From beat writer Mike Puma of the New York Post comes word that Mets right-hander Shaun Marcum has been diagnosed with a shoulder impingement and was administered a cortisone injection on Tuesday in Manhattan to fight the symptoms.
Mets general manager Sandy Alderson told Puma Wednesday that the shot was “largely precautionary” and that Marcum has not been ruled out for the start of the season. But that’s probably subject to change.
Marcum battled shoulder soreness last spring and wound up going only 124 innings in 2012 with the Brewers. He inked a one-year, $4 million free agent contract with the Mets in late January after drawing interest from only a handful of teams.
The 31-year-old owns a 3.76 career ERA and a 1.22 career WHIP. If he isn’t ready to go, the Mets’ first-week rotation will probably be Jon Niese, Jeremy Hefner, Matt Harvey, Dillon Gee and then Aaron Laffey.
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.