Author: D.J. Short

Cuban infielder Hector Olivera fields a ball as he works third base during batting practice before playing the Miami Marlins, Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2015 in Atlanta. Cuban defector Hector Olivera was called up for Tuesday's game against the Miami Marlins. He is batting sixth and playing third base. Olivera was acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers just before the deadline for non-waiver trades in a blockbuster deal that also included the Marlins. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)  MARIETTA DAILY OUT; GWINNETT DAILY POST OUT; LOCAL TELEVISION OUT; WXIA-TV OUT; WGCL-TV OUT; MANDATORY CREDIT
Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP

The Braves want Hector Olivera to play left field in winter ball


When the Braves acquired Hector Olivera back in July, the assumption was that he’d get the opportunity to run away with the starting third base job. That could still happen, but Mark Bowman of writes that the Braves want him to play some left field in the Puerto Rican Winter League.

Bowman writes that the Braves are simply looking to increase Olivera’s versatility while keeping an open mind toward future seasons. With Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn under contract for next season, Olivera likely fits best at third in the short-term. However, he’s signed through 2020 and the Braves have prospects like Rio Ruiz and Austin Riley in the system.

Olivera, who signed a six-year, $62.5 million deal with the Dodgers earlier this year, batted .253/.310/.405 with two home runs and 11 RBI over 87 plate appearances during his first stint in the majors. He turns 31 in April. Baseball America ranked him as the Braves’ top prospect earlier this week.

Video: Jerry Seinfeld and Chris Rock react to Curtis Granderson’s home run

New York Mets' Curtis Granderson celebrates after hitting a two-run home run during the third inning of Game 3 of the Major League Baseball World Series against the Kansas City Royals Friday, Oct. 30, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
AP Photo/David J. Phillip
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Curtis Granderson put the Mets ahead for good in Game 3 of the World Series last night with a two-run homer off Royals right-hander Yordano Ventura in the bottom of the third inning. The blast sent Citi Field into a frenzy. Longtime Mets fans Jerry Seinfeld and Chris Rock were among those in attendance and Granderson’s home run was met with approval.

Check out their reaction below…

No weird clapping from Seinfeld this time around. That’s a shame.

Daniel Murphy has understandably grabbed most of the headlines for the Mets this postseason, but Granderson has been fantastic at the top of the lineup. The veteran outfielder is batting .283/.382/.457 with two home runs, two doubles, 10 RBI, four stolen bases, and eight runs scored over 12 games. He has more walks (eight) than strikeouts (five).

World Series reset: Will the hometown rookie draw the Mets even?

New York Mets manager Terry Collins, left, talks with pitcher Steven Matz during batting practice, Saturday, Oct. 24, 2015, in New York. The Mets will face the Kansas City Royals in Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

24 hours ago, many Mets fans were worried about the possibility of a World Series sweep. Things have changed in a hurry. The Mets’ bats finally woke up last night as they took Game 3 from the Royals by the score of 9-3. New York now has a chance to even up the series on Halloween night. Game 4 should be quite the atmosphere in Queens.

The Game: Kansas City Royals vs. New York Mets
The Time: 8:07 p.m. ET
The Place: Citi Field
The Channel: Fox
The Starters: Steven Matz vs. Chris Young
The Upshot: You don’t need much help to find the narrative in this one. Matz, who grew up as a Mets fan on Long Island, will have a chance to even up the World Series in front of his home crowd. It’s a compelling angle, but this looks like a game where the bullpen will play a significant role for both sides.

Young, who pitched for the Mets in 2011 and 2012, threw three scoreless innings in relief and got the win back in Game 1. The veteran right-hander has posted a 2.31 ERA with 15 strikeouts over 11 2/3 innings this postseason. He’s certainly capable of shutting the Mets down the first time through the order, but he’s generally not someone who pitches deep into games. One wonders if getting a look at him back in Game 1 will prove beneficial for the Mets.

The Royals are angry about Noah Syndergaard‘s up and in pitch to Alcides Escobar to begin Game 3, but it’s unlikely we’ll see any retribution from Young in this one. These games are too important and you don’t want to be giving free baserunners. The Royals have the lead in this series and shouldn’t let nonsense distract them.

As for Matz, he owns a 3.72 ERA over two starts this postseason. The rookie southpaw hasn’t pitched past the fifth inning in either of them. This will be just his ninth MLB start. Some nerves would be understandable. If Matz can shut down the pesky Royals offense and the Mets can get to Young in the early innings, New York could be sitting pretty in this one. But if this game is close in the middle innings and both starters are out of the game, Kansas City has the advantage.

Just for fun here: In case you haven’t heard by now, this series is strangely mirroring the 1986 World Series through the first three games. If that trend was to continue, we’d be looking at the Mets winning by four runs tonight.

Video: Jimmy Fallon visited by rapping “1986 Bret Saberhagen”


Two-time Cy Young Award winner and three-time All-Star Bret Saberhagen was named as the World Series MVP the last time the Royals won it all in 1985. However, his greatest accomplishment might have been his rap performance in a local Ford commercial. I’m not kidding. This is a real thing.

“The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” revisited the long-lost commercial last night while bringing back rapping “1986 Bret Saberhagen” to get his opinion on this year’s World Series between the Royals and Mets. He also showed off his “Saberhagen Shuffle.” Check it out below…

The resemblance is uncanny. By the way, Mike Ryan of Uproxx has a cool story about his obsession with the Saberhagen commercial and how the “The Tonight Show” skit ultimately came together.

Kendrys Morales will be on the bench with the World Series shifting to New York

Kansas City Royals' Kendrys Morales watches his solo home run during the fourth inning in Game 1 of baseball's American League Division Series against the Houston Astros, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

With the designated hitter unavailable under National League rules, Royals manager Ned Yost confirmed (via Jeffrey Flanagan of this afternoon that Kendrys Morales will be on the bench with the World Series shifting to New York this weekend.

Morales took some fly balls in September, which led to some speculation that he could be used in the outfield if the Royals reached the World Series, but they aren’t going to experiment with a 2-0 series lead on the Mets. Alex Rios has enjoyed an excellent postseason and will remain in right field.

Morales amassed 22 home runs and 106 RBI during the regular season and is batting .250 with four home runs and an .802 OPS during the playoffs. His absence is a blow to the middle of the Royals’ lineup, but the veteran switch-hitter will give Yost a big power threat off the bench.