UPDATE: Here’s a clip of Valentine’s interview with Costas, which includes the former Red Sox manager saying he thought David Ortiz “decided not to play anymore” once they were out of the race:
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There’s no baseball game tonight, but if you’re into car wrecks and/or post mortems, Bobby Valentine is going to be sitting down for an interview with Bob Costas this evening. It’s on Costas Tonight, which airs at 10PM on the NBC Network.
This will be Valentine’s first sit-down interview since being canned following his and the Red Sox’ last place finish. A pretty notable one-and-done, I’d say. Biggest reason to watch, I’d say: to see if you can tell whether the Sox made him sign some sort of non-disparagement agreement. If he goes all vague-Bobby, they probably did. Under normal circumstances, however, you know he’d be full of passive-aggressive slams of management and some of his players.
Also on the show will be Michelle Beadle, who will be talking about social media topics and Jeremy Roenick who will discuss the NHL lockout.
Be there, babies.
Rangers’ bullpen candidate Tanner Scheppers left Friday’s Cactus League game with pain in his “lower half,” according to reports by Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. The specifics of the right-hander’s injury have yet to be determined, but he was accompanied by the athletic trainer when he exited the game and is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Saturday.
Scheppers, 30, has a long history of elbow and knee injuries. He missed all but 8 2/3 innings of the 2016 season after undergoing a procedure to repair torn articular cartilage in his left knee. While he appeared healthy enough through his first seven appearances this spring, he failed to impress with three runs, five walks and six strikeouts over 7 2/3 innings with the club.
Should Scheppers find himself on the disabled list for another lengthy stay, MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan speculates that his absence could clear some room in the bullpen for Rule 5 draft pick and fellow righty Mike Hauschild. Hauschild, 27, has dealt seven runs, five walks and 15 strikeouts through 17 1/3 innings in camp.
Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan reports that third baseman Jose Ramirez is finalizing a four-year extension with the Indians. The deal is said to be worth north of $30 million, and may crest $50 million if all options are exercised. While the extension won’t take effect until the 2018 season, it guarantees Ramirez a $26 million sum with two options worth $11 and $13 million and will give the Indians control of the infielder through the 2023 season.
Ramirez, 24, is entering his fifth season in the Indians’ organization. He posted career-high numbers during his first full season in the majors, slashing .312/.363/.461 with 11 home runs, 22 stolen bases and 4.8 fWAR in 2016. He’s projected to have a strong follow-up season at the plate and will likely see some time at second base as Jason Kipnis works his way back from a shoulder injury.
Although 2016 only showcased the beginning of Ramirez’s success with the club, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman says it’s a standard move for Cleveland to “sign their stars early,” and indicates that Ramirez was rumored to want the deal. Jeff Todd of MLB Trade Rumors adds that the extension will keep Ramirez under club control through three arbitration-eligible years and one year of potential free agency.