Shane Victorino has overcome some discomfort in his side in recent days, but Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald reports that he tweaked his right hamstring during today’s Grapefruit League game and is scheduled to undergo an MRI tomorrow.
Victorino was adamant this afternoon that he expects to be “fine” and “ready to go” for Opening Day despite the late issue, but Red Sox manager John Farrell acknowledged that he’s thinking about a contingency plan. Jackie Bradley, Jr., who was demoted to Triple-A this week after Grady Sizemore’s surprising resurgence, would return to the big club if a trip to the disabled list is in the cards for Victorino.
Victorino, who is also coming back from offseason thumb surgery, hit .294/.351/.451 with 15 home runs, 61 RBI, and 21 stolen bases in 122 games last season. He is entering the second year of a three-year, $39 million contract.
The Braves reportedly have a deal in place with free agent catcher Kurt Suzuki, per Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that the contract is for one year, $1.5 million with up to $2.5 million in additional incentives.
Suzuki, 33, completed a three-year track with the Twins in 2016, slashing .258/.301/.403 with eight home runs in 373 PA. The veteran backstop likely won’t provide an offensive or defensive upgrade over current starter Tyler Flowers, but should give the Braves some depth at a position they’ve been looking to strengthen since the start of the offseason.
The team has yet to confirm the deal.
With the 2017 World Baseball Classic around the corner, Team Israel has reportedly reached out to Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, per MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. Tournament rules stipulate that a player’s roster eligibility can be achieved in one of several ways: they were born in the country in question or hold citizenship/permanent legal residence there (or are simply capable of qualifying for citizenship), or one of their parents was born in the country or holds citizenship/permanent legal residence there.
For Kipnis, it’s the latter. Kipnis’ father, Mark Kipnis, is Jewish. That gives Kipnis the status he needs to suit up for Team Israel, despite the fact that he is a practicing Roman Catholic. He has yet to confirm or deny his participation in the competition.
Fifteen players have confirmed for Team Israel so far, including Mets’ infielder/outfielder Ty Kelly and free agents Sam Fuld, Nate Freiman, Jason Marquis and Jeremy Bleich. Per MLB.com’s Chad Thornburg, eight minor leaguers will also appear for the team. Like Kipnis, at least three other major leaguers are eligible for Team Israel’s roster but have yet to accept or decline involvement in the WBC: Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson, Mariners infielder/outfielder Danny Valencia and free agent left-hander Craig Breslow.