Ivan Rodriguez

UPDATE: Royals inquire about Ivan Rodriguez, who is “not ready” to join team

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UPDATE: Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star reports that, contrary to Heyman’s report, the Royals have not made an offer to Rodriguez or invited him to camp. The club has “inquired” about the veteran backstop, but have also looked into “20 or more” players.

Hard to tell whether an official offer was ever actually made, but Moore told Heyman that Rodriguez is not ready to join the team right now. It’s not clear why that is, but I can’t imagine there are any other legitimate chances for playing time out there at this point. Perhaps he’s injured or just not in the proper playing shape.

4:35 PM: In Heyman’s latest update, Royals’ general manager Dayton Moore said he was told that Rodriguez still wants to play “at some point,” but is not ready to join the team right now.

3:45 PM: Heyman reports that the Royals “admit” they have called Rodriguez to express interest, but it sounds like they’re downplaying whether they have made an official offer.

2:49 PM: In the wake of Salvador Perez’s knee injury, Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star speculated yesterday morning that the Royals could have interest in 40-year-old Ivan Rodriguez as a stopgap option behind the plate. It appears he was right on the money.

Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that the Royals are interested in bringing Rodriguez to camp, but that’s he’s currently mulling the opportunity and hasn’t decided whether he’ll accept the offer. It’s not clear if he is fielding offers from other teams, though Scott Miller of CBSSports.com reported yesterday that the Rays were expected to look for catching depth.

Rodriguez was limited to just 44 games with the Nationals last season due to an oblique injury, batting .218/.281/.323 with two homers, 19 RBI and a .604 OPS over 137 plate appearances. However, he managed to throw out 13 of 25 (52 percent) of would-be basestealers. The 40-year-old backstop is 156 hits shy of 3,000 for his career.

If signed, Rodriguez would likely share the workload with Brayan Pena, who owns an underwhelming .251/.293/.359 batting line and a .652 OPS over 728 plate appearances in the majors.

Mets leaning on Jay Bruce, Neil Walker as Lucas Duda insurance

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MAY 12:  Pinch hitter Lucas Duda #21 of the New York Mets walks back to the dugout after striking out for the first out of the ninth inning against Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on May 12, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  The Dodgers won 5-0.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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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.

Jason Kipnis diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Jason Kipnis #22 of the Cleveland Indians celebrates after scoring a run on a wild pitch thrown by Jon Lester #34 of the Chicago Cubs (not pictured) during the fifth inning in Game Seven of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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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.