Mark Reynolds hit a home run against the Angels on Saturday night. The next time he came to the plate, Ervin Santana hit him in the head, forcing him out of the game and keeping him from playing yesterday. Reynolds believes it was intentional. Here’s Reynolds:
“I think he hit me on purpose. I don’t think he tried to hit me in the head. I think he hit me on purpose. He threw a first-pitch slider. Why would he throw me a first-pitch slider and then hit me with the next pitch? Why didn’t he just hit me with the first pitch?”
What Reynolds doesn’t say is that he swung at the slider and fouled it off. Because he swings at everything. I didn’t see it so I don’t know where that slider was, but knowing Reynolds it was probably aimed at his head too.
But even if it wasn’t, I don’t know that I follow Reynolds’ logic here. If Santana was out to hit him intentionally, why bother throwing the slider in the first place? Why not just plunk him immediately? If anything, doing it on pitch two makes it seem less intentional, not more. Sort of dilutes the purpose of the purpose pitch.
Anyway, the best part of this is that on Sunday Orioles’ pitcher Alfredo Simon retaliated by hitting Mark Tumbo. And unlike most pitchers who do that, he didn’t claim it got away from him or something. He came right out and said it was a purpose pitch. Of course when you realize that there’s a non-trivial chance that Simon killed a guy last winter it probably shouldn’t be all that surprising that he’d own up to something like that.
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.
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.