UPDATE: So much for avoiding the DL. Bill Ladson of MLB.com reports that Hairston will indeed be put on the shelf and is expected to miss 2-4 weeks.
Jerry Hairston Jr. suffered what the Nationals are calling a “small break” in his left wrist when he was hit by a Dan Haren pitch during yesterday afternoon’s game, but the veteran utility man hopes to play through the injury.
Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reports that Hairston will be examined today by a doctor, so he may end up not having much choice in the matter if a disabled list stint is advised.
Hairston blamed the late-afternoon start time for the injury, explaining how tough it is to pick up the baseball coming out of a pitcher’s hand because of shadows:
Somebody’s going to get really, really hurt. He could have hit my head. Really difficult to pick up the ball, so it’s going to take something serious to change. I’ve got a broken wrist. It could have been way worse. What if he hit me in the face? It’s just terrible. It’s irresponsible. Maybe they think they draw another 5,000 or so, I don’t know, it’s just terrible. The pitchers at this level are too good.
Hairston has played 14 seasons in the majors, so he’d know better than most, but 4:00 pm start times for games are hardly rare and there isn’t a rash of plunkings stemming from them.
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.