Last week Reds outfielder Ryan Ludwick called out Cincinnati fans for their lack of energy. Our own Craig Calcaterra noted that Ludwick had put himself in a no-win situation and, sure enough, a short time later he quasi-apologized.
And now Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler has done more or less the same thing, calling out Texas fans for not packing the ballpark Sunday:
We’ve been to the postseason three years in a row. We’re fighting for our playoff lives. I’m just a little disappointed this place wasn’t sold out and rocking. You can’t say it’s the Cowboys because they were on the road. The fans were chanting “baseball town” and stuff like that, and we can’t sell out.
Todd Willis of ESPN Texas notes that the Rangers announced a crowd of 40,000, which meant there were about 9,000 empty seats. But the issue isn’t necessarily whether Kinsler has a point or not, but rather that players making millions of dollars per season ($13 million in Kinsler’s case, to be exact) calling out fans for not paying money to come watch them play baseball always comes across poorly.
The Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.
Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”
Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”
The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.
There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.
Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.