Bronson Arroyo‘s comeback bid with the Nationals just took a big hit, as the rehabbing right-hander was scratched from today’s scheduled start with shoulder soreness.
Arroyo is coming back from Tommy John elbow surgery, but had a minor shoulder procedure done as well and at age 39 is simply trying to show that his arm can still handle pitching, period.
Arroyo was one of the most durable starters in MLB from 2004-2013, but he missed most of 2014 and all of 2015 before joining the Nationals on a minor-league contract. His deal is worth $2 million in guaranteed money if cracks the Opening Day roster, so the Nationals will have to decide if they think Arroyo is worth that investment to possibly stash on the season-opening disabled list.
Francisco Lindor had a great debut for the Indians last season, hitting .313 in 99 games on the way to finishing runner-up in the Rookie of the Year voting. He also led the league with 13 sacrifice bunts despite not being called up until mid-June and … well, manager Terry Francona thinks that’s probably too much bunting for a guy who can hit so well.
Lindor laid down a sacrifice bunt in the first inning Monday and afterward Francona discussed the topic with reporters, telling Zack Meisel of the Cleveland Plain Dealer:
I love the fact that he wants to move runners. I absolutely love it. … At the same time, he’s such a good hitter, that you don’t want him to just give away outs. But I’ve been really reluctant to approach him on it, because I like the idea so much that he’s trying to do the right thing.
I’m not sure anybody who’s hitting in [the No. 2] spot, we’re going to want them to give themselves up too much. Whether it’s [Jason] Kip[nis] or whoever it is, those are your best hitters. Whether you have a runner on third with one out or a runner on second with nobody out, your chances of scoring are pretty good. Sometimes your chances of scoring more than one are better if you just let them play.
Lindor is taking a very old-school approach to moving runners over and sacrificing yourself for the good of the team, except a hitter of his caliber doing that isn’t really helping the team because the Indians’ run expectancy goes down when he gives up an out to move a runner over one base. The numbers on this topic are pretty straightforward and have been for decades.
In other words, if there’s a runner or two on base when Lindor comes to the plate the Indians will almost always be better off if he simply tries to drive them in himself. His choosing to bunt them up a base instead isn’t exactly the end of the world and, as Francona points out, it’s a nice sentiment from a young player, but at some point the manager will hopefully convince one of the best young players in the league to let ‘er rip.
Mets manager Terry Collins announced that third baseman David Wright will make his spring training debut Friday, getting into game action after sitting out to limit his workload so far.
Wright and the Mets are trying to figure out how to keep him healthy and productive while dealing with spinal stenosis, so he’s expected to take things easy throughout spring training and then receive regular days off during the season.
For now every indication is that Wright will be ready for Opening Day and he’s been getting recent work in intrasquad games.
White Sox first baseman Adam LaRoche announced his sudden retirement today, citing an undisclosed personal issue.
Colleen Kane of the Chicago Trubune reports that LaRoche’s teammates “asked him to sleep on it, but he’s confident in the decision” to call it a career after a dozen seasons in the majors.
LaRoche is under contract for $13 million this season as part of a two-year, $25 million deal signed as a free agent last winter. If he’s indeed retiring LaRoche would be forfeiting that money. He struggled in 2015, hitting .207 with 12 homers and a .634 OPS in 127 games, but there have been several stories this spring about LaRoche and the White Sox expressing optimism in his ability to bounce back offensively at age 36.
While never an All-Star pick, LaRoche was a consistently above-average first baseman who hit .260 with 255 homers and a .798 OPS in 1,605 games for the Braves, Nationals, Pirates, Diamondbacks, Red Sox, and White Sox. He had nine different 20-homer seasons, including two years with more than 30 homers, and posted an OPS better than the MLB average in all but two years.
Just a couple of standard dispatches from Royals camp, where The Legend Of Ned Yost grows more each day.