White Sox second baseman Gordon Beckham was forced to begin the season on the disabled list due to a strained left oblique suffered toward the end of spring training, but Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com reports that he is scheduled to begin a minor league rehab assignment tonight with Double-A Birmingham.
Beckham participated in minor league games late in spring training, so he likely won’t need many at-bats to shake the rust. While oblique injuries can be tricky, it’s conceivable that he could be ready for activation within a couple of days if he can avoid setbacks. Marcus Semien has been handling second base duties during his absence and hit a home run today, but he might be thrown into the mix at third base soon.
Beckham, 27, hit .267/.322/.372 with five home runs, 24 RBI, and five stolen bases in 103 games last season. He missed a large chunk of the year following hamate bone surgery.
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.