It’s not a good sign when a team that’s wrecked by injuries and looking everywhere for lineup help decides you’re not worth keeping around, but that’s exactly what just happened to Juan Rivera.
Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the Yankees have released Rivera, who signed a minor-league contract in late January.
New York has added Brennan Boesch, Vernon Wells, and Lyle Overbay since signing Rivera, but there was still a place for him if they thought he could hit. At age 34 that’s in serious question, as Rivera batted just .244 with a .661 OPS in 109 games for the Dodgers last season and hasn’t topped a .750 OPS since 2009.
Overbay looks likely to be the Opening Day first baseman now, being handed the starting job three days after signing with the Yankees.
The Cubs’ bullpen got into trouble in the ninth inning on Tuesday afternoon during the first game of a doubleheader. Justin Wilson started the inning with the Cubs leading 3-2, normally a situation for closer Brandon Morrow. Wilson issued a leadoff walk to Austin Barnes, then gave up a single to Justin Turner. Morrow wasn’t warming up, curiously. Wilson ended up giving up a go-ahead two-run double to pinch-hitter Kyle Farmer and the Cubs went on to lose 4-3.
We now know why Morrow wasn’t available. He says his back tightened up taking off his pants early Monday morning, MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat reports. Morrow said, “It’s frustrating any time you can’t get out there, especially when you can’t go for something as stupid as taking your pants off.”
Morrow, 33, has been terrific in the closer’s role this season for the Cubs. He owns a 1.59 ERA with a 25/9 K/BB ratio in 22 2/3 innings. He is also not available for the back end of Tuesday’s doubleheader, but it sounds like he won’t need to go on the disabled list.