Shaun Marcum has yet to make his season debut due to nerve inflammation in his neck, but he’s inching closer to joining the Mets’ rotation.
According to Marc Carig of New York Newsday, Marcum tossed no-hit innings this afternoon in an extended spring training game in Port St. Lucie, Florida. The veteran right-hander threw a total of 41 pitches and struck out five batters.
Mets manager Terry Collins previously said that they want Marcum to get stretched out to around 90 pitches before being activated from the disabled list, so he figures to need two more rehab outings. That means left-hander Aaron Laffey will likely stick in the rotation for the time being.
Marcum, 31, posted a 3.70 ERA and 109/41 K/BB ratio in 124 innings over 21 starts with the Brewers last season. He signed a one-year deal with the Mets this winter which includes $4 million guaranteed.
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.