Completing the next step in his attempt to revive his Major League career, reliever Ryan Madson threw some baseballs in an open audition for about 15 teams today in Phoenix, Arizona. As ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports, the 33-year-old right-hander was able to get his fastball up to 93 MPH, which impressed the representatives of some teams in attendance.
It will be surprising if Madson doesn’t end up latching on with a team on a minor league deal soon. They say you can never have too much pitching, especially when it’s relatively risk-free in this case. The worst that happens is a team brings Madson into camp, he doesn’t perform or gets injured again, and they simply pay him for his time in February and March.
Madson hasn’t thrown a pitch since he retired Cardinals Yadier Molina, Daniel Descalso, and Nick Punto in order in the top of the ninth inning in Game 5 of the 2011 NLDS with the Phillies. Before his career was derailed by injuries, he had performed admirably as one of baseball’s best set-up men and briefly as a closer in 2011 when Brad Lidge couldn’t stay healthy.
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.