Red Sox right-hander Joe Kelly left tonight’s start in the first inning after walking two of the first four men he faced. As Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald writes, Kelly has been diagnosed with a right shoulder impingement, though little else beyond that point is known. Boston has already been without left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez, who had been expected to fill one of the spots at the back of the rotation but suffered a patellar subluxation during Spring Training. It remains to be seen if Kelly will require a DL stint, though it’s worth noting that Rodriguez is slated to throw 70 to 75 pitches in an extended Spring Training game this weekend, as Scott Lauber of ESPN Boston tweets, and he could progress to a rehab stint if all goes well in that outing.
More from Major League Baseball’s Eastern divisions…
- Marlins center fielder Marcell Ozuna drew trade interest from the Reds, Indians, Mariners, Rangers and Orioles this offseason, reports Jim Bowden of ESPN in listing 10 players that stand out as change-of-scenery candidates. The Marlins sought big-league-ready starting pitching to insert into their rotation in any deal, though, and when no one offered up a pitcher that met their desires, the club instead turned to the free-agent market and signed left-hander Wei-Yin Chen to a five-year deal (with an opt-out clause). Bowden also notes that both manager Don Mattingly and hitting coach Barry Bonds were interested in holding onto Ozuna, believing that they could help him rebound to his 2014 levels.
- Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post opines that the time is now for the Lerner family, who own the Nationals, to step up and make a record-setting extension offer to Bryce Harper. Boswell notes that in addition to proving himself on the field with last season’s dominant MVP campaign, Harper has proven to have matured as well, taking the initiative to bury the hatchet with Jonathan Papelbon even after Papelbon took the blame for last season’s dugout altercation with Harper. Boswell acknowledges that Harper and agent Scott Boras, of course, may not be amenable to a long-term deal. However, a “career contract” that shatters Giancarlo Stanton’s record $325MM pact with the Marlins could potentially grab his attention. The Post scribe adds that the Nats right now have about as much leverage as they’ll ever have, as Harper’s current MLB earnings are still relatively minimal, the club is contending and he’s nearly three full seasons from free agency.
- The Braves could be without center fielder Ender Inciarte for another two weeks, writes David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Manager Fredi Gonzalez tells O’Brien that an “optimistic” timeline for Inciarte would be late April or early May, though Gonzalez says he’s not certain how much the club will push its newly acquired center fielder and lineup catalyst. Rookie Mallex Smith and veteran Drew Stubbs have been patrolling center field in Inciarte’s absence, though neither has hit much.
- WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford spoke to Red Sox manager John Farrell about his working relationship with new president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski. Farrell said that while he’s aware of some front offices that play a larger role in daily lineup decisions, Dombrowski isn’t involved at that level (nor did Alex Anthopoulos when Farrell managed in Toronto or Dombrowski’s predecessor, Ben Cherington, in Boston, he added). Farrell said that he doesn’t consider his relationship with Dombrowski to be drastically different than with his previous bosses, though he did note that his conversations with Dombrowski are in-person more often due to Dombrowski’s larger travel schedule.