UPDATE: Marc Topkin of the Tampa Times reports that Scott has been placed on the disabled list. He could miss as much as five weeks.
3:20 PM: Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune reports that Scott received a cortisone shot in his calf and hopes to be return by April 8. In other words, he will begin the season on the disabled list.
11:01 AM: Luke Scott was sent for an MRI yesterday after he was forced to leave a minor league game due to continued soreness in his right calf. According to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, Scott was diagnosed with a calf strain, which means that he will almost certainly begin the season on the disabled list.
The symptoms first popped up on Monday, but it wasn’t a major concern initially. Scott could be looking at an extended absence following his setback, though the Rays will likely know more once he sees the team doctor later today.
Assuming Scott begins the season on the disabled list, Brandon Guyer, Stephen Vogt or Chris Gimenez are the most likely options to replace him on the Opening Day roster. Shelley Duncan and Leslie Anderson are also possibilities, but the Rays would have to make room on the 40-man roster.
Scott, 34, batted .229/.285/.439 with 14 home runs, 55 RBI and a .724 OPS in 96 games last season. After declining his $6 million club option, the Rays brought him back this winter on a one-year, $2.75 million deal.
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.