MLB Wrap: Ramirez expected to miss eight weeks

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MLB Wrap: Ramirez expected to miss eight weeks

TUCSON, Ariz. -- Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez is scheduled to undergo surgery Friday on his injured right thumb and is expected to be sidelined for eight weeks.

The Dodgers said Thursday that an MRI indicated that a ligament in Ramirez's thumb was torn.

Ramirez suffered the injury Tuesday night while playing for the Dominican Republic in its victory over Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic championship game in San Francisco.

Ramirez was at third base when he suffered the injury. The Dodgers moved him to shortstop, his original position, after obtaining him from the Miami Marlins on July 25.

Dr. Steve Shin, a sports-medicine hand specialist, is scheduled to perform the surgery in Los Angeles.

The Dodgers were in Tucson, Ariz., on Thursday for a spring training game against the Chicago Cubs (see full story).

Only minor-league spring games for Jeter
TAMPA, Fla. -- New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman says shortstop Derek Jeter will play only in minor league spring training games for the rest of spring training.

The move could cut short how much time Jeter would miss if he starts the season on the 15-day disabled list. By not playing in major league exhibitions, the Yankees want to be able to backdate Jeter's start time on the DL if that's necessary.

Jeter missed his third straight exhibition game Thursday because of inflammation in his surgically repaired left ankle. The 38-year-old captain received an anti-inflammatory injection on Wednesday.

Cashman hasn't ruled out Jeter missing the Yankees' regular season opener April 1 at home against Boston. The GM said he didn't know when Jeter will resume baseball activities (see full story).

Mets name Wright captain
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- The New York Mets have made third baseman David Wright the fourth captain in team history.

The Mets made the announcement Thursday.

Wright joined Keith Hernandez, Gary Carter and John Franco as Mets to be appointed captain. Franco was the last player to hold the honor in 2004.

The 30-year-old Wright is a six-time All-Star and the team's career hits leader. He signed an eight-year, $138 million contract extension with the Mets in the offseason (see full story).

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Trade front quiet, but Phillies could lose a player or 2 in Rule 5 draft

Trade front quiet, but Phillies could lose a player or 2 in Rule 5 draft

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — The Phillies have a history of adding players in the Rule 5 draft. The annual event, designed to prevent teams from stockpiling minor-league talent without giving it a shot in the majors, has netted the Phillies players such as Dave Hollins, Shane Victorino and Odubel Herrera over the years.

The year’s Rule 5 draft will be held Thursday morning at the conclusion of the winter meetings, but it’s highly unlikely that the Phillies will be active. After adding 11 prospects to their 40-man roster two weeks ago, the Phillies are simply out of room. Selecting a player in the Rule 5 draft would first require the Phils to cut a player loose and that did not seem to be the plan as the sun set Wednesday.

While an addition is unlikely, there’s a strong possibility that the Phils will lose a player or two in the draft. Outfielder Andrew Pullin, a 2012 draft pick, is the likeliest to go. He hit .322 with a .885 OPS between Single A and Double A in 2016 and a number of teams are buzzing about him. A late-season elbow injury prevented Pullin from playing in the Arizona Fall League and factored into the Phillies’ decision to leave him unprotected.

If a team rolls the dice on Pullin, it must keep him in the majors all season or offer him back to the Phillies.

Other players who could go include first baseman/outfielder Brock Stassi, outfielder Carlos Tocci and pitchers Miguel Nunez and Hoby Milner.

All quiet for now
Phillies general manager Matt Klentak spent Wednesday meeting with agents and representatives from other clubs.

“Nothing is hot at the moment,” he said late in the day.

Klentak has brought back starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson, added relievers Joaquin Benoit and Pat Neshek and traded for outfielder Howie Kendrick this offseason. The biggest remaining issue/question on his plate is whether to add a veteran hitter in a corner outfield spot or keep the pathway open for young players such as Roman Quinn and eventually Dylan Cozens and Nick Williams. 

“Successfully balancing the present and the future is the single greatest challenge that a baseball operations department faces,” Klentak said. “We’ve talked about it all offseason. The decisions that we are making right now about giving playing time to a young player that has cut his teeth in Triple A and needs that opportunity to take the next step as opposed to a shorter-term solution from the outside — that’s one of the main challenges that we’ve run into this offseason.”

While it’s uncertain whether the Phils will add a hitter, they most surely will make other roster tweaks as the winter moves on. They are likely to fill their backup catcher’s spot in-house (see story), but could add a utility infielder and more bullpen depth on minor-league contracts.

“I think there will probably be another move or two before we get to Clearwater,” Klentak said. “Who and when remains to be seen.”

Phillies likely to carry rookie backup catcher in 2017

Phillies likely to carry rookie backup catcher in 2017

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — The likelihood of the Phillies going with a rookie backup catcher in 2017 increased dramatically when the Miami Marlins signed free agent A.J. Ellis on Wednesday.

Ellis spent the final month of the 2016 season with the Phillies after coming over from the Dodgers in the Carlos Ruiz trade. Ellis, 35, got high marks for his work with the Phillies’ young pitching staff and the Phils had some interest in bringing him back. The interest, however, was complicated by a tight 40-man roster, which already includes three catchers — starter Cameron Rupp and minor-league prospects Jorge Alfaro and Andrew Knapp.

With Ellis out of the picture, the Phillies will likely use either Alfaro or Knapp as the backup catcher in 2017. Knapp spent a full year at Triple A in 2016 and could end up being the guy as Alfaro moves to Triple A for another year of seasoning.

General manager Matt Klentak spoke earlier this week of the possibility of going with a rookie at backup catcher.

“Andrew Knapp just finished his age 25 season in Triple A,” Klentak said. “He has a full year of at-bats in Triple A. At some point for both he and Alfaro, we’re going to have to find out what those guys can do at the big-league level. During the 2017 season, we’ll have to find out — not just about those two guys — but others.”

It’s not all that surprising that Ellis ended up with the Marlins on a one-year deal worth $2.5 million. He played for Marlins manager Don Mattingly during the latter’s time as manager of the Dodgers.