The Yankees just announced that Derek Jeter underwent surgery today in North Carolina to repair a left ankle fracture.
Jeter battled foot and ankle injuries down the stretch, but he suffered the fracture while trying to make a play on a ground ball in the 12th inning in Game 1 of the ALCS against the Tigers last Saturday. He’s expected to need 4-5 months of recovery time, which puts him on pace to be ready somewhere around the start of spring training in February if all goes well.
Any setbacks could put Jeter at risk for missing the start of the 2013 season, but Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told Bryan Hoch of MLB.com this week that a shortstop isn’t on his offseason shopping list and that he’s prepared to forge ahead with Eduardo Nunez and Jayson Nix as backups.
“I haven’t looked at that at this stage,” Cashman said. “We do have Eduardo Nunez, we have Jayson Nix [as backups]. So it’s not something we’ve focused on, and I wouldn’t think that that’s something I would gravitate to.”
Jeter, 38, continued to defy father time this year by batting .316/.362/.429 with 15 home runs, 58 RBI and a .791 OPS while leading the majors with 216 hits. He is owed $17 million next season while his contract includes an $8 million player option or $3 million buyout for 2014.
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.