Saturday, March 25, 2023

Leading: Canoe Padres, Kershaw out, Kirby joins back home

Here’s a look at what’s happening around the Major on Saturday:


2B or not 2B

Less than a week after being released by the Mets, Robinson Canoe has found another job at the majors, signing with San Diego.

The Padres plan to use the 39-year-old Canoe as a left-hander off the bench. Acting manager Ryan Christensen said he could get some occasional starts at second base and designated hitter.

“I have a lot left in the tank,” said Canoe. “I know I can still play this game and go on top.”

The Mets owe Canoe approximately $45 million, the remainder of his original contract signed with Seattle. He will earn a pro-rata share of a minimum of $700,000.

Canoe hit .195 with a home run and three RBIs in 43 plate appearances for the NL East-leading Mets. He was serving a second suspension for performance-enhancing drugs last season.

The eight-time All-Star second baseman had a career batting average of .302 with 335 home runs in 17 seasons when the Mets cut him.

Christensen takes over the Padres while manager Bob Melvin recovers from prostate surgery.

The Padres said on Friday that no cancer was found during the operation two days earlier. Melvin, 60, had said he expected to miss only the first six games of the team’s nine-match tour, which began this weekend in Atlanta and continued through Philadelphia and San Francisco.

sick ace

Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw is out with a swollen pelvic joint, the seventh season in a row he has been on the injured list. Los Angeles moved the roster several hours before they were ready to face the Phillies at Dodger Stadium.

Kershaw, 34, was sorely in his pitching arm for the entire second half of last season and missed the Dodgers’ playoff run.

Kershaw (4-0, 1.80 ERA) has made a great start to his 15th season with the Dodgers. The three-time NL Cy Young winner has made 32 strikes and just three walks in his five starts since signing a $17 million, one-year deal in March to return to his only professional club.

Kershaw also became the Dodgers franchise leader in the strikeout on 30 April.

homecoming game

Award-winning Mariners pitching prospect George Kirby had a vocal cheer section in Seattle that stood out for his impressive major league debut on Mother’s Day and his stats are another when he faces the Mets early in his career.

Kirby grew up in Rye, New York, about 22 miles north of Citi Field. He was kicked out of high school by the Mets in the 32nd round, but went to college in Elon, North Carolina and was selected by Seattle in 2019 with the 20th overall pick. The 24-year-old right-handed batsman rated one of the baseballs. The best pitching newcomers threw six shutout innings with seven strikes and no walks against Tampa Bay on Sunday after being called from Double-A Arkansas.

kb is coming back

Kris Bryant may soon return to Colorado’s lineup after a cortisone injection eased his back pain.

The Rockies outfielder got the shot on Monday, then played a catch and hit the batting cage on Friday, as he had been sidelined nearly three weeks ago. He is expected to increase his workload on Saturday and may begin a minor minor league rehab assignment next week.

Bryant, who signed a $172 million free-agent deal with the Rockies in March, is still looking for his first home run with Colorado. The four-time All-Star and 2016 NL MVP is batting .281 with four RBIs. He has been dismissed 12 times in 57 at-bats.

500 straight

Royals outfielder Whit Merrifield is set to play his 500th game in a row, extending the longest streak in the majors, when Kansas City plays in Colorado.

Merrifield’s run began on June 25, 2018, and is the longest in the Majors since Prince Fielder played in 547 straight runs from September 14, 2010 to May 16, 2014. Merrifield played six positions during the stretch: first base, second base, left field, center field, right field and DH.

To break Cal Ripken Jr.’s record of 2,632 games? The 33-year-old will need to play another 13-plus seasons.

ryu ready

Blue Jays left-hander Hyun Jin Ryu, who had been sidelined since April 16 with a forearm problem, will be activated to start in Tampa Bay.

The 35-year-old conceded 11 runs in 7 1/3 innings in his first two starts before moving on to the injured list. After a quick trip to Triple-A Buffalo for rehab starting last Saturday, he is set to rejoin the rotation. He will face Ray’s left-hander Ryan Yarbrough (0-0, 6.14).


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