According to Janie McCauley of the Associated Press, Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said earlier this evening that MLB is investigating a homophobic message sent from Derek Holland’s Twitter account to a heckler last night.
The tweet, which has since been deleted, was posted during the second game of yesterday’s doubleheader against the Angels in which Holland allowed seven runs over 6 2/3 innings as part of an 8-7 win. MLB prohibits players from using social media 30 minutes before a game or during a game.
Holland told Keith Whitmire of FOXSportsSouthwest.com that his fiancee has access to his Twitter account, but claims that the offensive message was the result of a hacker.
“It’s obvious it was not me,” Holland said. “It was during the game, for one. And for two, I’m in the dugout cheering my teammates on. Why would I say that anyway to begin with?”
“It’s definitely a hacker,” Holland said. “Obviously my fiancée can get into it, but trust me, she’s not like that. She’s one of the nicest people in the world.”
It’s not clear when MLB’s investigation will be complete, but Daniels called it a “serious issue” and an “unacceptable term to use.” The tweet was posted less than two weeks after Blue Jays shortstop Yunel Escobar was suspended three games for displaying a homophobic slur written in Spanish on his eye black.
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.
According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Cardinals are keeping an eye on outfield prospect Luis Robert. The 19-year-old left his native Cuba last November and is expected to command interest from multiple MLB teams as he approaches free agency. Goold adds that the Cardinals sent scouts to evaluate Robert’s workouts in the Dominican Republic as recently as last week.
There’s still a good chance that the club won’t get a shot at signing him; as Craig mentioned last month, it seems likely that Major League Baseball won’t declare Robert a free agent until after June 15. By July 2, the new Collective Bargaining Agreement’s policies on international bonuses will go into effect, handcuffing teams with the maximum penalty for bonuses to a $300,000 signing figure for any available international prospect. It’s designed to effectively take away those teams’ abilities to sign additional international talent, and the Cardinals have already spent a reported $9.35 million in bonuses on Venezuelan outfielder Victor Garcia, Cuban outfielders Jonatan Machado and Randy Arozarena and Cuban right-hander Johan Oviedo.
Until the cutoff in mid-June, the Cardinals are likely to continue actively scouting other international talent, including Robert. MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez quotes an anonymous National League scouting director who describes Robert as the No. 2 talent behind Japanese wunderkind Shohei Otani. The 19-year-old hit .286/.319/.397 with a .716 OPS during a 16-game run in the Canadian-American League in 2016, following up an impressive three-year tenure with the Ciego de Avila in the Cuban National Series from 2013-2015.