Storylines: Montero encounters strange situation on rehab stint
Jesus Montero had to be restrained from a scout on Thursday.
In this MLB News and Notes segment, I will be giving occasional reports on the latest news and rumors throughout the MLB. I also will try to tweet news and rumors as I see them, so feel free to follow me on Twitter: @AndrewIBI.
Here are the stories from Friday, Aug. 29.
- Jesus Montero was at the center of a bizarre situation on Thursday night, as MILB.com's Tyler Maun reported. While on a rehab assignment at Seattle's short-season class A affiliate, Montero reportedly had to be restrained from going after a Mariners crosschecker with a bat after the scout reportedly sent an ice cream sandwich to the dugout. Butch Baccala, the crosschecker in question, told Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times that the incident is "not what is being portrayed," though he didn't want to comment further until speaking with Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik.
- The Indians announced that they signed veteran corner infielder Russell Branyan to a minor league contract and assigned him to Triple-A Columbus. The former big league slugger has spent the 2014 season with los Toros de Tijuana of the Mexican League and has slashed a robust .296/.423/.620 with 19 home runs in 272 plate appearances. However, he hasn't been in affiliated ball since 2012 and last saw the Majors in 2011 when he split the season between the D'Backs and Angels. Branyan hit .197/.295/.370 with just five homers in 146 PA that year.
- Yan Gomes returned from the seven-day concussion disabled list for the start of the Indians' crucial series with the Royals on Friday night. Gomes started at catcher and batted sixth in the first of three at Kauffman Stadium. Tribe manager Terry Francona declared Gomes "good to go" before the opener. In a corresponding roster move, newly-acquired catcher Chris Gimenez was placed on the paternity list. Gimenez, who the Indians traded for on Saturday, went on the paternity list as a member of the Rangers on August 4.
News and Notes:
- Derek Jeter has been worth only 0.1 fWAR in his final season, and the Yankees' insistence on keeping him as the regular shortstop and in the No. 2 spot in the batting order is hurting the team, CBS Sports' Mike Axisa wrote. Jeter is too proud and/or competitive to ask to be dropped in the lineup or take anything less than an everyday role, and the Yankees seem fine with the status quo given Jeter's stature, Axisa opined. The problem is that Jeter's lack of production in a key lineup spot might cost the Yankees a playoff spot.
- There is discord between Astros GM Jeff Luhnow and manager Bo Porter, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reported, and things may have gotten bad enough that "it's difficult to imagine the Astros starting the 2015 season with the same management team." Porter feels he doesn't have enough input in the team's plans and Luhnow too often second-guesses his in-game decisions, plus there were some hard feelings over Mark Appel's bullpen session at Minute Maid Park last month.
- The Orioles and Nelson Cruz share an interest in keeping the slugger in Baltimore past the 2014 season, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reported. Both Dan Duquette and Adam Katz (Cruz's agent) declined on comment on whether any extension talks have already taken place or will take place, though both parties have felt Cruz has been a good fit in Baltimore this year. Cruz himself now told reporters, including MLB.com's Britt Ghiroli, that the Orioles and Katz have had some extension talks since the All-Star break, but the talks have not been serious in nature. The slugger added that after his difficult experience last offseason, he would like to get an extension worked out before season's end, although he knows that scenario may not be realistic, given the casual nature of talks to this point. He also repeated that he would like to remain an Oriole beyond the 2014 season.
- Zack Wheeler doesn't want to be traded and told Kevin Kernan of the New York Post that, "I was part of the rebuilding process and I want to see it through.'' While the Mets would undoubtedly need a huge return to trade the 24-year-old righty, it has been speculated that the Mets could deal from their pitching depth to acquire a top-tier shortstop or outfielder in the offseason.
- Travis d'Arnaud's concussion history has Mets upper management at least exploring a shift from catcher to left field, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News wrote. Terry Collins said the issue had been discussed, though not at length or in any serious depth, so if a position switch did happen, it wouldn't be anytime soon. A d'Arnaud position switch was also discussed by Metsblog.com's Matthew Cerrone. Beyond just d'Arnaud's health, a move from behind the plate could be inevitable since the Mets are "in LOVE" (capitalization added by Cerrone) with catching prospect Kevin Plawecki. Cerrone isn't sure if d'Arnaud's bat would play quite as well in left as it does at catcher, so he suggested that d'Arnaud could also possibly become a trade candidate this winter. That said, Newsday's Marc Carig heard from a team source that the Mets "have little to no interest in trading d'Arnaud."
- Rockies left-hander Jorge De La Rosa was claimed off waivers by an unknown team who made the move in order to block the southpaw from being dealt elsewhere, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reported. The claim was made long enough ago that Colorado has since pulled De La Rosa back from revocable trade waivers and he'll finish the rest of the 2014 season in the purple pinstripes.
- The Orioles have talked to multiple clubs about trading for an infielder, and they checked in on Gordon Beckham at some point before the White Sox dealt him to the Angels, MASNsports.com's Roch Kubatko reported. Since the Angels (who own the best record in baseball) claimed Beckham on waivers, that would mean the O's had an initial chance to claim the second baseman themselves but chose to pass.
- The Royals designated veteran lefty Bruce Chen for assignment, according to Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com. Chen, a 37-year-old native of Panama, is playing on a one-year, $4.25 million deal that includes a $5.5 million option for next season ($1 million buyout).
- The Yankees designated left-hander Rich Hill for assignment in order to clear a roster spot for the recently acquired Josh Outman, the team announced via press release.