I think everyone called this one as soon as we heard it: the woman who was found tied up in Aroldis Chapman’s hotel room is as crooked as a dog’s hind leg. The Pittsburgh Gazette has details from her police interrogation:
Pittsburgh detectives questioned a woman for nearly 12 hours about a bizarre robbery in the Downtown hotel room of a Cincinnati Reds pitcher, in part because she changed her story.
Claudia Manrique, 26, of Silver Spring, Md., initially said she was attacked late Tuesday by a stranger posing as a maintenance man at the Omni William Penn who tied her up and made off with valuables belonging to pitcher Aroldis Chapman.
But as interviews with detectives wore on, she told them she had encountered her assailant earlier at a CVS pharmacy, where he stole her wallet and threatened to harm her friend if she did not tell him in which room she and the Cuban ballplayer were staying, according to police reports.
It goes on to talk about how Chapman had a bag with $200,000 in jewelry in the room that — somehow — wasn’t stolen. And how the woman was getting calls in the hotel room from someone she owned money to in Maryland who helped her get into the country, according to Chapman.
Yesterday I went with Lebowski, but this is starting to have a “second season of The Wire” vibe. Maybe this woman gets charged. Or maybe they should keep an eye on her in the event some weird European dude sipping coffee all day decides to have her disappeared or something.
Either way: kinda scary and crazy.
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.
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.