12:00 a.m. EDT update: Upton is staying put for now. The Rays announced after the game that Jennings was being called up, but that he’d be taking shortstop Reid Brignac’s spot. Brignac, whose demotion was long overdue, hit just .193/.234/.219 in 187 at-bats and was losing playing time at shortstop to Sean Rodriguez and Elliot Johnson. Jennings will get starts in left while the Rays figure out what they’re doing with Upton. Sam Fuld will lose some playing time, and Ben Zobrist figures to be used pretty strictly as a second baseman.
11:30 p.m. EDT update: Durham Bulls writer Adam Sobsey confirms that Jennings has been recalled by the Rays. That doesn’t necessarily mean Upton is a goner — the Rays could use Jennings in left field — but the trade possibility remains very much alive.
It sounds like the Rays have made a move, as they just pulled B.J. Upton from the game against the Royals and they scratched Desmond Jennings from Triple-A Durham’s lineup.
Washington has been the most common landing spot for Upton in trade rumors.
Upton was 1-for-4 tonight before being removed. He’s been playing well of late, having hit .270/.333/.429 with three homers and 10 RBI in 16 games this month. The Nationals have long coveted him to fill their hole in center field, and the 26-year-old is under control through 2012.
His replacement in center field with the Rays would be Jennings, who recently returned from a finger injury. He’s hit .286/.426/.510 in 13 games this month and .275/.374/.456 overall for Durham.
Update: For what it’s worth, it’s possible we’re overreacting here. The Rays were down by six runs and had already removed Matt Joyce from the contest. Upton also could have been due a little rest, considering he had started every game since the break. Still, there is a little evidence that something is going on. Draysbay.com reports that Jennings was seen signing something in the managers office at Triple-A Durham before tonight’s game.
Mitt Romney built his professional life in Massachusetts and was once the governor of the state. As such, it is not surprising that he has long identified as a Red Sox fan. So this has to be troubling to him from a fan’s perspective. From Jon Heyman:
The Romney family is bidding to buy a small stake in the Yankees months after their try for the Marlins stalled. If the deal goes through, it is expected to be $25 million to $30 million per percentage point and thought to be interested in one or two percentage points. The Yankees are valued around $3 billion or more.
The effort is being led by Mitt’s son Tagg, one of his brothers and their business partners. Mitt’s spokesman tells Jon Heyman that he has nothing to do with it personally. Tagg Romney is reported to have been planning a bid for controlling interest in the Marlins, but that has fallen through.
I find this interesting insofar as the M.O. for the Steinbrenners has, for years, been to buy out minority shareholders in the Yankees, not seek more. Indeed, when George Steinbrenner bought the Yankees back in 1973 he held just a bare controlling interest and there were a ton of silent partners, most of which were back in Ohio and knew Steinbrenner from his shipping business. I’ve personally gotten to know some of them over the years as there are a handful of them in Columbus and I crossed paths with them in my legal career. They have almost all been bought out in the past couple of decades. They still get season tickets and World Series rings and stuff. You can tell them by their personalized Yankees plates and the fact that, within the first ten minutes of meeting them, they will tell you that they once owned a piece of the Yankees but got pushed out.
In light of all of that it’s interesting that the Steinbrenners are once again accepting bids for small stakes in the team. Especially from someone whose interest in controlling the Marlins suggests that they do not consider it to be a mere vanity investment. Makes me wonder what the Steinbrenners’ long term plans are.
The Nationals will be many people’s favorites in the NL East this season. Not everything is looking great, however. For example, their ace — defending NL Cy Young winner Max Scherzer — can’t even throw fastballs right now.
The reason: the stress fracture he suffered last August is still causing him problems and Scherzer is unable to use his fastball grip without feeling pain in his right ring finger. He will throw a bullpen session tomorrow, but will only use his secondary stuff.
Scherzer has not been ruled out for Opening Day — the fact that he is throwing some means that his timetable isn’t totally on hold — but you have to figure, at some point, not being able to air things out and use his heater will lead to some problems in his spring training routine.