Cardinals right-hander Chris Carpenter has chosen to stop his rehab at least for a little while. Per Derrick Goold on Twitter, Carpenter called it, “[taking] a step back” after experiencing creeping numbness in his hand. He will be examined by doctors tonight while the Cardinals open up a three-game series at home against the Phillies.
Carpenter isn’t discouraged, which is a good sign.
Carpenter hasn’t pitched since Game Six of the National League Championship Series last year, when he allowed five runs in four innings to the Giants. His rehab has, for the most part, gone better than expected up until now, and there was some thought he would rejoin the Cardinals before the end of the season, either as a reliever or as a starter depending on how he felt and how much of his durability he recovered.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Yankees have signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, pending a physical. Assuming the deal is finalized, Sherman notes that the Yankees will have Niese work as both a starter and a reliever in big league camp this spring.
According to Sherman, the Yankees were interested in lefty relievers Jerry Blevins and Boone Logan, but didn’t want to commit at their asking prices. They are looking for a lefty set-up man along with Tommy Lane.
Niese, 30, pitched for the Pirates and Mets last season, finishing with a 5.50 ERA and an 88/47 K/BB ratio over 121 innings.
Veteran Omar Infante has spent the overwhelming majority of his career as an infielder, but the Tigers plan to give him some playing time in center field this spring. The Tigers’ center field situation is still murky and adding more versatility would increase Infante’s odds of making the roster.
Infante, 35, signed a minor league deal with the Tigers in December. He played 39 games for the Royals last season, batting .239/.279/.321 in 149 plate appearances while playing second base exclusively. Infante last played in the outfield in 2010 with the Braves, and last played center field specifically in ’09 with the Braves.
The Tigers currently have Mikie Mahtook, Tyler Collins, and JaCoby Jones at the top of their center field depth chart. It is not what one would call “optimal.”