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Mets send Rafael Montero to Triple-A, will move Daisuke Matsuzaka into rotation

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The Mets demoted right-hander Rafael Montero to Triple-A Las Vegas today after he gave up four runs (three earned) over 3 2/3 innings last night against the Phillies. According to Mike Vorkunov of the Newark Star-Ledger, Mets assistant general manager John Ricco said this afternoon the move was made out of “necessity” because the bullpen was stretched thin in their 14-inning loss last night. The team has called up right-hander Buddy Carlyle to take Montero’s place on the active roster.

The Mets called up Montero and Jacob deGrom from Triple-A earlier this month after Jenrry Mejia was moved to the bullpen and Dillon Gee was placed on the DL with a lat strain. While deGrom has pitched well, Montero has been a little shaky. The 23-year-old struck out 10 batters and allowed just one run in six innings against the Diamondbacks last Sunday, but he has allowed 12 earned runs on 21 hits (including five home runs) and 11 walks in 20 innings across his first four major league starts.

Montero figures to get another shot before long, perhaps as soon as he’s eligible to return, but Daisuke Matsuzaka will take his place in the starting rotation next Wednesday against the Cubs.

Report: Braves sign Kurt Suzuki

KANSAS CITY, MO - AUGUST 20: Kurt Suzuki #8 of the Minnesota Twins hits against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium on August 20, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
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The Braves reportedly have a deal in place with free agent catcher Kurt Suzuki, per Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that the contract is for one year, $1.5 million with up to $2.5 million in additional incentives.

Suzuki, 33, completed a three-year track with the Twins in 2016, slashing .258/.301/.403 with eight home runs in 373 PA. The veteran backstop likely won’t provide an offensive or defensive upgrade over current starter Tyler Flowers, but should give the Braves some depth at a position they’ve been looking to strengthen since the start of the offseason.

The team has yet to confirm the deal.

Jason Kipnis could join Team Israel for 2017 World Baseball Classic

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Jason Kipnis #22 of the Cleveland Indians throws during batting practice prior to Game Seven of the 2016 World Series against the Chicago Cubs at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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With the 2017 World Baseball Classic around the corner, Team Israel has reportedly reached out to Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, per MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. Tournament rules stipulate that a player’s roster eligibility can be achieved in one of several ways: they were born in the country in question or hold citizenship/permanent legal residence there (or are simply capable of qualifying for citizenship), or one of their parents was born in the country or holds citizenship/permanent legal residence there.

For Kipnis, it’s the latter. Kipnis’ father, Mark Kipnis, is Jewish. That gives Kipnis the status he needs to suit up for Team Israel, despite the fact that he is a practicing Roman Catholic. He has yet to confirm or deny his participation in the competition.

Fifteen players have confirmed for Team Israel so far, including Mets’ infielder/outfielder Ty Kelly and free agents Sam Fuld, Nate Freiman, Jason Marquis and Jeremy Bleich. Per MLB.com’s Chad Thornburg, eight minor leaguers will also appear for the team. Like Kipnis, at least three other major leaguers are eligible for Team Israel’s roster but have yet to accept or decline involvement in the WBC: Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson, Mariners infielder/outfielder Danny Valencia and free agent left-hander Craig Breslow.