Author: D.J. Short

Lance Lynn AP

MRI confirms hip flexor strain for Lance Lynn


Cardinals right-hander Lance Lynn made an early exit from Sunday’s Grapefruit League start and Jenifer Langosch of reports that an MRI today confirmed a left hip flexor strain.

The good news is that the injury is not expected to impact Lynn’s availability for the start of the season. However, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said it will likely be a few days before he returns to his regular routine. The expectation is that he’ll need at least one side session before getting back into game action.

Lynn is coming off an excellent season in which he posted a 2.74 ERA and 181/72 K/BB ratio in 203 2/3 innings across 33 starts.

Mets owner Fred Wilpon has lengthy meeting with Terry Collins after lopsided spring training loss

Fred Wilpon, Terry Collins

After six straight losing seasons, the Mets have high hopes for 2015, as many see them as a realistic possibility to contend for a playoff spot. One of those believers is Mets owner Fred Wilpon, who is putting the pressure on manager Terry Collins in early March.

The Mets were knocked around by the Marlins 13-2 today, after which Wilpon held a 20-minute with Collins to discuss the state of the team. Here’s how Collins described the meeting to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York:

“He just wanted to talk about the club, which he loves to do,” Collins said. “He loves to talk baseball. But he’s not mad at all.”

Collins said the two discussed areas of concern with the team, including the high number of walks (now 36 in 61 innings) as well as unimpressive lefty relief.

“He likes to come in and just run through the roster — talk about, ‘Hey, what are you looking at right now?’” Collins said. “He’s got great passion. He wants to win so bad. … I said, ‘Listen, you’re going to like what’s going to come out of here.’

“He expects it to be a much better team. There’s no doubt about that,” Collins said. “He told me two weeks ago, ‘Look, I’m going to be here a lot — a lot,’ where, in the past, he’d come in and he’d be gone for a week or 10 days.”

Wilpon is never going to win any PR battles in New York with the way the team has slashed the payroll dating back to the fallout from the Bernie Madoff scandal — they are still in the bottom-third in MLB in payroll — but even putting that aside, it’s a little crazy to hear about a manager essentially being put on notice in the early part of spring training. It’s one thing for a fan to potentially overreact to small samples in early March, but an antsy owner is another matter altogether. In case it wasn’t obvious already, Collins could be shown the door if the Mets get off to a slow start this season.

Collins hasn’t had the best talent to work with during his time in New York and owns a 304-344 (.469) record over four seasons as manager. He’s entering the final year of his contract.

Matt Cain feels good after first start since last July

Matt Cain AP

Giants right-hander Matt Cain was back in action this afternoon for the first time since last July 9 and he did so against a familiar foe. Cain, who had season-ending surgery last August to remove bone spurs from his throwing elbow as well as ankle surgery in September, needed just 20 pitches to get through two perfect innings against the division rival Dodgers.

Cain threw 13 out of 20 pitches for strikes and was able to mix in all of his pitches. He topped out at 92 mph. According to Alex Pavlovic of, Cain was happy with his performance.

“That went really good,” Cain said. “It was definitely good to go back out there and get that extra competitive adrenaline going, which was really nice.”

Last year was a frustrating one for Cain, who posted a 4.18 ERA and 70/32 K/BB ratio in 90 1/3 innings over 15 starts. In addition to the elbow and ankle injuries, the 30-year-old had stints on the disabled list for a lacerated finger and a hamstring strain. Perhaps most frustrating of all, he had to watch from the sidelines as the Giants won another World Series. Cain had a 4.00 ERA in 2013, so it’s fair to wonder how much he’ll bounce back at this point, but it’ll be a nice boost to the Giants if they can count on him for 30-plus starts and 200-plus innings again.

Nick Markakis is making progress from neck surgery

Nick Markakis

Not long after signing his four-year, $44 million contract with the Braves in December, outfielder Nick Markakis underwent surgery to repair a herniated disk in his neck. He’s beginning to encouraging progress with an eye toward Opening Day.

According to Mark Bowman of, Markakis began hitting off a tee and throwing yesterday and repeated the same drills today. He’s still likely around two weeks away from his Grapefruit League debut, but he doesn’t think that he will need many at-bats to get tuned up for the season.

“I’ve still got some time left, so there is no rush,” Markakis said. “I’ll be fine with a week’s worth of at-bats.”

The Braves figure to have one of the National League’s worst offenses even with Markakis, but it’s nice to hear that he’s on track.

Markakis, 31, batted .276/.342/.386 with 14 home runs and 50 RBI across 155 games with the Orioles last season. He won his second American League Gold Glove Award in recognition of his defense in right field.

Giants sign right-hander Alfredo Aceves

Alfredo Aceves Getty

According to Matt Eddy of Baseball America, the Giants have signed veteran right-hander Alfredo Aceves to a minor league contract.

Aceves is a noteworthy name in that he has enjoyed success in the past and has a history of erratic behavior. However, hasn’t been an effective pitcher for a couple of years now. He owns a 5.39 ERA at the major league level dating back to 2012. The 32-year-old had a brief stint with the Yankees last season and was also handed a 50-game suspension in the minors after a second positive test for marijuana.

Aceves is unlikely to crack the Giants’ Opening Day bullpen, so he’s likely ticketed for Triple-A Sacramento.