If the reigning National League champion Mets are going to maintain their spot atop the wild-card race, they might have to do it without infielder Wilmer Flores. The 25-year-old hasn’t seen action since Sept. 10 because of a right wrist injury he suffered in a collision with Braves catcher A.J. Pierzynski, and Flores isn’t sure if he’ll be able to return this season. “I am worried,” Flores told Anthony DiComo of MLB.com
Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips took advantage of his no-trade clause last winter to block a deal to the Nationals. If the Reds attempt to move Phillips again during the upcoming offseason, the 35-year-old isn’t sure which approach he’ll take. “That one thing that’s not really on my mind. I’m just trying to finish the season strong and whatever happens, happens. I can’t really control what’s going on, what the Reds want or what I want,” Phillips told Mark Sheldon of MLB.com. “All I know is I want to finish strong for this team. I’m still a Red. I’m happy. I still have another year on my contract and I’m happy with that. You never know what the future really holds.
Major League Baseball and many teams are currently celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month, but Hispanic identity is a complex topic for the many US-born players of Latin descent, Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post writes in an interesting look at the highly variable backgrounds of MLB players. “If I talk to a Latin ballplayer, I’m Cuban. And if I talk to an American guy, I’m American. No matter what,” says Nationals starter Gio Gonzalez, who is of Cuban heritage but who was born in the Miami area. “You’re never going to win in that argument. It’s never a win-win situation.” Nats reliever Rafael Martin, meanwhile, was born in the Los Angeles area but spent much of his childhood in Mexico. He had never met Latinos who weren’t Mexican before becoming a pro baseball player
While the Tigers regained their double-play combination Saturday with Jose Iglesias’ return to the starting lineup from a bruised right thumb, the final injured Tigers regular — Nick Castellanos — is creeping closer to a return to game action.
Coming off his first win in more than a month, Tigers rookie right-hander Michael Fulmer is scheduled to make his next start on regular rest, manager Brad Ausmus announced Saturday.
Here’s a look back at five crucial stories from this week at MLBTR. Jacob deGrom has surgery. The righty had a procedure to alleviate an ulnar nerve issue in his elbow. His recovery period is three months, so obviously, he won’t pitch for the Mets in the postseason, assuming they get that far. The loss was the latest for an injury-riddled Mets rotation that has also dealt with extended absences from Zach Wheeler, Matt Harvey and Steven Matz. Mariners suspend Steve Clevenger
Time and again over the past decade-plus, the Red Sox have leaned on David Ortiz in the biggest moments. On Friday at Tropicana Field, one of those moments ended up being the first inning, with Ortiz’s two-run moonshot proving sufficient as the Red Sox edged the Rays, 2-1. With the Orioles’ win over the D-backs, the Red Sox’s magic number to clinch a playoff berth stands at two.
Fans attending the first day of Vin Scully Weekend at Dodger Stadium were greeted by a letter from the legendary broadcaster, thanking them for the support he and his family have received and the journey of Dodger baseball they have been on.
Certainly, the Mets have more pressing matters at the moment than deciding whether to issue a $16.7MM qualifying offer to second baseman Neil Walker. Keeping pace in the Wild Card race takes priority over keeping Walker in town for 2017. That being said, the team doesn’t have much time until it’ll make a tough call on Walker, who’ll qualify for free agency just after turning 31. The QO was all but a given before Walker’s recent back surgery — he provided New York with 458 plate appearances of .282/.347/.476 production and 23 home runs before going down — but that procedure throws some uncertainty into the matter. Let’s look at the scary side first. Walker’s back surgery addressed a herniated disk that was causing numbness in his toes and carried a risk of worsening problems. Any back issues are obviously concerning for a big league player of any kind, especially when teams haven’t had a chance to see how the player looks upon his return. On the other hand, Walker says he’s already progressing nicely and is pain-free for the first time in quite a while. It’ll be three months until he can participate in baseball activities, but that’s plenty of time to allow him to prepare for a full Spring Training.