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.
Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly reports that the Phillies are close to signing free agent reliever Joaquin Benoit. An announcement is expected before the winter meetings end on Thursday.
Benoit, 39, has quietly been among the better relievers in baseball over the past seven years. This past season with the Mariners and Blue Jays, the right-hander put up an aggregate 2.81 ERA with a 52/24 K/BB ratio in 48 innings. That included a 0.38 ERA in 23 2/3 innings after the Jays acquired him from the Mariners.
Benoit suffered a torn calf muscle during a benches-clearing brawl with the Yankees near the end of the regular season. He’s expected to be healthy for spring training.
The Phillies have now added three relievers this offseason with Benoit, Pat Neshek, and David Rollins.
ESPN’s Pedro Gomez provides a previously unreported detail of the new collective bargaining agreement, agreed to by the owners and the players’ union last week. Players’ meal money for road games is being reduced from $105 to $30 per day. Teams are providing pre- and post-game meals in the visitors’ clubhouse to offset some of the decrease in meal money.
Gomez quotes an unnamed player who said, “I doubt many guys know about the money going down, nor would they have agreed to it.” All of the players Gomez contacted said they were unaware of and unhappy about the change.
Clubhouse attendants are certainly unhappy about this change, too. As Gomez notes, the attendants previously provided food for visiting teams which earned them tips from the players.
EDIT: It’s worth clarifying that chefs are required in clubhouses now as part of the new CBA, so it’s not a complete loss for the players.