Michael Pineda has a 2.82 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and 22/10 K/BB ratio in 22 1/3 innings since he was cleared last month to begin a minor league rehab assignment. But the Yankees aren’t enticed yet.
According to Andy McCullough of the Newark Star-Ledger, there’s a strong possibility that Pineda will be optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre instead of begin activated when his 30-day rehab assignment window officially comes to a close on Monday. That’s mostly because Ivan Nova is doing well as the No. 5 starter, but it is also because the Yankees can secure an extra year of team control on Pineda by optioning him to the minor leagues and keeping him there for at least 20 days.
Pineda, 24, posted a 3.74 ERA, 1.10 WHIP and 9.1 K/9 in 171 innings with the Mariners in 2011. He was traded to New York that offseason along with Jose Campos for Jesus Montero and Hector Noesi.
Pineda has not pitched in a game for the Yankees since that deal because he developed shoulder issues during his first spring training with the Yankees and eventual needed a major surgical procedure.
UPDATE, 4:37 p.m. ET: Pineda has officially been optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, according to Andy McCullough of the Newark Star-Ledger. He should be called up at the end of this month.
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.