Richard Durrett is truly missed today.
This is what happens when you devote a website to, in all reality, covering the Dallas Cowboys but have extra capacity and force your football dudes to write about baseball. From ESPN Dallas.com:
This is a critical week for the Rangers in terms of where they stand with ace Yu Darvish. At some point he should throw a bullpen session.
It doesn’t have to occur today or tomorrow, but he needs to throw sometime . . . Darvish needs to show the club he can pitch through some discomfort, especially if games are meaningful . . . Darvish should let the club have more control over what’s needed for him. He needs to have better communication with the front office and the manager to make things smoother. He just decided it was best to head to the DL, and it raised questions regarding his commitment to the club.
That’s from Calvin Watkins, whose bio says he has “covered the Cowboys since 2006 and also has covered colleges, boxing and high school sports.” Baseball is not mentioned. Not really surprising given the content.
To be fair to him, he does offer a Ron Washington quote that, at least on the surface, supports the idea that Darvish should pitch sooner rather than later. But it also spends a lot of time with the false equivalence of a position player dealing with aches and pains and a franchise pitcher dealing with elbow inflammation. It also is based on the false premise that Darvish, and not the the Rangers front office, training staff and coaching staff, determines when he goes on the disabled list and when he does not. Oh, another false premise: that the Rangers games mean anything at this point in the season.
How one can cover baseball for a living and not note the epidemic of pitcher injuries and the importance of keeping a guy like Darvish healthy in the long term is a mystery to me. Oh wait: this guy does not typically cover baseball for a living. That’s right.
(h/t Adam from Lonestar Ball)
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.