MLB Notes: Indians' Jason Kipnis expected to miss Opening Day with shoulder injury

MLB Notes: Indians' Jason Kipnis expected to miss Opening Day with shoulder injury

GOODYEAR, Ariz. --  Cleveland Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis is likely to miss opening day because of a sore right shoulder.

Indians manager Terry Francona said Sunday that Kipnis will be shut down for the next two weeks to let him recover.

Kipnis has been dealing with the problem this spring and had a cortisone shot two weeks ago.

Kipnis is a two-time All-Star. He hit .275 with 23 home runs and 82 RBIs last season, and then homered twice in the World Series loss to the Cubs.

Minus Kipnis, the Indians could use Michael Martinez at second base or perhaps shift Jose Ramirez over from third base.

RED SOX: Price tests out sore throwing elbow with 25 practice pitches
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Red Sox left-hander David Price was ahead of schedule for the first step in his recovery from a sore elbow, throwing into a net in a batting cage.

Manager John Farrell said Price made 25 easy tosses Saturday before a Red Sox split squad played the Tampa Bay Rays.

"The range of motion, the freeness to the movement is all positive," Farrell said. "It was just throwing into the net, just to get his arm moving - a little bit ahead of what we laid out yesterday. But that's based on how he feels and the positivity towards it."

Price is still a ways away from pitching off a mound (see full story)

REDS: DeScalfani has sore pitching elbow; could miss start of the season
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Top Cincinnati Reds starter Anthony DeSclafani could miss the start of the season for a second straight year because of a sore pitching elbow.

The right-hander has been sidelined during spring training because of the elbow. He was expected to make his first appearance on Monday, but he was sore after throwing a bullpen session. DeSclafani was sent back to Cincinnati on Sunday for an MRI and further examination.

"After the doctors examine him, we'll have a better idea of whether this is a minor or major setback," general manager Dick Williams said.

DeSclafani was in line to start opening day last season before he strained an oblique late during camp. He missed the first two months of the season as the injury lingered. He wound up making 20 starts and going 9-5 with a 3.28 ERA (see full story)

DIAMONDBACKS: Drury excited about move to second base
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) – After a season on the go, Brandon Drury is happy to know he'll primarily play second base this season for the Arizona Diamondbacks.

He appeared in 62 games in left field as a rookie last year, 32 in right, 29 at third, 16 at second and even one at first.

"It will be a piece of cake for him this year by just focusing on one position," said teammate Chris Owings, who split time last year mostly between shortstop and center. "It's nice when you can go out and just take groundballs at second base. You can work on being in a shift one day. You can work on double plays one day. If he can focus on that versus worrying about, `Am I playing left or right or second or third?' then I think he's going to have a great year."

After making his big league debut in September 2015, Drury he hit .282 with 16 homers and 59 RBIs last year -- including .357 with six homers and 19 RBIs from Sept. 1 on.

 

Phillies 7, Blue Jays 1: Vince Velasquez and Tommy Joseph show off their power

Phillies 7, Blue Jays 1: Vince Velasquez and Tommy Joseph show off their power

BOX SCORE

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- The Phillies showed a little power in their 7-1 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday night.

Tommy Joseph provided some of it.

Vince Velasquez provided a lot of it.

Joseph crushed a two-run home run to left field and also lined a double off the center-field wall on his way to a four-hit game. The double came off his bat at 109 miles per hour. The homer was his third of the spring.

Meanwhile, Velasquez showed off his big fastball in striking out seven Blue Jays over five innings of work. Vinny Velo's final pitch of the night was a 97-mph dart past a swinging Jose Bautista.

"That pitch felt really good coming out of my hand," Velasquez said. "Sometimes my fastball slips a little bit and I yank it, but this one I got right behind and threw it right through the catcher."

Velasquez actually struck out the side in that fifth inning against three pretty good hitters in Russell Martin, Josh Donaldson and Bautista.

"That last inning, he really let it go," manager Pete Mackanin said.

Pitch economy remains an area that Velasquez needs to improve on. He threw 87 pitches. But he was pleased with the way he attacked hitters in that final inning of work.

"I didn't attack in one inning," he said. "But in that last inning, I stopped fiddling around and trusted my stuff. I need to do that the whole time."

Velasquez gave up just one run, a homer to Martin. He allowed five hits and walked two.

Velasquez had a busy night. He drove home a run with a ground out against Aaron Sanchez. He also walked against Sanchez and scored a run on a dash home from third base after Freddy Galvis got hung up between first and second. Galvis waved Velasquez home. After crossing home plate, Velasquez, rather humorously, almost ran into the netted backstop.

"I just had momentum. I got excited," he said. "As soon as I saw Tulo (shortstop Troy Tulowitzki) make eye contact with Freddy, I booked it. He's going to think, 'Pitchers can't run,' so I showed off my athleticism."

After the outing, Velasquez pronounced himself ready for the regular season.

"I'm good to go," he said.

He made five Grapefruit League starts and gave up eight runs in 19 2/3 innings. He walked nine and struck out 25.

"It's been a strong, healthy, successful spring training," he said.

Velasquez will likely start the home opener on April 7. He will need to get some work in this weekend. The Phillies leave Florida on Friday. He could stay behind for a day and pitch at the minor-league complex if needed.

Offense clicks
The Phillies had 12 hits. They had 15 in Sunday's 6-3 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Up next
The Phillies play the Blue Jays again on Tuesday night. That game will be in Clearwater. Aaron Nola will start against Marco Estrada.

Andrew Knapp to make Phillies' roster -- remaining roster decisions are close

Andrew Knapp to make Phillies' roster -- remaining roster decisions are close

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The pathway for Andrew Knapp to make the Phillies' opening day roster as the backup catcher was cleared way back in November when he was added to the 40-man roster.

The job all but became Knapp's on Monday when the team released two veteran catchers who were not on the 40-man roster. When Ryan Hanigan and Bryan Holaday were let go, Knapp became one of just two catchers in camp, the other being starter Cameron Rupp (see story).

So it's pretty obvious that the 25-year-old Knapp will open the season with the big club -- even though nothing will become official until rosters are filed with the commissioner's office this weekend.

"Obviously there are four or five days left," Knapp said. "I'm just going to keep trying to make good impressions and try to win a job. I'm keeping my head down, trying not to think about it too much."

Knapp was the Phillies' second-round draft pick of Cal-Berkeley in 2013. He has never played in the majors.

"It would be a dream come true," he said. "Everyone hopes to get called up at some point but to make a team on opening day would be pretty special and it would be the best moment in my career so far."

Phillies manager Pete Mackanin acknowledged that Knapp would probably make the club.

Mackanin would like to have the rest of his roster in order over the next day or two.

"As soon as possible," he said. "Because the last four or five games I'd like to play almost as if it were a season -- using the bullpen that way, using the bench in a certain way, seeing what it looks like, our bench guys, all our hitters. We just don't want to make a bad decision so we're just going to string it out as long as we can."

Roster questions must still be answered on the bench and in the bullpen.

How does the bench shape up? Andres Blanco, Aaron Altherr and Knapp are set. The Phils are expected to go with a five-man bench so that leaves two openings. There are four players vying for those spots: Chris Coghlan, Daniel Nava, Brock Stassi and Jesmuel Valentin. Valentin has impressed, but at 22 years old, he would benefit from playing every day at Triple A.

Mackanin praised Stassi's work on Monday. If Stassi makes the club, the final spot would come down to Coghlan and Nava.

"Stassi has obviously made a great impression, mainly because, not necessarily because of his results, but the fact that he had a lot of quality at-bats," Mackanin said. "It looks like he can handle making adjustments to the different pitchers and different situations. He seemed to handle left-handers well. He made a good impression, as has Coughlan. Nava has also been consistent throughout the spring."

Stassi, Coghlan and Nava are all non-roster players so the Phils would have to clear 40-man roster space to add any of them.

Two spots remain open in the bullpen. Adam Morgan, Joely Rodriguez, Luis Garcia, Alec Asher and Cesar Ramos are the candidates. All but Ramos is on the 40-man roster.

How will this all shake out?

More answers are probably coming Tuesday.