Jason Bay has missed well over a month with a non-displaced fractured rib, but he’s finally close to making his way back to the Mets’ lineup.
According to Matt Ehalt of ESPN New York, Bay is set to serve as the designated hitter this weekend in rehab games with High-A St. Lucie. The hope is that he’ll be able to play the outfield by Monday and return shortly thereafter.
Bay, 33, was hitting .240/.316/.460 with three homers, five RBI and a .776 OPS over 15 games prior to suffering the injury on April 23. Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Scott Hairston and Mike Baxter have all logged significant playing time during his absence, but Mets manager Terry Collins has already said that Bay will “absolutely” get his starting left field job back.
Free agent middle infielder Danny Espinosa signed a minor-league deal with the Blue Jays, the team announced Saturday. The deal includes an invite to spring training, where Espinosa is scheduled for his first split-squad game against the Orioles this afternoon.
Espinosa, 30, was inked to another minor-league deal with the Yankees in January. The veteran infielder was competing for an infield job until the team picked up second baseman Neil Walker on a one-year, $4 million deal last Monday. Prior to his release, he slashed .160/.276/.320 with one home run through his first 12 games with the Yankees this spring. He didn’t fare much better in the majors last year, either, batting a cumulative .173/.245/.278 with six home runs and a .523 OPS in 295 PA for the Mariners and Rays.
Blue Jays starting shortstop Troy Tulowitzki is still dealing with a bone spur in his heel and has officially been ruled out for Opening Day, which could clear a path for Espinosa to claim a starting role in Toronto. Of course, he won’t be the only candidate under consideration — Yangervis Solarte and Aledmys Diaz are still in the mix as well, though no final decision appears to be made just yet.