Listen, we know it’s tough to catch up on everything happening in the baseball world each morning. There are all kinds of stories, rumors, game coverage and Vines of dudes getting hit in the beans every day. Trying to find all of it while on your way to work or sitting at your desk just isn’t easy. It’s OK, though. We’re going to do the heavy lifting for you each morning and find the things you need to see from within the SB Nation baseball network, as well as from elsewhere. Please hold your applause until the end, or at least until after you subscribe to the newsletter.
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Max Scherzer was set to pitch for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic this March, but instead, he’ll be watching it on television like the rest of us. Scherzer has a stress fracture in his ring finger, but it’s not a new injury, so don’t be super alarmed if this is the first you’re hearing about it. Scherzer is actually rehabbing the stress fracture, as it was initially diagnosed as a sprain in August and was something he was able to pitch through — the pain didn’t lessen, though, so an additional check on the injury showed that he actually had a stress fracture.
Nationals fans, you can chill here, as Scherzer himself says he’s on pace to return to the mound before spring training begins. Asking him to pitch in the competitive format of the WBC is a step too far at that time, however, so he’ll stick around in spring training and focus on getting to 100 percent in time for Opening Day. That’s disappointing for America, but not for the Nats.
Luckily for Team USA, there is a new rule in place for this World Baseball Classic that should help them on the mound. A new “pitcher pool” will let teams add new pitchers to the roster later on in the tournament, so Team USA could conceivably add someone like Clayton Kershaw or Madison Bumgarner late in the tourney for a boost, should they get that far. They already have, confirmed, Chris Archer, Danny Duffy, and Marcus Stroman — Scherzer was supposed to be the true ace of the staff — so a start or two from the likes of Kershaw and Bumgarner would go a long way, especially if they can time it using the pitcher pool. We’ll have to see if they try to get Kershaw for the whole thing now that Scherzer is out, as they’ll have to do something to make up for this loss.
- Dan Duquette says his Jose Bautista comments were “blown out of proportion,” which is cute since he repeated them on the radio verbatim and used them specifically to rally the O’s fan base behind the team’s decision to not spend on Bautista.
- It’s going to be hilarious if Duke is now walking these comments back because the chance to sign Bautista for a year at a reasonable dollar amount exists and they prefer him to a long-term Mark Trumbo commitment — O’s fans really do dislike Bautista, and we had even praised Duquette for finally learning the fine art of throwing shade.
- The A’s might not be winning much lately, but they do have a winning tradition with their rookies.
- Which teams are the most tortured franchises in baseball? The Indians are No.1, sure, but what about the other teams?
- How did the Phillies’ top targets sink to their level?
- In news that should surprise no one, the Braves are thinking of bringing back Kelly Johnson or Jeff Francoeur.
- The Nate Karns trade is about extending the Royals’ window, but it’s at the expense of 2017.
- Grant Brisbee writes that the Giants shouldn’t have a left field platoon.
- Jordy Mercer is a candidate for an extension from the Pirates, but a weird one.
- As Ken Rosenthal points out in his notes column, MLB is trying to increase diversity both on the mound and behind the plate through a “Dream Series” for high school players.