Some positive news here for the Indians, who sit at the very bottom of the AL Central standings.
Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that star second baseman Jason Kipnis — who’s been on the disabled list since April 30 with a right oblique strain — has been cleared to begin a minor league rehab assignment on Friday with Triple-A Columbus. If everything goes according to plan, Kipnis will return to the Indians’ lineup on Monday, May 26 for the start of a three-game series against the White Sox at Chicago’s U.S. Cellular Field.
Kipnis was hitting just .234/.354/.394 through his first 113 plate appearances this season, but the dynamic 27-year-old is capable of finding a groove as soon as he is activated. He batted .284/.366/.452 with 17 home runs, 84 RBI, and 30 stolen bases in 658 plate appearances last summer for the Tribe.
Kipnis signed a six-year, $52.5 million contract extension with Cleveland on April 4.
In a mailbag published on Thursday, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post says he has spoken with Arenado and his agent from the Wasserman Media Group. Based on that, he says the Rockies have not broached the subject of a contract extension with the All-Star third baseman.
Arenado will enter his second of four years of arbitration eligibility after earning $5 million for the 2016 season. He’s due to a hefty pay raise and will continue on that track into free agency after the 2019 season. It may behoove the Rockies to get extension talks started sooner rather than later. Saunders, however, thinks that Arenado wants to see if the Rockies become contenders in the next two seasons before signing the dotted line.
Arenado, 25, enters Thursday’s action batting .293/.361/.567 with 40 home runs, 130 RBI, and 112 runs scored in 678 plate appearances. His 40 homers is best in the National League and the 130 RBI are best in the majors. He has an argument for winning the National League Most Valauble Player Award.
Agent Scott Boras eulogized client Jose Fernandez at his funeral on Thursday. Boras couldn’t even get through the first sentence without breaking down in tears. It was difficult to watch without wanting to sob myself, but it was a touching eulogy that spoke for a lot of people who were fond of Fernandez.