On Friday, Andrew McCutchen was hit by a 101 mile-an-hour fastball by Reds’ closer Aroldis Chapman. Then on Saturday, Reds starter Mike Leake hit Pirate Josh Harrison and barked at him. Yesterday Rod Barajas and Starling Marte were each hit by Reds pitchers.
The Pirates did not retaliate during A.J. Burnett’s win yesterday. And Barajas explained why:
“If A.J. drills someone, he gets thrown out. What good is that going to do us?” Barajas — Burnett’s personal catcher — asked. “Then, we have to go to our bullpen early with a long stretch of games coming up. That makes no sense. There is a time and a place for [retaliation]. Today was the time to win. We got that done.”
G.M. Neal Huntington mentioned something about it too:
“The competitor in you wants immediate payback,” general manager Neal Huntington said. “But there’s a right time and a right way of doing things. Even then, [the retaliation] might not be as blatant as you would want it.”
A.J. Burnett added “We haven’t forgotten.”
I find it interesting. Partially because there was none of that tit-for-tat baseball justice which you’d normally expect to see. Also because, if and when the Pirates do hit someone on the Reds the next time they meet, I wonder if these kinds of quotes will form the basis of a suspension, given that they clearly indicate some sort of intent for the future.
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.
Free agent first baseman James Loney has reportedly signed a minor league deal with the Rangers, per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The deal includes an invite to spring training and a $1 million salary if he makes the major league roster in 2017.
Loney picked up a one-year stint and starting role with the Mets in 2016, slashing .265/.307/.397 with nine home runs in 336 PA. While his numbers were down a hair from the .280/.322/.357 batting line he produced with the Rays in 2015, he provided the Mets with a necessary, if underwhelming upgrade over an injured Lucas Duda through most of the season.
The 32-year-old infielder is expected to have some competition at first base, with at least five other candidates in the mix: Jurickson Profar, Ronald Guzman, Ryan Rua, Joey Gallo and Josh Hamilton. Rumor has it that the team is planning on platooning Rua and Profar in 2017, barring any impressive breakouts or injuries during spring training, though Loney could still provide the club with some veteran depth and a decent left-handed bat off the bench.