New uniform, same results: a lot of strikeouts, no walks and a nice long outing that, had the Tigers bats been a bit more effective early, would’ve saved the bullpen. Welcome to the Tigers, David Price.
Price didn’t get the win, but he certainly did what the Tigers wanted him to do when they traded for him. He pitched eight and two-thirds innings, scattering eight hits, striking out ten Yankees and walking no one. The Tigers went on to win the game in 12 as Joba Chamberlain, Joakim Soria and Joe Nathan shut things down after Price’s departure. While 12 innings is not something a manager wants to endure, that’s a bullpen combination Brad Ausmus would love to rely on in late innings, avoiding his less-effective relievers. Price’s long outing made that possible.
To see the contrast, one need only look at the Athletics-Rays game where the pitcher who was traded away from Detroit for Price — Drew Smyly — labored over five and a third innings, leaving with the loss and tossing only five fewer pitches that Price did in nearly nine. Smyly’s a fine pitcher and will have better days, but the Tigers are in win-now mode and an ace who can dominate games is what is needed. Even if Price makes the fourth or even fifth ace on the staff.
For his part, Price seemed relieved after the game to have his first Tigers start under his belt, saying “Happy it’s over, and happy we won. Finally feel part of the team.”
I’m sure the feeling is mutual, David.
The Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.
Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”
Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”
The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.
There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.
Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.