National League rules are causing quite the conundrum for the Red Sox. As they’ll be in St. Louis for Games 3, 4, and 5, they will have to watch their pitchers bat rather than utilizing a DH, normally David Ortiz. They must choose one of Ortiz and Mike Napoli, who has been playing first base throughout the post-season. Scott Miller of CBS Sports tweets that the Red Sox have chosen to go with Ortiz at first base while Mike Napoli will ride the bench, at least for Game 3. Ortiz played first base during interleague play, even as recently as September 24-25.
Both Ortiz and Napoli have been their team’s most productive hitters, so this is a bit of a blow. Ortiz owns a .268/.392/.659 line in the 2013 post-season while Napoli is at .225/.326/.475.
Red Sox manager John Farrell will also switch it up in left field, going with Daniel Nava over Jonny Gomes. Nava hasn’t started a post-season game for the Sox since Game 4 of the ALCS against Tigers starter Doug Fister. Gomes got the vote of confidence from Farrell despite facing two right-handed starters. He is hitless in seven trips to the plate in World Series play thus far.
Rangers reliever Jake Diekman will have surgery on January 25 to help alleviate ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease. As a result, the lefty will miss at least half of the 2017 regular season, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. Diekman was diagnosed with the illness when he was 11 years old. He has brought awareness to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America with a “Gut It Out” campaign.
Diekman, who turns 30 years old on Saturday, finished the 2016 campaign with a 3.40 ERA and a 59/26 K/BB ratio in 53 innings. He came to the Rangers from the Phillies in the Cole Hamels trade on July 31, 2015.
The Rangers and Diekman avoided arbitration last Friday, agreeing to a $2.55 million salary for the 2017 season.
It’s been on the verge of happening for a few days now, but now it’s official: the Toronto Blue Jays and Jose Bautista have reached a one-year deal with a mutual option. The deal is pending physical. An announcement making the deal official is expected later in week.
The exact financial figures have not been disclosed, but Jon Heyman reports that it will be in excess of the $17.2 million Bautista turned down when he turned down the Jays’ qualifying offer.
Bautista had a tough 2016, hitting .234/.366/.452 with 22 home runs and 69 RBI, and some clubs likely considered a long-term deal for the 36-year-old too risky, this leading to the relative lack of reported interest in Bautista by other clubs. But back-to-back ALCS appearances by the Jays and the success and popularity Bautista has experienced in Toronto make his re-signing there a pretty sensible move for all involved.