Here are the lineups for Game 2 of the ALDS between the Orioles and Yankees, in Baltimore:
BALTIMORE ORIOLES NEW YORK YANKEES
1. Nate McLouth, LF 1. Derek Jeter, SS
2. J.J. Hardy, SS 2. Ichiro Suzuki, LF
3. Chris Davis, RF 3. Alex Rodriguez, 3B
4. Adam Jones, CF 4. Robinson Cano, 2B
5. Matt Wieters, C 5. Nick Swisher, RF
6. Mark Reynolds, 1B 6. Mark Teixeira, 1B
7. Jim Thome, DH 7. Russell Martin, C
8. Manny Machado, 3B 8. Curtis Granderson, CF
9. Robert Andino, 2B 9. Eduardo Nunez, DH
SP Wei-Yin Chen, LHP SP Andy Pettitte, LHP
Despite the Yankees throwing back-to-back left-handers manager Buck Showalter is using a different lineup against Andy Pettitte than he had against CC Sabathia. Lew Ford is benched, with Jim Thome replacing him at designated hitter. Left-handed-hitting Chris Davis slides up from seventh to third, moving everyone else down. Pettitte held lefties a .202 batting average and .516 OPS, compared to .245 and .681 from righties, so on paper at least Showalter’s changes look … well, let’s say interesting.
Meanwhile, the Yankees are facing left-hander Wei-Yin Chen instead of right-hander Jason Hammel, so manager Joe Girardi flipped Curtis Granderson and Russell Martin in the 7-8 spots and benched Raul Ibanez in favor of Eduardo Nunez. Nunez as a starting designated hitter in a playoff game is pretty weird considering his .384 career slugging percentage, although he’s been slightly better versus lefties.
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.
Free agent first baseman James Loney has reportedly signed a minor league deal with the Rangers, per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The deal includes an invite to spring training and a $1 million salary if he makes the major league roster in 2017.
Loney picked up a one-year stint and starting role with the Mets in 2016, slashing .265/.307/.397 with nine home runs in 336 PA. While his numbers were down a hair from the .280/.322/.357 batting line he produced with the Rays in 2015, he provided the Mets with a necessary, if underwhelming upgrade over an injured Lucas Duda through most of the season.
The 32-year-old infielder is expected to have some competition at first base, with at least five other candidates in the mix: Jurickson Profar, Ronald Guzman, Ryan Rua, Joey Gallo and Josh Hamilton. Rumor has it that the team is planning on platooning Rua and Profar in 2017, barring any impressive breakouts or injuries during spring training, though Loney could still provide the club with some veteran depth and a decent left-handed bat off the bench.