The Twins announced this afternoon that outfielder Torii Hunter has dropped the appeal of his two-game suspension and will begin serving it tonight.
Hunter was ejected from Wednesday’s game against the Royals after arguing balls and strikes with home plate umpire Mark Ripperger. He then threw an on-field tirade in which he made physical contact with the umpire and took off his jersey and hurled it onto the field. The suspension and undisclosed fine was handed down yesterday, but he appealed and went 1-for-4 with a single in a loss to the Rangers.
Hunter will be eligible to return Monday for the opener of an interleague series against the Cardinals in St. Louis.
Justin Verlander will make his long-awaited season debut this afternoon against the Indians and an important part of the Tigers’ lineup isn’t too far away from a return.
According to Jason Beck of MLB.com, the plan calls for Victor Martinez to begin a minor league rehab assignment tomorrow with Triple-A Toledo as he works his way back from inflammation in his surgically-repaired left knee. He’s slated to play four games before being re-evaluated.
Martinez, 36, had surgery on the knee in the spring and it has clearly impacted his performance at the plate. He was batting just .216 with one home run and a .516 OPS through 130 plate appearances prior to landing on the disabled list last month. The hope is that he rest will prove beneficial.
The Mets traded Kirk Nieuwenhuis to the Angels late last month, but Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reports that the outfielder has returned to the team on a waiver claim.
Nieuwenhuis was designated for assignment by New York a little less than a month ago after starting the season in a 3-for-38 (.079) funk. The 27-year-old was eventually dealt to the Angels for cash considerations, but he hit just .136 (3-for-22) over 10 games before being designated for assignment again this week. He’s a .226/.299/.368 career hitter.
Per Rubin, it’s unclear whether Nieuwenhuis will be added to the active roster or if the Mets will try to get him through waivers to stash him in Triple-A. Darrell Ceciliani took over as a backup outfielder and left-handed bat off the bench when Nieuwenhuis was designated for assignment last month. He’s hitting .241 (7-for-29) with two doubles, two RBI, and three stolen bases over his first 20 games in the majors.
UPDATE: Rubin adds that Nieuwenhuis is expected to join the major league roster.