This year’s Topps baseball cards include “career chase” notes on the back that list how far players are away from various statistical records. For instance, on the back of Mets reliever Bobby Parnell’s card it says: “With 249 games pitched, Parnell is 1,003 away from Jesse Orosco’s all-time record of 1,252.”
However, Rob Harris of ChicagoSideSports.com noticed that all of the “career chase” notes mentioning hit totals do so without actually using Pete Rose’s name. So, for example, A.J. Pierzynski’s card says: “With 1,645 hits, Pierzynski is 2,611 away from the all-time record of 4,256.”
That “all-time record of 4,256” belongs to Rose, of course, but apparently Topps has taken it upon themselves to whitewash him from history. Or something. When contacted by Harris company spokesperson Clay Luraschi said only that it was “a simple decision” and made “plain and simple.”
I’m guessing the “plain and simple” part has to do with Topps’ licensing agreement with MLB, which obviously wants nothing to do with Rose (and Topps wants even less to do with angering MLB). But until told otherwise I’m going to assume Topps is taking this stance in 2013, three decades after Rose retired, because they’re less offended by his connection to gambling on games and more offended by his new reality television show on TLC.
The Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.
Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”
Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”
The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.
There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.
Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.