Not only is Jesus Montero one of the slowest runners in baseball, he runs … well, let’s say oddly. Jeff Sullivan of the Mariners blog Lookout Landing once described Montero’s running style as like “stepping on creaky floorboards and you’re trying not to wake up a baby.”
And as Greg Johns of MLB.com reports, Montero spent the offseason trying not to run so slowly and oddly:
“I spent a lot of time running and working on my techniques about running,” he said. “That’s what I did. I ran a lot and I learned how to run. Because last year … you know I’m slow, but I want to run a little better and gain a little more speed and all that. So that’s what I did, just run.”
Montero said he worked with a running specialist from Venezuela, as well as an instructor the Mariners sent to help him after observing his upright, awkward style in his first year in Seattle.
So does he feel faster now? “I feel good,” Montero said with a smile. “I’m learning how to run a little more beautiful, a little better, you know?”
I was going to make a joke about the absurdity of a 23-year-old professional athlete not knowing how to run, but then I remembered I’m a 30-year-old man who never learned how to shave with a non-electric razor and has instead spent the past decade with a constant five o’clock shadow like some sort of Jewish Don Johnson. Maybe I should go to Venezuela in search of a shaving expert, is the moral of this post basically.
The Braves reportedly have a deal in place with free agent catcher Kurt Suzuki, per Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that the contract is for one year, $1.5 million with up to $2.5 million in additional incentives.
Suzuki, 33, completed a three-year track with the Twins in 2016, slashing .258/.301/.403 with eight home runs in 373 PA. The veteran backstop likely won’t provide an offensive or defensive upgrade over current starter Tyler Flowers, but should give the Braves some depth at a position they’ve been looking to strengthen since the start of the offseason.
The team has yet to confirm the deal.
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.