UPDATE: Done deal. Connolly says the Rangers are getting minor-league pitcher Randy Henry and a player to be named later for Teagarden.
Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports that the Orioles have been talking to the Rangers about catcher Taylor Teagarden as they search for a new backup for Matt Wieters.
Teagarden is out of minor-league options and seemingly not part of the Rangers’ plans, so it could be a good fit.
His stock has declined considerably over the past couple seasons, but Teagarden is still just 27 years old and has always been a strong defensive catcher with some pop at the plate. Unfortunately he’s hit just .220 with a ghastly .286 on-base percentage and 142/29 K/BB ratio in 392 plate appearances as a big leaguer.
Connolly notes that Orioles manager Buck Showalter was the Rangers’ manager back when they drafted Teagarden in 2005, so presumably he recommended him as a target. Texas’ asking price figures to be pretty modest.
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.