UPDATE: David O’Brien now says that Jones will serve as the designated hitter for Class A Rome tonight and either DH or play third base tomorrow.
3:46 PM: Here’s a sudden and surprising change of plans. According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Chipper Jones will begin a minor league rehab assignment tonight with Class A Rome. He’s scheduled to play third base over the next two days and if all goes well, he could be activated from the disabled list Monday.
I’m telling ya, this guy is a switch-hitting zombie. No other explanation.
2:03 PM: Chipper Jones was originally expected to begin a rehab assignment with Class A Rome on Thursday, but the Braves pushed back his timetable after he felt some soreness in his surgically-repaired knee while working out with Triple-A Gwinnett earlier this week.
Jones underwent surgery to repair a meniscus tear in his right knee just two weeks ago, so it’s difficult to call this a setback. Carroll Rogers of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the veteran third baseman will be reevaluated Monday with Tuesday the best-case scenario for him to begin a rehab assignment.
“It’s not like it’s a pulled hammy, it’s a surgically-repaired knee so,” said Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez, who said he always figured Jones would need closer to three weeks’ recovery time. “I always thought closer to three than two. You’re talking about a 39-year-old knee that’s got a lot of innings in it.”
Jones is batting .259/.340/.428 with eight homers, 46 RBI and a .768 OPS over 329 plate appearances. Martin Prado will move back to left field once he’s ready to return from the disabled list.
The Red Sox might be trying to move the wrong pitcher, according to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. Cafardo revealed that while the Sox have been trying to market right-hander Clay Buchholz, more teams would be interested in trades involving southpaw Drew Pomeranz.
The club appears reluctant to deal Pomeranz, especially because his price tag comes in at a cool $4.7 million to Buchholz’s $13.5 million in 2017. Those who have already expressed interest in the veteran hurlers, including the Twins, Mariners and Royals, also seem put off by Buchholz’s salary requirements as he enters his 32nd year.
Health could be another factor preventing teams from jumping to make trade offers, as Cafardo quotes an AL executive who believes the “medicals on both Pomeranz and Buchholz probably aren’t that great.” Neither pitcher suffered any major injuries during the 2016 season, though Pomeranz missed just over a week of play due to forearm soreness.
Pomeranz outperformed his fellow starter in 2016, pitching to a 3.32 ERA and career-best 9.8 K/9 through 170 2/3 innings with the Padres and Red Sox. He got off to an exceptionally strong start in San Diego, where his ERA dropped to 2.47 through the first half of the year before the Padres dealt him to Boston for minor league right-hander Anderson Espinoza. Buchholz, on the other hand, struggled with a 4.78 ERA and saw a decline in both his BB/9 and K/9 rates as he worked out a career-low 1.69 K/BB through 139 1/3 innings with the Sox.
Mariners’ right-hander Arquimedes Caminero is nearing a deal with the Yomiuri Giants of Nippon Professional Baseball, according to Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune. The club has reportedly agreed to sell the 29-year-old’s contract, Dutton writes, though no official move has been announced by either team yet. Caminero is under club control through 2020 and currently ineligible for arbitration.
The right-hander began the 2016 season with the Pirates but was sent to the Mariners in a trade for Seattle minor leaguers Jake Brentz and Pedro Vasquez in order to clear space in the Bucs’ bullpen. With the Mariners, Caminero produced a 3.66 ERA and 8.2 K/9 through 19 2/3 innings in the second half of the year. Although he boasts an electric fastball, one which consistently averaged 98.7 m.p.h. in 2016, his success rate has been tempered by poor control throughout his major league career. According to Dutton, the Mariners’ willingness to sell Caminero’s contract was a strong indication that they did not see him as a viable contender for their 2017 bullpen or as a potential trade chip further down the line.
Should the deal go through, the right-hander will be the second former Mariner to sign with a Japanese club for the 2017 season. Per Dutton’s report, outfielder Stefen Romero also picked up a contract with the Orix Buffaloes of NPB in late November.