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.
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.