Indians 12, Red Sox 3: The Tribe’s bats had a nice night with Yan Gomes, Mark Reynolds and Michael Bourn all racking up multiple RBI. Oh, and you may or may not have heard this, but Terry Francona, currently the Indians’ manager, used to be the Red Sox manager and this was his first time back in Boston since he was fired and some people were talking about it and stuff. Kinda surprised me, too!
Angels 5, Royals 4: Trout, Pujols and Trumbo hit homers. The Angels have won five in a row. The Royals have lost 13 of 18. It’s almost like that great spring training record they had didn’t have a ton of predictive value for the long haul of the regular season.
Tigers 7, Twins 6: Miguel Cabrera had his sixth homer in four games. Later Jim Leyland screwed up and had Torii Hunter bunt in front of Cabrera, leaving first base open and thus taking the bat out of the most dangerous hitter in baseball’s hands when Ron Gardenhire walked him. Thankfully for Leyland Prince Fielder is pretty dangerous himself, singled and drove in the winning run.
Blue Jays 12, Orioles 6: Orioles starter Kevin Gausman — that kid who used to eat powdered donuts between every inning — had a rude welcome to the majors, Edwin Encarnacion hit a grand slam and J.P. Arencibia homered and drove in four.
Pirates 4, Cubs 2: Four in a row for Pittsburgh. And 11 of 13 overall. The anti-Royals, I guess. Andrew McCutchen had three hits and two RBIs.
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.
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.