It should come as no surprise that the lone first-place vote for Michael Young in the AL MVP balloting was cast by a Rangers writer. Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News provided a long explanation for his reasoning (or lack thereof).
Mostly, it reads like a man trying to convince himself that his hometown hero should be the choice. Look at gems like these:
He hit .340 or better for each of the infield positions he played. He hit .319 or better for each of the three spots in the order.
When both [Josh] Hamilton and Nelson Cruz were out in May, Young outhit his teammates by 30 points to keep the offense treading water. When Adrian Beltre went down for six weeks with a hamstring injury, Young (.354) outhit the rest of his teammates by 20 points.
My eyes told me Michael Young meant more to the Texas Rangers and their success than any player in the American League.
I like that last sentence the best. Because there’s nothing else in the article that lends credence to the idea that one had to see Young on an everyday basis to get a true read on his worth. Except for maybe one line (“They did it, in large part, because every time their ship threatened to take on water, Michael Young led the effort to bail them out.”), the rest of the article is all facts and statistics supporting the case.
And, of course, facts and statistics aren’t really on Grant’s side here.
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.