Slamming Matt Harvey for actually living his life is a fun new sport in New York. How dare you date, how dare you go to a basketball game, how dare you talk to the media. Those who love to play that sport will have a great chance to do so next week. As Newsday reports, Harvey is scheduled to throw off a mound in Port St. Lucie on Monday. But . . .
Monday also is the Rangers’ first home game in the Stanley Cup Final. Harvey, an avid Rangers fan who is sporting a playoff beard, has tried to make it to New York when his schedule allows to attend the games . . .
Per his agreement with the team, Harvey is allowed to be with the Mets when they’re in New York. They are off on that Monday but will be at their homes there in preparation for a homestand starting the next day. So, technically, Harvey is within his rights to be in New York on Monday. And the expectation would be that he’d toss his bullpen session, hop a flight and be in Madison Square Garden in time for the face-off.
Which is totally cool and normal and shouldn’t cause any trouble. But how much do you wanna bet someone, somewhere, will have a problem with this?
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.
Free agent first baseman James Loney has reportedly signed a minor league deal with the Rangers, per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The deal includes an invite to spring training and a $1 million salary if he makes the major league roster in 2017.
Loney picked up a one-year stint and starting role with the Mets in 2016, slashing .265/.307/.397 with nine home runs in 336 PA. While his numbers were down a hair from the .280/.322/.357 batting line he produced with the Rays in 2015, he provided the Mets with a necessary, if underwhelming upgrade over an injured Lucas Duda through most of the season.
The 32-year-old infielder is expected to have some competition at first base, with at least five other candidates in the mix: Jurickson Profar, Ronald Guzman, Ryan Rua, Joey Gallo and Josh Hamilton. Rumor has it that the team is planning on platooning Rua and Profar in 2017, barring any impressive breakouts or injuries during spring training, though Loney could still provide the club with some veteran depth and a decent left-handed bat off the bench.