We’re less than 10 days away from pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training, yet Roy Oswalt is still looking for a home. We were bombarded with rumors of a potential deal with the Cardinals two weeks ago, but things have been relatively quiet recently.
The general assumption has been that Oswalt would prefer to sign with either the Cardinals or Rangers in order to be closer to Mississippi home and Missouri farmland, but Jayson Stark said yesterday on ESPN’s Baseball Tonight that the veteran right-hander won’t be joining Texas. The Phillies have kept tabs on the situation recently, but Stark also ruled them out as an option.
“He wanted to go to Texas. That’s not gonna happen. He wanted to go back to Philadelphia. That’s not gonna happen. He had some interest in the Reds. That doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen. So his choices still come down to, I think, going to Boston, where they have a clear need but he doesn’t seem to want to play, and going to St. Louis, where all his friends say he would love to be. But to do that, he has to do it on their terms.”
So it’s likely down to the Cardinals or Red Sox. And maybe, just maybe, the Reds, though general manager Walt Jocketty insisted this week that he hasn’t had any contact with the player.
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.