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Marlins prez Larry Beinfest speaks up on LoMo demotion

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The Marlins demoted 23-year-old outfielder and outspoken tweeter Logan Morrison to Triple-A New Orleans on Saturday night, pointing to his recent offensive struggles as the reason for the move.

Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post later deduced that a series off-field issues also played a factor.

Morrison, a fan-favorite of a rare degree, had a mixup last week with the Florida Marlins Community Foundation involving the cancellation of a charity bowling event. The foundation didn’t buy enough bowling lanes at a local alley in advance, and LoMo was upset about having to disappoint excited fans.

Aiming to make a statement, Morrison then refused to show his face at a photo session with season ticket holders Saturday evening at Sun Life Stadium. The Marlins optioned him to the minors late Saturday night.

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Morrison told reporters he felt “freaking heart broken and disappointed” at hearing that he’d been sent down, and that he was just trying to stand up for “what’s right” with his protest of the photo opp.

Marlins president Larry Beinfest offered a sort of response Sunday afternoon to Capozzi, who shared the gist of the quotes in a block of tweets:

source:

Morrison has posted an ugly .200 batting average and .283 on-base percentage since the All-Star break. But he was beginning to show signs of life, flashing a .250/.341/.444 triple slash line across 41 plate appearances in the month of August. If the demotion was all about performance, the timing can be called odd.

This was about quieting the kid who has taken subtle jabs at teammates, and who fumed publicly at the firing of hitting coach John Mallee. Morrison has a likable personality. He’s given away hundreds of tickets through his Twitter account, and earned fans around the country — not just in south Florida. But he’s also a bit brash for a 23-year-old sophomore, and it sounds as though his outspokenness nicked an ego or two in Marlins’ front office. So Beinfest and Co. used his recent offensive slump as an excuse to send a message.

There’s no telling where this saga goes next. If Morrison isn’t the backing down type, it could get ugly.

He has the perfect venue, with nearly 60,000 Twitter followers, to make his thoughts known while experiencing the lesser quality of life on the Triple-A level. We’ll certainly be paying attention.

UPDATE, 5:01 PM: Morrison is considering filing a grievance against the Marlins.

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.