going down, nor would they have agreed to it.” All of the players Gomez contacted said they were unaware of and unhappy about the change.
Clubhouse attendants are certainly unhappy about this change, too. As Gomez notes, the attendants previously provided food for visiting teams which earned them tips from the players.
EDIT: It’s worth clarifying that chefs are required in clubhouses now as part of the new CBA, so it’s not a complete loss for the players.