Arizona catcher Miguel Montero was held out of Monday’s Cactus League game against the Royals because of a swollen right thumb that team trainers assumed was the result of a deeply embedded splinter. But there is no splinter, folks. There never was a splinter. MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert explains:
Exactly what is wrong with the D-backs catcher’s thumb is not clear. Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said there was a splinter in there, but Montero said that when the training staff drained the puss out of it Monday, they could not find anything in there.
Gibson told reporters on Tuesday afternoon in camp that the thumb is “calming down” and that Montero may be able to play a couple of innings in Wednesday’s Cactus League game versus the Reds. “It’s much better,” said the Diamondbacks skipper. “It looked like it might be getting infected yesterday, so we’ve been treating that for that. … Hopefully he can play [Wednesday].”
“It came out of nowhere,” Montero added. “I don’t know what happened.”
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.