Michael Bourn day-to-day after MRI shows slight sprain of thumb

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UPDATE: According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Bourn is day-to-day after the MRI showed a slight sprain and no ligament tear.

8:32 PM: Michael Bourn is out of the Braves lineup for the fourth straight game tonight due to a jammed left thumb suffered on a head-first slide Saturday. Braves hand specialist Gary Lourie believes there’s no structural damage in the thumb, but David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the speedy center fielder was sent for a precautionary MRI earlier today to confirm.

The Braves have already wrapped up one of the Wild Cards, so they understandably want to play things safe, but Bourn hasn’t ruled out the possibility of returning for the series opener against the Mets tomorrow night assuming the MRI comes back clean.

“I wanted to play as soon as I can, but I knew the day after (injuring it), it was too sore,” Bourn said. “It swelled up the day after. But now most of the swelling’s gone. Some of the soreness is gone and it’s starting to feel better, but they just didn’t want me to rush out there and have any setbacks, which I can understand.”

Bourn, 29, is batting .274/.346/.391 with a .737 OPS and 93 runs scored in 151 games this season and leads the National League with 39 stolen bases. The impending free agent has established new career-highs with nine home runs and 56 RBI.

Mike Napoli and Rays have “mutual interest” in a deal

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Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times unloaded a lot of interesting news items about the Rays last night, including a report that the Rays might have “mutual interest” in a deal with free agent first baseman/DH Mike Napoli. The Rangers declined Napoli’s $11 million option earlier this month and owe the veteran infielder a $2.5 million buyout.

Napoli, 36, had a strange year in Texas. He turned in 29 home runs, good for 11th-most among AL hitters, but finished the year batting just .193/.285/.428 over 485 plate appearances. According to FanGraphs, his -0.5 fWAR was the worst mark of his career to date, but on the bright side, he should come cheap for a team looking to swap out their veterans come spring.

Of course, the specifics of the Rays’ offseason plan have yet to be divulged — or, by all accounts from Topkin, even decided on. The club could go the refurbishment route, changing out some of their higher-paid veterans for a mix of prospects and cheaper aging players; or they could opt for a full rebuild, which Topkin cautions against as it could have a negative effect on the financing of a new ballpark. Either way, the Rays figure to offload some of their bigger contracts this winter, and will need to decide if they want to retain Alex Colome, Chris Archer, Wilson Ramos, Evan Longoria and others before pursuing any other major free agents.