UPDATE: Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe reports that the Red Sox placed Victorino on the disabled list and recalled Daniel Nava from Triple-A Pawtucket.
11:01 a.m. ET: Because an eight-game losing streak isn’t bad enough, here’s this. According to Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald, Shane Victorino left last night’s game against the Rays after he tweaked his right hamstring on bunt attempt in the ninth inning.
Victorino missed the first three weeks of the season due to a right hamstring strain, so this isn’t a good sign. Red Sox manager John Farrell said after the game that this injury isn’t doesn’t appear to be as serious, but more should be known later today.
“Preliminary, or at least the first exam, doesn’t appear to be as severe as spring training,’’ Farrell said. “But we’ll get a better read on it once a full workup is done when he gets to the park (today).”
Victorino has struggled so far this season, batting just .242 with one home run and a .276 on-base percentage through 21 games. Boston’s outfield is batting just .220/.296/.337 as a unit this season. Only the Twins have a lower OPS from their outfield.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Yankees have signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, pending a physical. Assuming the deal is finalized, Sherman notes that the Yankees will have Niese work as both a starter and a reliever in big league camp this spring.
According to Sherman, the Yankees were interested in lefty relievers Jerry Blevins and Boone Logan, but didn’t want to commit at their asking prices. They are looking for a lefty set-up man along with Tommy Lane.
Niese, 30, pitched for the Pirates and Mets last season, finishing with a 5.50 ERA and an 88/47 K/BB ratio over 121 innings.
Veteran Omar Infante has spent the overwhelming majority of his career as an infielder, but the Tigers plan to give him some playing time in center field this spring. The Tigers’ center field situation is still murky and adding more versatility would increase Infante’s odds of making the roster.
Infante, 35, signed a minor league deal with the Tigers in December. He played 39 games for the Royals last season, batting .239/.279/.321 in 149 plate appearances while playing second base exclusively. Infante last played in the outfield in 2010 with the Braves, and last played center field specifically in ’09 with the Braves.
The Tigers currently have Mikie Mahtook, Tyler Collins, and JaCoby Jones at the top of their center field depth chart. It is not what one would call “optimal.”