Team USA will be without their hottest hitter for tonight’s second-round World Baseball Classic matchup against the Dominican Republic.
According to MLB Network, David Wright was scratched from tonight’s lineup due to a sore back. Willie Bloomquist will make the start at third base in his place and bat ninth, which is a pretty significant downgrade. Meanwhile, Giancarlo Stanton will move up to the fifth spot in the order.
It’s a tough break for Team USA, as Wright is 7-for-16 (.438) with one home run, 10 RBI and four runs scored during the tournament. He went 2-for-5 with five RBI in a 7-1 victory over Puerto Rico on Tuesday.
UPDATE: Heidi Watney said on the MLB Network telecast that Wright was scratched for precautionary reasons, but will not be available to pinch hit tonight.
UPDATE II: According to David Lennon of New York Newsday, Wright said the injury is more on the back of his left rib cage. He will see Mets doctors on Friday in Port St. Lucie, so his status for the rest of the tournament is in doubt.
The story of the Indians postseason cannot be told without talking about injuries to starting pitchers Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar. They have forced Terry Francona to lean even harder on his bullpen than he otherwise may have and have cause the Indians to press rookie Ryan Merritt into service.
But Cleveland will be getting at least one of their starters back: Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway that Danny Salazar will be part of the World Series roster.
Salazar has not pitched since early September due to a strained right flexor muscle, but according to Callaway, Salazar is ready to throw 65-70 pitches in a game. That could mean a start, probably in Game 4 after Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer and Josh Tomlin. Merritt was a possible Game 4 starter, but he could either pair up with Salazar in a tandem start or serve in long relief.
Cubs’ left fielder Kyle Schwarber missed virtually the entire 2016 season due to torn knee ligaments, but he has been working his way back to health more quickly than initially expected. Indeed, he has been playing for the Cubs in the Arizona Fall League, serving as a DH. Many have speculated that the Cubs will activate him for the World Series.
Today, at his World Series media session, Cubs manager Joe Maddon said that reports from Arizona are good on Schwarber and that the he will fly to Cleveland to join the team after tonight’s game in Arizona. Maddon says the team will make a decision on activating him once he arrives. The Cubs have until tomorrow morning to set their World Series roster.
Our guess is that Schwarber will get the call and will serve as the DH for the Cubs in Games 1, 2 and, if necessary, 6 and 7 in Cleveland. If so, a lost season could very quickly turn into a storybook season for the Cubs’ young slugger.