Minor scare down in the Dominican Winter League.
From ESPN’s Buster Olney comes word that Indians catcher Carlos Santana fouled a ball off his right leg — near the knee — during a game Saturday while playing for Leones del Escogido. He left with a limp, but Olney says trainers are “not concerned” at this point that he suffered any sort of serious injury.
We can probably just call it a right leg bruise.
Santana, 26, batted .252/.365/.420 with 18 home runs and 76 RBI over 609 plate appearances this summer for the fourth-place Tribe. He hit .239/.351/.457 with 27 home runs and 79 RBI in 2011.
The Dominican native underwent major surgery on his left knee in August 2010 after getting railroaded on a play at the plate by Red Sox outfielder Ryan Kalish. He made a full recovery from that procedure.
Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly reports that the Phillies are close to signing free agent reliever Joaquin Benoit. An announcement is expected before the winter meetings end on Thursday.
Benoit, 39, has quietly been among the better relievers in baseball over the past seven years. This past season with the Mariners and Blue Jays, the right-hander put up an aggregate 2.81 ERA with a 52/24 K/BB ratio in 48 innings. That included a 0.38 ERA in 23 2/3 innings after the Jays acquired him from the Mariners.
Benoit suffered a torn calf muscle during a benches-clearing brawl with the Yankees near the end of the regular season. He’s expected to be healthy for spring training.
The Phillies have now added three relievers this offseason with Benoit, Pat Neshek, and David Rollins.
ESPN’s Pedro Gomez provides a previously unreported detail of the new collective bargaining agreement, agreed to by the owners and the players’ union last week. Players’ meal money for road games is being reduced from $105 to $30 per day. Teams are providing pre- and post-game meals in the visitors’ clubhouse to offset some of the decrease in meal money.
Gomez quotes an unnamed player who said, “I doubt many guys know about the money going down, nor would they have agreed to it.” All of the players Gomez contacted said they were unaware of and unhappy about the change.
Clubhouse attendants are certainly unhappy about this change, too. As Gomez notes, the attendants previously provided food for visiting teams which earned them tips from the players.
EDIT: It’s worth clarifying that chefs are required in clubhouses now as part of the new CBA, so it’s not a complete loss for the players.