The U.S. squad received scoreless performances from nine of its 10 pitchers and got a homer from Indians prospect Jason Kipnis in winning the All-Star Futures Game 6-4 on Sunday.
Kipnis homered to start the bottom of the first of Braves phenom Julio Teheran, and the U.S. went on to build a 3-0 lead through five before the World Team touched Cleveland’s Drew Pomeranz for four runs in the sixth.
Keying the World rally were a two-run homer from Dodgers prospect Alfredo Silverio and an RBI triple from the Rangers’ Jurickson Profar. Pomeranz was unable to finish the sixth, making way for the Twins’ Kyle Gibson after giving up three hits and a walk.
The U.S. came back to win by scoring three times in the eighth. Grant Green, who took over for Kipnis at second base, drove in a run with his second double in two at-bats and was named the game’s MVP afterwards.
Phillies prospect Jarred Cosart picked up the win after striking out two in a perfect eighth. The Mets’ Matt Harvey retired the only batter he faced in the ninth for the save.
Bryce Harper, the prospect most were there to see, played the whole game, only to end up 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.
The Rays’ Matt Moore, who was picked over Teheran as the game’s top pitching prospect by Baseball America last week, put on the best show of all the premium arms. He was consistently in the high-90s while throwing a perfect fourth.
The Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.
Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”
Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”
The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.
There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.
Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.