Mets prospect Jenrry Mejia hasn’t reported to spring training yet because he’s stuck in the Dominican Republic and get can’t approved for a work visa due to an investigation into his age and identity.
General manager Sandy Alderson told reporters today that he believes the investigation is random, saying: “I don’t think there was any reason specifically that they decided to do that. I understand that there is a new regime at the consulate and they wanted to do that review.”
Before becoming the Mets’ general manager Alderson was a Special Consultant to the Commissioner for Latin America, which involved working to crack down on identify fraud in the Dominican Republic, among other countries. So presumably when Alderson says he thinks it’s a random investigation he has some pretty solid sources.
Jorge Castillo of the Newark Star-Ledger reports that Mejia will work out at the Mets’ complex in the Dominican Republic, so assuming he’s eventually cleared for a visa the 23-year-old right-hander shouldn’t be too far behind the other pitchers in camp.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Yankees have signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, pending a physical. Assuming the deal is finalized, Sherman notes that the Yankees will have Niese work as both a starter and a reliever in big league camp this spring.
According to Sherman, the Yankees were interested in lefty relievers Jerry Blevins and Boone Logan, but didn’t want to commit at their asking prices. They are looking for a lefty set-up man along with Tommy Lane.
Niese, 30, pitched for the Pirates and Mets last season, finishing with a 5.50 ERA and an 88/47 K/BB ratio over 121 innings.
Veteran Omar Infante has spent the overwhelming majority of his career as an infielder, but the Tigers plan to give him some playing time in center field this spring. The Tigers’ center field situation is still murky and adding more versatility would increase Infante’s odds of making the roster.
Infante, 35, signed a minor league deal with the Tigers in December. He played 39 games for the Royals last season, batting .239/.279/.321 in 149 plate appearances while playing second base exclusively. Infante last played in the outfield in 2010 with the Braves, and last played center field specifically in ’09 with the Braves.
The Tigers currently have Mikie Mahtook, Tyler Collins, and JaCoby Jones at the top of their center field depth chart. It is not what one would call “optimal.”