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.
With the 2017 World Baseball Classic around the corner, Team Israel has reportedly reached out to Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, per MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. Tournament rules stipulate that a player’s roster eligibility can be achieved in one of several ways: they were born in the country in question or hold citizenship/permanent legal residence there (or are simply capable of qualifying for citizenship), or one of their parents was born in the country or holds citizenship/permanent legal residence there.
For Kipnis, it’s the latter. Kipnis’ father, Mark Kipnis, is Jewish. That gives Kipnis the status he needs to suit up for Team Israel, despite the fact that he is a practicing Roman Catholic. He has yet to confirm or deny his participation in the competition.
Fifteen players have confirmed for Team Israel so far, including Mets’ infielder/outfielder Ty Kelly and free agents Sam Fuld, Nate Freiman, Jason Marquis and Jeremy Bleich. Per MLB.com’s Chad Thornburg, eight minor leaguers will also appear for the team. Like Kipnis, at least three other major leaguers are eligible for Team Israel’s roster but have yet to accept or decline involvement in the WBC: Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson, Mariners infielder/outfielder Danny Valencia and free agent left-hander Craig Breslow.
Free agent first baseman James Loney has reportedly signed a minor league deal with the Rangers, per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The deal includes an invite to spring training and a $1 million salary if he makes the major league roster in 2017.
Loney picked up a one-year stint and starting role with the Mets in 2016, slashing .265/.307/.397 with nine home runs in 336 PA. While his numbers were down a hair from the .280/.322/.357 batting line he produced with the Rays in 2015, he provided the Mets with a necessary, if underwhelming upgrade over an injured Lucas Duda through most of the season.
The 32-year-old infielder is expected to have some competition at first base, with at least five other candidates in the mix: Jurickson Profar, Ronald Guzman, Ryan Rua, Joey Gallo and Josh Hamilton. Rumor has it that the team is planning on platooning Rua and Profar in 2017, barring any impressive breakouts or injuries during spring training, though Loney could still provide the club with some veteran depth and a decent left-handed bat off the bench.