Stephen Drew is currently rehabbing from surgery to repair a fractured right ankle and sports hernia surgery, but we haven’t heard too many updates about his progress. Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic wrote last week that the shortstop had turned down multiple requests this offseason for an interview. Well, Drew finally broke his silence today.
The Diamondbacks’ official Twitter account passed along word earlier this afternoon that Drew spoke with the media and said that while he is “optimistic,” he’s not sure he’ll be ready for Opening Day.
This isn’t much different than the information provided by Diamondbacks’ general manager Kevin Towers in a web chat with fans last week. Drew is currently swinging the bat and participating in baseball-specific drills, but it’s tough to nail down a specific timeline until he tests the ankle in game action.
Drew, who turns 29 in March, batted .252/.317/.396 with five home runs, 45 RBI and a .713 OPS over 86 games last season before fracturing his ankle on July 20. His contract includes a $10 million mutual option for 2013 or a $1.35 million buyout.
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.
According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Cardinals are keeping an eye on outfield prospect Luis Robert. The 19-year-old left his native Cuba last November and is expected to command interest from multiple MLB teams as he approaches free agency. Goold adds that the Cardinals sent scouts to evaluate Robert’s workouts in the Dominican Republic as recently as last week.
There’s still a good chance that the club won’t get a shot at signing him; as Craig mentioned last month, it seems likely that Major League Baseball won’t declare Robert a free agent until after June 15. By July 2, the new Collective Bargaining Agreement’s policies on international bonuses will go into effect, handcuffing teams with the maximum penalty for bonuses to a $300,000 signing figure for any available international prospect. It’s designed to effectively take away those teams’ abilities to sign additional international talent, and the Cardinals have already spent a reported $9.35 million in bonuses on Venezuelan outfielder Victor Garcia, Cuban outfielders Jonatan Machado and Randy Arozarena and Cuban right-hander Johan Oviedo.
Until the cutoff in mid-June, the Cardinals are likely to continue actively scouting other international talent, including Robert. MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez quotes an anonymous National League scouting director who describes Robert as the No. 2 talent behind Japanese wunderkind Shohei Otani. The 19-year-old hit .286/.319/.397 with a .716 OPS during a 16-game run in the Canadian-American League in 2016, following up an impressive three-year tenure with the Ciego de Avila in the Cuban National Series from 2013-2015.