Jason Kipnis open to discussing a contract extension with the Indians

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Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer reports that second baseman Jason Kipnis is open to discussing a contract extension with the Indians. The two sides will likely begin talking during spring training. Kipnis, however, does not want contract talks to distract him during the regular season, as MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian writes.

Kipnis, who turns 27 years old on April 3, will become eligible for arbitration for the first time after the season. He can become a free agent after the 2017 season. An extension would likely buy out at least two of the years leading up to the second baseman’s free agency.

Since the beginning of the 2012 season, Kipnis has been the fifth-most valuable second baseman in the game (min. 1,000 plate appearances), according to FanGraphs WAR. He trails Robinson Cano, Ben Zobrist, Dustin Pedroia, and Matt Carpenter while narrowly outranking Aaron Hill.

Kris Bryant exits game with sprained right ankle

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The Cubs had a scare on Wednesday night when third baseman Kris Bryant left with an apparent ankle injury. In the bottom of the fifth inning, Nationals catcher Matt Wieters hit a pop up that veered just into foul territory near the third base bag. Bryant caught it but his momentum took him back into fair territory. In doing so, he stepped awkwardly on the third base bag and appeared to twist his ankle. Bryant needed the assistance of manager Joe Maddon and the team trainer to get off the field.

Bryant was diagnosed with a mild ankle sprain, CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney reports.

Bryant was 2-for-3 on the night before departing and being replaced by Jeimer Candelario. He’s now hitting .264/.395/.520 with 16 home runs and 32 RBI in 329 plate appearances. Needless to say, the 39-39 Cubs would see their playoff odds hurt immensely if Bryant were to miss a significant amount of time.

Miguel Sano will participate in the 2017 Home Run Derby

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Hector Gomez reports Twins third baseman Miguel Sano will participate in the 2017 Home Run Derby, to be held in two weeks at Marlins Park in Miami. So far, Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton is the only other confirmed participant.

Sano, 24, is having an outstanding season, batting .274/.375/.548 with 18 home runs and 53 RBI in 293 plate appearances. According to MLB’s Statcast, only Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge (96.7 MPH) has a higher average exit velocity than Sano (96.4 MPH).

Brian Dozier was the last member of the Twins to participate in the Home Run Derby. In 2014 at Target Field, Dozier failed to make it into the second round after hitting only two home runs. Justin Morneau is the only Twin to have ever won the Home Run Derby, as he beat Josh Hamilton 5-3 in the finals of the 2008 Derby at Yankee Stadium — although Hamilton out-homered him in total 35 to 22.