Carlos Beltran had his introductory news conference with the Yankees today and said all the things a guy who just signed with the Yankees is expected to say. It’s a great organization, it was his dream to play in pinstripes, etc. etc.
But of course, since Beltran spent so much time with the Mets, he was asked about his often turbulent time in Queens. Specifically, the topic of the smear-job the Mets did on Beltran with respect to a visit to Walter Reed Hospital during a trip to Washington came up.
The short version, for those who forgot: in 2010 Mets players made a trip to visit wounded veterans, but Beltran was in Puerto Rico on his off day to help launch his charity. The team knew this and actually have Beltran permission to miss the Walter Reed trip. And, for what it’s worth, the charity Beltran was launching that day just won Beltran the Clemente Award. Nevertheless, Mets sources anonymously trashed Beltran to the press, trying to make him out to be a team cancer or something. It was low, even by Mets standards.
Beltran talked about that today:
“The controversy about Walter Reed and the knee, the organization trying to prove as a player that I was a bad apple,” Beltran said. “I was this, I was that. I can deal with 0-for-4s and three strikeouts and talking to you guys. I can deal with that. When somebody is trying to hurt you in a personal way, trying to put things out there that are not me, we have trouble. Now it’s personal, you know what I’m saying? In that point, when they say all that about myself, of course I was hurt.”
Given the cheap shots the team fired at him back in 2010, I’d say that’s pretty restrained.
Welcome back to New York, Carlos.
Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.
The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.
Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.
Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon hasn’t selected a fifth starter for his 2017 rotation yet, but told reporters that he could envision left-handers Brett Anderson and Mike Montgomery sharing the spot throughout the year. Neither pitcher was stretched out to the full 200-inning threshold last year, Maddon added, and suggested that the two could alternate innings out of the rotation and bullpen as needed (via MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat).
Anderson, 29, was acquired by the Cubs in January on a $3.5 million deal. He’s coming off a rough 2016, during which he underwent back surgery and missed all but 11 1/3 innings of his last season with the Dodgers. His last full, healthy year in the majors yielded a 3.69 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 5.8 SO/9 over 180 1/3 innings with Los Angeles in 2015.
Montgomery, meanwhile, is vying for a rotation spot after pitching almost exclusively from the bullpen during the second half of the Cubs’ 2016 run. The 27-year-old lefty put up a 2.82 ERA, 4.7 BB/9 and 8.9 SO/9 over 38 1/3 innings for Chicago last year, returning in the postseason to post a 3.14 ERA during the Cubs’ championship finish.
Maddon also mentioned the possibility of throwing a sixth starter into the mix, which would help prevent his other starters from getting overworked too early in the year. Either way, Anderson and Montgomery are expected to get a lot of looks early in spring training as rotation spots are finalized in the weeks leading up to Opening Day.