Stop me if you’ve heard this story before: Erik Bedard has been pitching well for his new team, but an injury forced him from a start and now his health status is uncertain.
In the 2012 version of that seemingly annual occurrence Bedard signed with the Pirates as a free agent and posted a 2.65 ERA with 37 strikeouts in 34 innings through six starts, but had to leave yesterday’s game in the second inning due to back spasms.
Here’s how Bedard explained the injury to Tom Singer of MLB.com:
It just locked up on me. You can’t move. It wasn’t as bad as the last time it happened. I’ll take some muscle relaxers, and should be better in a couple of days.
“The last time it happened” was 2008, when Bedard was pitching for the Mariners and pitched through back spasms with quite a bit of success before being shut down for the season in July with a shoulder injury that eventually required surgery.
In the three following seasons Bedard started a total of 39 games (with a 3.39 ERA), so the Pirates knew what they were getting into with a one-year, $4.5 million deal. They were probably just hoping he’d last more than six weeks in the rotation, particularly considering how good he’s looked in between injuries.
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.