After trying all winter and throughout spring training to add a left-handed hitting first baseman, the Pittsburgh Pirates finally got their man Friday night as they acquired Ike Davis from the New York Mets.
The Pirates traded minor-league reliever Zack Thornton and a player to be named later for Davis. The 27-year-old was hitting .208 with one home run and five RBIs in 12 games.
The Pirates are hoping Davis can regain his form of two years ago when he hit 32 home runs and had 90 RBIs. Last year, he batted just .204 with nine homers in 103 games before his season ended Aug. 31 with a right oblique strain.
Davis, the Mets’ first-round pick in the 2008 amateur draft, had been losing playing time to fellow left-handed hitter Lucas Duda in recent days.
“We feel very confident we can get him back on track, especially in this ballpark that favors left-handed hitters a lot more than Citi Field,” Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said. “We feel he’s a player whose better days are still ahead of him and we’re very excited to be able to add him to our roster.”
The Mets assigned Thornton to their Triple-A Las Vegas farm club. Thornton, 25, was 2-0 with a 1.23 ERA in four games with triple-A Indianapolis.
CONCERN OVER THREATS TO PUIG
Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said he is concerned about right fielder Yasiel Puig over reports that he has received death threats since joining the team last year.
Los Angeles Magazine and ESPN The Magazine published feature stories on Puig this week detailing his escape from Cuba. According to the reports, the threats were a result of friction between rival groups that helped Puig leave the island nation and whether they should share in the $42 million contract he signed with the Dodgers.
Puig and the Dodgers’ front office are not commenting, but Mattingly on Thursday said, “If you care about Yasiel, you worry about it. There’s some serious stuff that he has to deal with. I think you have to worry about it if you care about him as a person. You worry about what he’s going through.”
Mattingly said he was not aware of Puig’s situation until general manager Ned Colletti told him before the reports came out earlier this week.
“If it was news to anyone above me, I don’t know that, but it was definitely news to me,” he said. “I think it was news to anybody in our clubhouse. I know a lot of people check in on Yasiel that know a lot more than I do. I’m the manager of the baseball team. I’m not running the whole organization. I’m not the president or ownership.”
Mattingly said the organization and teammates will give Puig all the support he needs.
The Texas Rangers placed struggling pitcher Tanner Scheppers on the 15-day disabled list Friday with inflammation in his right elbow.
An MRI found no structural damage, but Scheppers will rest his arm for 10 days, MLB.com reported.
The Rangers purchased the contract of left-hander Aaron Poreda to fill Scheppers’ spot in the rotation and designated infielder Andy Parrino for assignment to make room on the team’s 40-man roster.
Scheppers, 27, was moved from the bullpen to the rotation this year and the results were less than spectacular in the first few weeks of the season.
Texas’ Opening Day starter has an 0-1 record with a 9.82 ERA in four outings this season. He has given up 20 earned runs in 18 1/3 innings.
Last season, Scheppers excelled as a reliever, compiling a 6-2 record with a 1.88 ERA in 76 appearances and 76 2/3 innings.
The Rangers’ pitching staff has been hit hard by injuries. Derek Holland, Matt Harrison and Joe Saunders are on the disabled list.
NEW DEAL FOR DOOLITTLE
The Oakland Athletics signed left-handed reliever Sean Doolittle to a five-year contract Friday that includes club options for the 2019 and 2020 seasons.
Financial terms were not disclosed, but the deal begins with the 2014 season and extends through 2018. Doolittle’s previous one-year contract was worth $505,000 in the major leagues and $295,500 in the minors. He would have been eligible for arbitration for the first time next winter.
The 27-year-old is a converted first baseman, making the switch near the end of the 2011 season, and he has proved effective out of the bullpen for the A’s.
In 2012 and 2013, he posted a combined 7-6 record with a 3.10 ERA, four saves and 129 strikeouts in 122 relief outings. This year, he has a 0-0 record with a 3.12 ERA and one save in eight appearances covering 8 2/3 innings.
The A’s began a weekend series at home against the Houston Astros on Friday night.
CHAPMAN CLEARED FOR BP
Cincinnati Reds closer Aroldis Chapman has been cleared to pitch batting practice for the first time since he was hit in the face by a line drive during an exhibition game March 10.
Chapman sustained fractures to his nose and a bone above his left eye when hit by a line drive off the bat of Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez.
“Our concern initially was anything that might come up and bounce and hit him in the face, and if he would be at a higher risk for further injury, and he’s been given the clearance on that,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “So he’s a full-go in that regard.”
Price said he wasn’t sure exactly when Chapman will pitch for the first time, but added that it probably will come during the Reds’ 10-game trip that ends April 27. He added that Chapman will go on a minor league rehab assignment before rejoining the Reds.
TEIXEIRA COMING OFF DL?
New York Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira is set to come off the 15-day disabled list Sunday, according to MLB.com.
Teixeira has been on the DL with a strained right hamstring. He last played April 4.
Teixeira played three innings of a minor-league extended spring training session Thursday.
The 34-year-old is hitting .250 in 13 plate appearances this season. He played just 15 games last year after having wrist surgery.
In 2012, Teixeira hit 24 home runs in 123 games and won a Gold Glove.