It wasn’t all that glamorous and we have no video or photo evidence to share, but Kendrys Morales returned to game action this afternoon for the first time since infamously shattering his lower left leg while jumping onto home plate following a game-winning grand slam on May 29, 2010.
According to Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times, Morales had five at-bats shuffling between Double-A and Triple-A exhibition games. He had two singles, leaving for pinch-runners each time, and also fouled out, flied out and struck out.
That he got two hits is nice to hear, but the most important part is that he made it through his first game action without any pain in his surgically-repaired ankle.
“No pain,” he said through translator Orlando Mercado. “I just need to be more comfortable.”
Angels manager Mike Scioscia said earlier today that Morales needs 40 to 50 at-bats in order to be ready for Opening Day. He already has five out of the way, but it’s not clear when he’ll make his way over to the major league side.
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.