UPDATE: David Waldstein of the New York Times reports that Chamberlain will be released from the hospital tomorrow, which indicates that no infections have developed.
Furthermore, Yankees manager Joe Girardi told Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com that no microfractures were found in the ankle and that Chamberlain will be in a cast for the next six weeks. It’s still early, but these are some very encouraging signs that he’ll be able to resume his playing career, perhaps as soon as this season.
4:15 PM: Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told Kieran Darcy of ESPNNewYork.com this morning that Joba Chamberlain could be released from the hospital as soon as today.
Chamberlain suffered an open dislocation of of his right ankle Thursday while jumping on a trampoline with his 5-year-old son. There is concern that he could develop an infection immediately following surgery, so it would be a positive sign if he is released this soon. But results of a CT scan and an MRI aren’t yet known.
Chamberlain also told Cashman that doctors think he could be back on the mound by July if all goes well. But again, it’s much too soon to tell.
“He was hopeful that he could be back on the mound by July, is what he said that they had told him,” said Cashman, who visited Chamberlain in the hospital Friday afternoon. “That’s what he told me the doctors are telling him.
“That’s the optimistic side, but I’m only getting that from Joba,” Cashman added. “I don’t think anybody can tell anybody directly right now anything on that.”
It seems almost trivial to discuss Chamberlain’s chances of pitching this season, but even assuming that he doesn’t have any complications with the ankle, the injury pushes back his rehab from Tommy John surgery. He faces some pretty long odds. And because he’s arbitration-eligible for the final time this winter, there’s a chance that he has already thrown his final pitch in a Yankees’ uniform.
Former Mets catcher Johnny Monell signed a contract with the KT Wiz of the Korea Baseball Organization, per a report by Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. The 30-year-old originally struck a deal with the NC Dinos on Thursday, but the deal appeared to fall through at the last minute, according to Cotillo’s unnamed source.
Monell last surfaced for the Mets during their 2015 run, batting a dismal .167/.231/.208 with two extra bases in 52 PA before the club DFA’d him to clear space for Bartolo Colon. While he’s had difficulty sticking at the major league level, he’s found a higher degree of success in the minor league circuit and holds a career .271 average over a decade of minor league play. He played exclusively in Triple-A Las Vegas during the 2016 season, slashing .276/.336/.470 with 19 home runs and a career-high 75 RBI in 461 PA.
The veteran backstop appears to be the second MLB player to join the KT Wiz roster this offseason, as right-hander Donn Roach also signed with the club last month on a one-year, $850,000 deal.
Brewers’ right-hander Phil Bickford received a 50-game suspension after testing positive for a drug of abuse, per the Los Angeles Times’ Bill Shaikin. This is the second time Bickford has been suspended for recreational drug use, as he was previously penalized in 2015 after testing positive for marijuana prior to the amateur draft.
Bickford was selected by the Giants in the first round of the 2015 draft and was later dealt to the Brewers for lefty reliever Will Smith at the 2016 trade deadline. He finished his 2016 campaign in High-A Brevard County, pitching to a 3.67 ERA, 10.0 K/9 rate and 5.0 BB/9 over 27 innings.
Two other suspensions were handed down on Friday, one to Toronto minor league right-hander Pedro Loficial for a positive test for metabolites of Stanozolol and one to Miami minor league outfielder Casey Soltis for a second positive test for drugs of abuse. Loficial will serve a 72-game suspension, while Soltis will serve 50 games. All three suspensions are due to start at the beginning of the 2017 season for each respective minor league team.
Brewers’ GM David Stearns issued a statement after the Commissioner’s Office announced Bickford’s suspension (via Vince Lara-Cinisomo of Baseball America):
We are very disappointed to learn of Phil’s suspension, but we fully support the Minor League Baseball Drug Prevention and Testing Program and its enforcement by the Commissioner’s Office. Phil understands he made a mistake, and we fully anticipate that he will learn from this experience.