Adam Kennedy, Kevin Youkilis

Michael Pineda gets lit up as Mariners lose 15th straight

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Michael Pineda was pounded for five runs in the first inning and seven in 4 1/3 innings overall as the Red Sox beat the Mariners 12-8 on Sunday, sending Seattle to its team-record 15th straight defeat.

The Mariners’ losing streak is the longest since the Royals lost 19 in a row in 2005.  It ties the 2002 Rays for the third-longest streak since 1990, one behind the 1996-97 Cubs.

Seattle’s previous long losing streak was 14 games in 1992.  The 2008 Mariners has a 12-game losing steak.  The worst streak for last year’s 101-loss Mariners was eight in a row.

The Mariners lost this one even though Brendan Ryan hit a grand slam and drove in five.  The team took a 2-0 lead on Miguel Olivo’s homer in the first, but Pineda gave that up quickly and ended up having his shortest start as a major leaguer.  He’s given up 19 runs in 15 2/3 innings in his last three outings, taking his ERA from 2.58 to 3.64.

It was a better day for the Red Sox.  Tim Wakefield gave up seven runs, but he picked up his 199th victory and his 2,000th strikeout with the Red Sox.  Kevin Youkilis homered for Boston, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia knocked in four runs.

Mets leaning on Jay Bruce, Neil Walker as Lucas Duda insurance

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MAY 12:  Pinch hitter Lucas Duda #21 of the New York Mets walks back to the dugout after striking out for the first out of the ninth inning against Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on May 12, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  The Dodgers won 5-0.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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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.

Jason Kipnis diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Jason Kipnis #22 of the Cleveland Indians celebrates after scoring a run on a wild pitch thrown by Jon Lester #34 of the Chicago Cubs (not pictured) during the fifth inning in Game Seven of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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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.