The Mets are going with Jose Valverde as their closer now that Bobby Parnell is headed for season-ending Tommy John surgery, but they are keeping their options open.
Marc Carig of New York Newsday reports that the Mets are expected to attend a showcase for free agent reliever Joel Hanrahan, who is making his way back from Tommy John surgery. He’ll throw for teams in a few weeks and should contribute at some point in the first half if all goes well with his rehab.
Hanrahan has previous experience in the closer role and posted a 2.24 ERA with the Pirates from 2011-2012, so he could be a worthwhile flier for New York. Likewise, it could be an attractive destination for the 32-year-old right-hander, as he could get a chance to save some games before hitting the free agent market again next winter. It’s anybody’s guess how much Valverde has left in the tank and New York’s other internal options have limited major league experience, so it’s a situation to watch.
The Mets rode a bloop hit and a fortuitous slide by Yoenis Cespedes into a four-run fifth inning against the Cardinals during Thursday night’s game.
After Cespedes drew a one-out walk, James Loney hit a weak pop-up into shallow left field. Left fielder Brandon Moss and shortstop Greg Garcia both gave chase but it dropped in. Cespedes, running the bases aggressively, sprinted towards third base. Moss scooped up the ball and threw to Adam Wainwright covering third base.
Cespedes appeared to have been tagged out by Wainwright, but as luck would have it, Cespedes’ cleats stuck on Wainwright’s glove and yanked it off. Cespedes was ruled safe and the Cardinals challenged the call, but it was ultimately upheld.
After that play, Curtis Granderson struck out, Wilmer Flores reached on a fielding error by Garcia, and Alejandro De Aza hit a three-run home run to right field, pushing the Mets’ lead to 7-0.
You may recall that, back in May, Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor got into a fight with Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista. Bautista slid late into second base, with which Odor took issue, so he punched Bautista in the face. That earned him a seven-game suspension.
With one out in the fifth inning of Thursday’s game against the Indians, Odor reached on a fielding error by first baseman Mike Napoli. Jonathan Lucroy then hit into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play. Odor slid hard into Jason Kipnis covering second base.
Kipnis, hearkening back to the Bautista fight, backed up as if he were afraid Odor would punch him. Odor got a good chuckle out of it, but it was the Rangers’ bench which perhaps enjoyed the joke most. The Rangers’ broadcast showing Adrian Beltre cracking up and telling his other teammates what had happened.