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Brett Myers isn’t feeling 100 percent

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Brett Myers gave up two homers in five innings yesterday in a 3-2 loss to the Astros. He has now served up 10 long balls in 21 1/3 innings over his first four starts this season and currently holds a league-worst 8.02 ERA. While he has always been prone to the gopher ball, it appears there’s a reason for his early struggles.

According to Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Myers said after last night’s game that he has has dealt with soreness in the flexor tendon muscle in his right forearm since spring training. He was visited by manager Terry Francona, pitching coach Mickey Callaway and head athletic trainer Lonnie Soloff during the fifth inning last night, but was able to finish the frame.

“My velocity dropped, and I’m not sure why,” said Myers. “It just happened. They came out to see if I was all right.”

Myers averaged 91.6 mph on his fastball as a reliever with the Astros and White Sox, but it has dropped down to 88.4 mph with his move back to the rotation this year. It’s worth noting that he had the same average velocity during his last stint as a starter in 2011 when he posted a 4.46 ERA over 216 innings. Still, if his struggles continue, he could have a stint on the disabled list in his future.

Myers joined the Indians over the winter on a one-year, $7 million deal with an $8 million club option for 2014. The option becomes guaranteed if he throws 200 innings and passes a physical after the season.

Jason Kipnis could join Team Israel for 2017 World Baseball Classic

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Jason Kipnis #22 of the Cleveland Indians throws during batting practice prior to Game Seven of the 2016 World Series against the Chicago Cubs at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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With the 2017 World Baseball Classic around the corner, Team Israel has reportedly reached out to Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, per MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. Tournament rules stipulate that a player’s roster eligibility can be achieved in one of several ways: they were born in the country in question or hold citizenship/permanent legal residence there (or are simply capable of qualifying for citizenship), or one of their parents was born in the country or holds citizenship/permanent legal residence there.

For Kipnis, it’s the latter. Kipnis’ father, Mark Kipnis, is Jewish. That gives Kipnis the status he needs to suit up for Team Israel, despite the fact that he is a practicing Roman Catholic. He has yet to confirm or deny his participation in the competition.

Fifteen players have confirmed for Team Israel so far, including Mets’ infielder/outfielder Ty Kelly and free agents Sam Fuld, Nate Freiman, Jason Marquis and Jeremy Bleich. Per MLB.com’s Chad Thornburg, eight minor leaguers will also appear for the team. Like Kipnis, at least three other major leaguers are eligible for Team Israel’s roster but have yet to accept or decline involvement in the WBC: Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson, Mariners infielder/outfielder Danny Valencia and free agent left-hander Craig Breslow.

Rangers to sign James Loney to minor league deal

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 21: James Loney #28 of the New York Mets tosses to first base against the San Francisco Giants during the second inning at AT&T Park on August 21, 2016 in San Francisco, California.  The New York Mets defeated the San Francisco Giants 2-0. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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Free agent first baseman James Loney has reportedly signed a minor league deal with the Rangers, per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The deal includes an invite to spring training and a $1 million salary if he makes the major league roster in 2017.

Loney picked up a one-year stint and starting role with the Mets in 2016, slashing .265/.307/.397 with nine home runs in 336 PA. While his numbers were down a hair from the .280/.322/.357 batting line he produced with the Rays in 2015, he provided the Mets with a necessary, if underwhelming upgrade over an injured Lucas Duda through most of the season.

The 32-year-old infielder is expected to have some competition at first base, with at least five other candidates in the mix: Jurickson Profar, Ronald Guzman, Ryan Rua, Joey Gallo and Josh Hamilton. Rumor has it that the team is planning on platooning Rua and Profar in 2017, barring any impressive breakouts or injuries during spring training, though Loney could still provide the club with some veteran depth and a decent left-handed bat off the bench.