UPDATE: Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News reports that X-rays came back clean and Mejia is dealing with inflammation. No word yet on his status for the Opening Day roster.
9:47 a.m ET: Mets right-hander Jenrry Mejia has made a strong case for a rotation spot this spring, but a comebacker could put him on the outside looking in.
Mejia left last night’s exhibition game against the Blue Jays at Olympic Stadium after he was hit in the right forearm with a ball off the bat of Ryan Goins in the bottom of the fifth inning. Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reports that the initial diagnosis is a forearm bruise, but he was sent to a local hospital to undergo X-rays.
Mets manager Terry Collins appeared to be leaning toward starting Mejia in the fourth game of the season next Friday against the Reds, but Daisuke Matsuzaka would get the spot if a trip to the disabled list is necessary. That’s not ideal, as Matsuzaka is viewed as insurance in case Jon Niese isn’t able to make his season debut next Sunday. Niese has been slowed with minor shoulder and elbow issues during spring training.
Mejia allowed one run over four-plus innings before his early exit last night and owns a 2.70 ERA and 13/6 K/BB ratio over 13 1/3 innings this spring.
Free agent right-hander Tim Lincecum isn’t ready to hang up his cleats just yet. At least, that’s the word from Lincecum’s agent, Rick Thurman, who says the 32-year-old is still “throwing and getting ready for the season” (via Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News).
Lincecum may not be ready to enter retirement, but another quote from Thurman suggests that he’ll be picky about where he pitches next. He doesn’t appear open to pitching overseas, and despite not having a contract for 2017 (or even any serious suitors), the right-hander is set on pitching in the big leagues this year. Whether or not he’s willing to take a bullpen role to do so remains to be seen.
While Baggarly predicts some interest in the veteran righty, there’s not much in Lincecum’s recent history to inspire faith in him as a starter, or even a reliever. He picked up a one-year, $2.5 million contract with the Angels following his hip surgery in 2015, and went 2-6 in 2016 with a 9.16 ERA, 5.4 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 over 38 1/3 innings. At this point, a minor league contract seems like the surest path back to major league success, though he’s unlikely to find an open spot on the Giants’ or Angels’ rosters anytime soon.
Free agent right-hander Jeff Manship has reportedly signed with the NC Dinos of the Korea Baseball Organization, according to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The righty was non-tendered by the Indians in December.
Manship, 32, completed his second season with Cleveland in 2016. He delivered a 3.12 ERA, 4.6 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 rate over 43 1/3 innings, a slight decline after posting an 0.92 ERA with the club the year before. During eight years in the major leagues, Manship carries a 4.82 career ERA, 3.6 BB/9 and 6.4 SO/9 in multiple stints with the Twins, Rockies, Phillies and Indians.
The right-hander will be joined by fellow MLB transplants Eric Hacker and Xavier Scruggs, each of whom took one-year deals with the Dinos last month. Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors notes that each KBO team is allowed up to three foreign players, so Manship will round out the trio when he joins the roster. Any salary terms have yet to be disclosed.