According to Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post, Jeff Mathis suffered a broken collarbone when he was hit by a foul tip during the fourth inning of today’s Grapefruit League opener against the Cardinals. The injury will sideline him for around six weeks, which means he’ll likely begin the season on the disabled list.
Mathis was acquired by the Marlins this winter in the big 12-player trade that sent Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle and Emilio Bonifacio to Toronto. The 29-year-old backstop batted .218/.249/.393 with eight home runs and a .642 OPS in 227 plate appearances last season and threw out 41 percent of attempted basestealers.
Mathis was projected to open the season as the backup to young Rob Brantly, but the Marlins could now be on the lookout for some veteran insurance behind the plate. Kyle Skipworth is the only other catcher on the 40-man roster.
Rays’ right fielder Steven Souza Jr. left Saturday’s game after getting hit on the left hand by a pitch from Blue Jays’ right-hander Joe Biagini in the seventh inning. The pitch appeared to hit the top of Souza Jr.’s hand, causing the outfielder to crumple at the plate and requiring assistance from assistant athletic trainer Paul Harker as he exited the field. Postgame reports from the Tampa Bay Times’ Marc Topkin revealed that Souza Jr. sustained a left hand contusion and is scheduled to undergo further evaluation on Sunday.
While the diagnosis isn’t as bad as it could be, it’s still a tough break for the right fielder, who missed 40 days of the 2015 season after sustaining a fracture in his left hand on another hit by pitch. The team has yet to announce any concrete timetable for Souza Jr.’s return, though manager Kevin Cash indicated that they’ll be taking things day to day for the time being.
Souza Jr. is batting .326/.398/.543 with four home runs and 17 RBI through 104 PA in 2017. He went 1-for-2 with a base hit and a walk prior to his departure during Saturday’s 4-1 loss.
It’s been a slow start to the season for Yankees’ outfielder Brett Gardner, who entered Saturday’s matinee against the Orioles with a .188/.316/.234 batting line, three doubles and five stolen bases in his first 76 PA of the year. That all changed in the first inning of Saturday’s game, when Gardner skied a leadoff home run to right field:
Orioles’ right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez couldn’t find his footing against the Yankees in the second inning, either. Gardner returned for his second home run of the season, a three-run shot to lift New York 5-0 over Baltimore:
Measured at 411 feet in the right field bullpen, the left fielder’s blast marked the seventh home run hit by a Yankee this series. According to the club’s PR department, it’s also the first multi-home run game Gardner has recorded since September 2015. The Yankees currently lead the Orioles 7-0 through four innings.