Diamondbacks shortstop Stephen Drew had his 2011 season cut short in late July after suffering a fractured right ankle while sliding into home plate.
And he’s still battling the injury here in March.
According to MLB.com beat man Steve Gilbert, Drew is “nowhere near the point in his recovery” where he is ready to appear in Cactus League games and could land on the 15-day disabled list when the 2012 regular season opens in early April.
“The doctor said it was going to be a year process, and now I’m at month seven,” Drew acknowledged Thursday in D’Backs camp. “Flexibility is back to normal. Now I just have to get the strength back. … The coaching staff has been really good. The training staff is really good. We’re taking it one day at a time and we’ll see where it goes from there.”
The 28-year-old had a .713 OPS, five homers and 45 RBI in 86 games last year before the ankle fracture. John McDonald and Willie Bloomquist would fill in at short in the early going if Drew is indeed unavailable.
The Braves reportedly have a deal in place with free agent catcher Kurt Suzuki, per Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that the contract is for one year, $1.5 million with up to $2.5 million in additional incentives.
Suzuki, 33, completed a three-year track with the Twins in 2016, slashing .258/.301/.403 with eight home runs in 373 PA. The veteran backstop likely won’t provide an offensive or defensive upgrade over current starter Tyler Flowers, but should give the Braves some depth at a position they’ve been looking to strengthen since the start of the offseason.
The team has yet to confirm the deal.
With the 2017 World Baseball Classic around the corner, Team Israel has reportedly reached out to Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, per MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. Tournament rules stipulate that a player’s roster eligibility can be achieved in one of several ways: they were born in the country in question or hold citizenship/permanent legal residence there (or are simply capable of qualifying for citizenship), or one of their parents was born in the country or holds citizenship/permanent legal residence there.
For Kipnis, it’s the latter. Kipnis’ father, Mark Kipnis, is Jewish. That gives Kipnis the status he needs to suit up for Team Israel, despite the fact that he is a practicing Roman Catholic. He has yet to confirm or deny his participation in the competition.
Fifteen players have confirmed for Team Israel so far, including Mets’ infielder/outfielder Ty Kelly and free agents Sam Fuld, Nate Freiman, Jason Marquis and Jeremy Bleich. Per MLB.com’s Chad Thornburg, eight minor leaguers will also appear for the team. Like Kipnis, at least three other major leaguers are eligible for Team Israel’s roster but have yet to accept or decline involvement in the WBC: Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson, Mariners infielder/outfielder Danny Valencia and free agent left-hander Craig Breslow.