Being totally honest here: the Phillies media relations people are pretty awesome. I’ve not dealt with them too much, but when I was in Clearwater for spring training a couple years ago they were easily the coolest operation in the Grapefruit League (the Dbacks folks in the Cactus League are incredibly nice and accommodating too; it’s a close race). Pleasant, nice. Willing to do anything for you, even if you’re a total idiot noob like I was back in 2010 when I was stumbling around their joint.
Part of being nice, however, is being optimistic. And sometimes being optimistic can lead to being overly optimistic. Take this email I got from the Phillies today:
Dear Craig Calcaterra,
The Phillies Division Series credential application will be available beginning on Thursday, September 20, 2012 … PLEASE NOTE: Credential requests for the League Championship Series and World Series are handled through Major League Baseball.
Isn’t that the most adorable thing you’ve ever seen? I almost want to hug them that’s so cute. Next thing you know they’ll be selling playoff tickets. Oh, wait, they are. C’mere you guys [hugggs]
Of course, if they could play the Mets every night for the rest of the season maybe they’d have a chance.
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.