Major League Baseball’s investigation into domestic violence allegations against Mets closer Jeurys Familia could be nearing a conclusion, according to Ken Davidoff and Matt Puma of the New York Post. The Mets excused Familia from their pitchers and catchers workout Saturday (and he won’t be in attendance Sunday), which is related to the league’s case, two sources informed Davidoff and Puma. Mets manager Terry Collins doesn’t expect Familia to miss any more time this spring beyond Sunday, but the league could hand the reliever a 30- to 50-game regular-season suspension in the coming weeks, Davidoff and Puma suggest.
More from the East Coast:
- While there’s interest across the majors in utilityman Brock Holt, the Red Sox aren’t looking to trade him, writes Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. “Many clubs like him a great deal,” said president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski. Since debuting in the majors with Pittsburgh in 2012, the versatile Holt has seen action everywhere but catcher and pitcher, though Boston doesn’t have an obvious place to put him this year. Most of Holt’s playing time last season came in left field, where ballyhooed rookie Andrew Benintendi will line up in 2017. Even including 2016, though, the majority of Holt’s big league experience has come at third base, but the Red Sox are banking on a revival at the hot corner from fellow lefty-swinger Pablo Sandoval. Thus, barring another poor showing from Sandoval – which is quite possible, of course – Holt could struggle to find reps. Nevertheless, Holt told Cafardo he’s “extremely happy” to be in Boston. The 2015 All-Star is under Red Sox control through the 2019 season.
- Justin Smoak manning first base and Steve Pearce handling left field on an everyday basis would be the “best-case scenario” for the Blue Jays this year, general manager Ross Atkins told Shi Davidi of Sportsnet. “A lot could change, a lot could evolve,” continued Atkins. “(Melvin Upton Jr.) is a very good major-league player and he very well could be the guy that’s playing regularly in left field for us. What we’d like to do is to have a spring training that gives us that choice to make.” Hoping the 30-year-old Smoak carves out an everyday role seems unrealistic, as the former top prospect has underwhelmed in the majors and is coming off a subpar season. After signing a two-year contract extension in mid-July, the switch-hitting Smoak posted a .184/.283/.368 batting line in 99 second-half plate appearances. Should the lifetime .223/.308/.392 hitter’s issues continue in 2017, Pearce would primarily take the reins at first, which would open up left for Upton and Ezequiel Carrera.
- With Sean Rodriguez set to miss most or all of the season, the Braves are trying to find an in-house backup for star first baseman Freddie Freeman, details David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Right fielder Nick Markakis, utilityman Chase d’Arnaud, infielder Jace Peterson and catcher Tyler Flowers are all candidates to slot in behind Freeman – who missed just four games last year and has appeared in no fewer than 147 contests five of six full seasons. If Atlanta doesn’t settle on any of those four as a reserve first baseman, it could turn to free agent Kelly Johnson, as he and the team are still in touch, tweets O’Brien. Another go-around in Atlanta would be the fourth for Johnson, whom the Braves drafted in 2000 and then signed as a free agent in each of the two prior winters. The club subsequently traded the journeyman to the Mets during both the 2015 and ’16 seasons.