The White Sox won’t be easing Gavin Floyd back into the rotation in his return from a sore elbow; he’ll start Wednesday night in the third game of a four-game series against the rival Tigers.
The change pushes Francisco Liriano back to Friday, when he’ll face the Twins. By making the move, the White Sox are essentially saying they have more faith in Floyd right now, even though he won one of his last six starts before going on the DL.
The respective records of each against the Tigers certainly played a role in the White Sox’s thinking here. Floyd has faced Detroit twice this season and gone 1-0 with a 1.38 ERA. Last year, he was 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA in three starts against them.
Liriano, on the other hand, has given up seven runs and walked nine in 7 1/3 innings versus Detroit this year. He was 1-2 with a 10.32 ERA against them last year.
The White Sox are currently two games up on the Tigers in advance of the series opener tonight. It looks like they’re battling for one postseason spot right now, given that there are a combined six teams with better records than either in the AL East and West.
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.