Last night after the Brewers lost to the Padres in extra innings manager Ron Roenicke tore into home plate umpire Mark Ripperger, who ejected Roenicke from the game in the ninth inning.
Ripperger was previously the home plate umpire for a Brewers win over the Mets in July and apparently Roenicke was angry at him then too, so he said the following to Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel last night:
This is the thing that bothers me: This is the same umpire that we had before, and he is terrible behind home plate. He calls pitches that aren’t even close. The catcher sets up six inches off the plate and he calls them strikes. I should have been kicked out the last time that we saw him. He was behind the plate.
I’m tired of sitting here watching the catcher set up off the plate and hitting his glove and calling it a strike. They’re balls. So Frankie misses, OK, it’s off the plate this much, the first one he calls a ball. He’s been calling it all night. The next one was a little further off, but he’s been calling that also. Just call the same pitches, but they’re balls. I should have been kicked out in probably the second inning today. It’s the same guy.
Ripperger is a fill-in umpire up from Triple-A and Roenicke no doubt just earned himself a fine from MLB.
And here’s video of Roenicke’s anti-Ripperger tirade. It was Roenicke’s fourth ejection of the season and, for a fill-in umpire, Ripperger has ejected quite a few managers and players this season.
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.