Twins outfielder Byron Buxton — rated the No. 1 prospect in the sport over the winter by MLB.com, Baseball Prospectus, and Baseball America — has appeared in only five live minor league games this season because of a left wrist injury that he initially suffered on March 16 while diving for a ball at spring training. But there’s some good news on that front.
Minnesota GM Terry Ryan told MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger on Sunday that Buxton has been cleared to return to action with the High-A Fort Myers Miracle.
The 20-year-old can now hopefully begin a rapid ascent through the Twins’ minor league system. He was the second overall pick in the 2012 MLB Amateur Draft out of a Georgia high school and has hit .308/.397/.498 with 30 doubles, 22 triples, 18 homers, and 66 steals in 178 career games between rookie ball and High-A.
Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly reports that the Phillies are close to signing free agent reliever Joaquin Benoit. An announcement is expected before the winter meetings end on Thursday.
Benoit, 39, has quietly been among the better relievers in baseball over the past seven years. This past season with the Mariners and Blue Jays, the right-hander put up an aggregate 2.81 ERA with a 52/24 K/BB ratio in 48 innings. That included a 0.38 ERA in 23 2/3 innings after the Jays acquired him from the Mariners.
Benoit suffered a torn calf muscle during a benches-clearing brawl with the Yankees near the end of the regular season. He’s expected to be healthy for spring training.
The Phillies have now added three relievers this offseason with Benoit, Pat Neshek, and David Rollins.
ESPN’s Pedro Gomez provides a previously unreported detail of the new collective bargaining agreement, agreed to by the owners and the players’ union last week. Players’ meal money for road games is being reduced from $105 to $30 per day. Teams are providing pre- and post-game meals in the visitors’ clubhouse to offset some of the decrease in meal money.
Gomez quotes an unnamed player who said, “I doubt many guys know about the money going down, nor would they have agreed to it.” All of the players Gomez contacted said they were unaware of and unhappy about the change.
Clubhouse attendants are certainly unhappy about this change, too. As Gomez notes, the attendants previously provided food for visiting teams which earned them tips from the players.
EDIT: It’s worth clarifying that chefs are required in clubhouses now as part of the new CBA, so it’s not a complete loss for the players.