For all of the great Yoenis Cespedes and Yasiel Puig throws lately, we’ll likely be talking about the one Marlins outfielder Marcell Ozuna made to end Friday night’s game against the Mets. Closer Steve Cishek was in to preserve a one-run lead, but allowed a lead-off double to Kirk Nieuwenhuis. Ruben Tejada moved him over to third base with a sacrifice bunt, putting the tying run at third base with one out.
All Chris Young had to do was hit a fly ball deep enough to the outfield to score Nieuwenhuis, and he appeared to do just that, sending a 3-2 slider up in the air to left field. Ozuna camped under the ball, then brought his momentum forward home plate as he made the catch. Ozuna fired a laser to catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who applied the tag to Nieuwenhuis just before he could touch the plate, ending the game.
The best part? Ozuna had nailed a runner at the plate the inning prior, as well. Both throws:
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.
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.