The suspension appeals for Yankees first baseman Tyler Austin and Red Sox setup man Joe Kelly have both been heard. Austin’s suspension has been reduced from five games to four, per Joel Sherman of the New York Post (Twitter link), while Kelly’s six-game suspension was upheld (Twitter link via MLB.com’s Ian Browne). Both players were suspended and fined for their respective roles in the bench-clearing brawl two weeks back.
Some more notes from the division…
- With Austin suspended, Neil Walker could pick up those starts at first base, and the opportunity will be an important one for him, writes Newsday’s Steven Marcus. With Austin and rehabbing Greg Bird likely to hold down first base, Gleyber Torres now at second base, Miguel Andujar at third base and Brandon Drury on the mend, Walker’s role with the Yankees is becoming increasingly muddied as he battles through a dismal start to the season. Walker, who is hitting just .172/.232/.203, made no excuses for his poor start and said his shortened Spring Training and injury history aren’t at the root of his struggles.
- Xander Bogaerts could return to the Red Sox today, writes Chad Jennings of The Athletic (subscription link), which would cut into the playing time of a resurgent Brock Holt, who is hitting .340/.400/.520 through his first 55 trips to the plate. Holt chats with Jennings about his lost 2017 season which was ruined by recurring symptoms of vertigo that impacted him at the plate and in the field. Boston made the decision to hang onto Holt and instead trade Deven Marrero to the D-backs in Spring Training, entrusting Holt to be the primary utility infielder in the process. Now, however, there’s at least some minor injury concern with Holt; he exited last night’s game with tightness in his hamstring and is set to be re-evaluated today (Twitter link via Jennings). If he requires a DL stint, the Sox could potentially just flip Holt and Bogaerts, placing the former on the disabled list while activating the latter.
- Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com tackles a host of Orioles questions from readers in light of the team’s awful start to the season, with topics ranging from the slow starts by Alex Cobb and Chris Tillman to the eventual promotion of Austin Hays. Of note, Kubatko reveals upon being asked about a possible J.J. Hardy reunion that the longtime O’s shortstop “seems quite content at home with his family.” Kubatko notes that he even broached the idea with some within the organization after Tim Beckham’s injury and was told that no one within the org seems to think that Hardy is reconsidering his current situation. The 35-year-old Hardy spent the past seven seasons as Baltimore’s primary shortstop but hit .217/.255/.323 through 73 games in an injury-plagued 2017 season and didn’t sign anywhere as a free agent this winter.