It has been a hellish week for the Rockies, losers of seven of their last eight games. They lost starter Roy Oswalt to a hamstring injury in the second inning this afternoon, then lost outfielder Carlos Gonzalez to a right hand injury in the ninth inning just as they were ready to escape the Arizona heat.
With one out in the ninth inning, Gonzalez swung at and fouled off the first pitch he saw from Diamondbacks reliever Josh Collmenter, an 88 MPH cut fastball. He grimaced on the backswing, then immediately dropped the bat and paced around the home plate area, shaking his hand. Manager Walt Weiss and a trainer came out to find out more about Gonzalez’s pain. After a couple minutes of deliberation, Gonzalez walked off the field and was pinch-hit for with Todd Helton, who eventually struck out for the second out. Michael Cuddyer then struck out to end the game, a 6-1 victory for the first-place Diamondbacks.
Troy Renck reports that Gonzalez sprained the middle finger on his right hand. Fortunately for the Rockies, x-rays came up negative and the outfielder is listed as day-to-day.
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.