The Braves recently lost Andrelton Simmons due to a fractured right pinkie finger, so they opened the second half of the season with Jack Wilson as the only healthy shortstop on their roster. And wouldn’t you know it, Wilson ended up getting hurt last night against the Mets.
Wilson was forced to leave the game after suffering a dislocation of the middle joint of his right pinkie finger in the fourth inning while chasing after a ball which deflected off Tim Hudson’s glove. This forced Martin Prado to play shortstop for the first time since 2008. To his credit, Prado actually made a couple of difficult plays, including a nifty backhanded flip to second base on his first chance to end a scoring threat in the fourth.
X-rays came back negative on Wilson’s finger and he’s currently listed as day-to-day, but it’s clear the Braves need to get some shortstop help. Tyler Pastornicky is not considered an option after struggling in his first taste of the big leagues, so the Braves are expected to go outside the organization. Even before the injury to Wilson last night, Braves general manager Frank Wren told David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he is working on a deal.
UPDATE: Mark Bowman of MLB.com reports that Pastornicky has been called up from Triple-A Gwinnett. The Braves were giving Pastornicky playing time at second base in recent weeks and plan to turn him into a utility player, but he’ll function as a stopgap option at shortstop for now. Even with Pastornicky up from the minors, Prado is making the start today.
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.