J.P. Arencibia, Jo-Jo Reyes

J.P. Arencibia laughs off sign-stealing allegations on Twitter

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Catcher J.P. Arencibia, one of the few Blue Jays not performing significantly better at home than on the road this season, is none too happy about the ESPN report claiming his team has been using a person in the center-field stands to steal signs over the last two years.

Here are his tweets from this afternoon:

Just read the dumbest article on ESPN about us getting signs? I’m hitting 200 and we get signs at home, that makes sense? #clowns

Teams/pitchers need to accept when we kick their ass in the rogers centre n not give excuses… Looks like we had verlanders signs #nohitter

What’s next? Man on CN Tower edge walk was seen relaying signs to bluejay hitters.. #clowns

Arencibia apparently doesn’t have much to offer besides insults to what was a well written ESPN piece.  Again, four players, while remaining anonymous, chimed in on catching the apparent sign-stealing in the act and it’s not as though this is something ESPN has just dreamed up: both the Red Sox and Yankees believe there’s something going on at Rogers Centre and have adjusted their catcher signals accordingly.

Arencibia himself certainly hasn’t taken advantage of any home cooking this year.  Like he said, he’s hitting .194 at home, compared to .234 on the road.  His 18 homers have been split evenly between home and road games.

Then again, maybe Arencibia simply can’t see the signals allegedly being offered in center.  He can hit the ball a long way when he gets ahold of one, but with a .207 average and 109 strikeouts in 348 at-bats as a major leaguer, it’s possible his eyesight isn’t what Jose Bautista’s is.  Take exhibit A: his aim with the Powerade cooler was well off.

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.

Report: Cardinals are scouting Cuban outfielder Luis Robert

ST. LOUIS, MO - APRIL 25: Baseballs sit in the St. Louis Cardinals dugout prior to a game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on April 25, 2014 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by David Welker/Getty Images)
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According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Cardinals are keeping an eye on outfield prospect Luis Robert. The 19-year-old left his native Cuba last November and is expected to command interest from multiple MLB teams as he approaches free agency. Goold adds that the Cardinals sent scouts to evaluate Robert’s workouts in the Dominican Republic as recently as last week.

There’s still a good chance that the club won’t get a shot at signing him; as Craig mentioned last month, it seems likely that Major League Baseball won’t declare Robert a free agent until after June 15. By July 2, the new Collective Bargaining Agreement’s policies on international bonuses will go into effect, handcuffing teams with the maximum penalty for bonuses to a $300,000 signing figure for any available international prospect. It’s designed to effectively take away those teams’ abilities to sign additional international talent, and the Cardinals have already spent a reported $9.35 million in bonuses on Venezuelan outfielder Victor Garcia, Cuban outfielders Jonatan Machado and Randy Arozarena and Cuban right-hander Johan Oviedo.

Until the cutoff in mid-June, the Cardinals are likely to continue actively scouting other international talent, including Robert. MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez quotes an anonymous National League scouting director who describes Robert as the No. 2 talent behind Japanese wunderkind Shohei Otani. The 19-year-old hit .286/.319/.397 with a .716 OPS during a 16-game run in the Canadian-American League in 2016, following up an impressive three-year tenure with the Ciego de Avila in the Cuban National Series from 2013-2015.