Chalres Norton, the Astros former director of baseball research/pro scouting coordinator, has sued the team, claiming they breached his contract when they terminated him on January 12.
Kind of strange in that, with a new owner, president and general manager, you expect house to have been cleaned. And the man who presided over a scouting and analytics program that gave the Astros one of the worst if not the worst minor league systems in the game is probably prime for the chopping block. But Norton says that he was promised a job for a year:
According to the lawsuit, during a meeting on Dec. 16, 2011 that included Norton, Luhnow told those who were there, “everyone here and around are signed through next year and can have comfort that they have a job for a year.”
The lawsuit also states Luhnow made similiar comments on Jan. 3, 2012.
Hurm. I have no idea what happened, but it’s rare in this day and age for a new manager to say such things to a group of people when the subject of employment and firings and stuff come up. No one in that context even promises that the sun will come up in the east for fear of getting sued.
As for the plaintiff: I wonder if he read the news reports at the time those promises were allegedly being made. because if he had, he probably would have realized that the Astros were decidedly not content to stick with the current slate of employees going forward …
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.