As expected Mets reliever Tim Byrdak has decided to undergo shoulder surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule, which potentially could end the 39-year-old’s career.
Byrdak told Adam Rubin of ESPN New York that his goal is to return late next season, but he understands how difficult that may be:
It’s been a very emotional two days. The hardest part was talking to my two little guys and telling them there’s a real good chance that dad might not play big league baseball no more. It’s something I can’t avoid. I could try to do the rehab. But my way of life–I want to play catch with my sons, I want to coach them and throw BP to them and stuff like that–and if I want to do that, I have to have this thing fixed
Byrdak had a pretty nice career considering he didn’t secure a regular gig in the majors until age 33. From that point on he logged 269 innings with a 3.62 ERA and has earned more than $5 million.
Rubin notes that Mets pitchers Johan Santana and Chris Young had the same surgery previously, with Santana returning after 20 months and Young returning after 13 months.
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.