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Previewing Saturday’s Fall Stars Game in the Arizona Fall League

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Feeling lost without live baseball in your life? Worry not, as some of the game’s top prospects will be on display in tonight’s Fall Stars Game in the Arizona Fall League. The game will begin at 8 p.m. ET and will be broadcast live on MLB Network and MLB.com.

Formerly known as the “Rising Stars” game, this is the eighth annual edition of the exhibition contest, which essentially functions as the fall edition of the “Futures Game” like we see during MLB’s All-Star Game festivities. As Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com notes, Bryce Harper, Mike Trout, Ryan Braun, Craig Kimbrel, and Buster Posey have participated in the game and gone on to win Rookie of the Year Awards. Counting the past four editions of the game, 93 players have reached the majors the very next season, so consider this an early sneak preview for 2014.

This year’s class is highlighted by Byron Buxton of the Twins and Kris Bryant of the Cubs. Buxton, 19, is coming off a monster season in which he batted .334/.424/.520 with 12 home runs, 77 RBI, and 55 stolen bases in 125 games between Class A Cedar Rapids and High-A Fort Myers. Bryant was Chicago’s first-round pick this past June and after mashing nine homers in his first 32 pro games, he leads the Arizona Fall League with six homers and 17 RBI.

Toronto’s Aaron Sanchez will make the start for the East team while Minnesota’s Alex Meyer will get the ball for the West, though they are unlikely to throw more than a couple of innings. Below are the lineups for tonight’s contest:

Fall Stars East: LF – James Ramsey (Cardinals), CF – Brian Goodwin (Nationals), 3B – Kris Bryant (Cubs), 1B – C.J. Cron (Angels), 2B – Taylor Lindsey (Angels), DH – Stephen Piscotty (Cardinals), RF – Jorge Soler (Cubs), C- Peter O’Brien (NYY), SS – Addison Russell (Athletics)

Fall Stars West: LF – Delino DeShields, Jr. (Astros), DH – Tyler Naquin (Indians), CF – Byron Buxton (Twins), 3B – Colin Moran (Marlins), RF – Jorge Bonifacio (Royals), SS – Corey Seager (Dodgers), C – Austin Hedges (Padres), 1B – Brett Nicholas (Rangers), 2B – Mookie Betts (Red Sox)

Mets leaning on Jay Bruce, Neil Walker as Lucas Duda insurance

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MAY 12:  Pinch hitter Lucas Duda #21 of the New York Mets walks back to the dugout after striking out for the first out of the ninth inning against Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on May 12, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  The Dodgers won 5-0.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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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.

Jason Kipnis diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Jason Kipnis #22 of the Cleveland Indians celebrates after scoring a run on a wild pitch thrown by Jon Lester #34 of the Chicago Cubs (not pictured) during the fifth inning in Game Seven of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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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.