Mets trade for Carlos Gomez

The Brewers' Carlos Gomez points skyward as he approaches home plate after his solo home run against the Tigers. (Carlos Osorio / AP)

Carlos Gomez is coming back to New York.

According to many Mets beat writers and a few national baseball scribes on Twitter, the Mets have come to terms on a trade that will bring Brewers center fielder Carlos Gomez to the Mets. The Brewers will receive Wilmer Flores and Zack Wheeler.

Let’s start with Gomez.

A 2002 free agent signee out of the Dominican Republic, Gomez worked his way through the Mets’ farm system, reaching the big leagues in 2007. In February 2008, he was one of the key pieces  in a trade that brought Johan Santana to New York from Minnesota.

Gomez spent two frustrating seasons with the Twins before going to Milwaukee in a trade for J.J Hardy in November 2009.

Since he’s become an everyday player in 2012, Gomez has flourished as one of the best all-around outfielders in baseball. He was an All-Star in both 2013 and 2014, putting up nearly identical stat lines in each of those seasons. This year, he’s hitting .266 with eight home runs, 20 doubles and 43 RBI. He’s also well-regarded defensively, having won a Gold Glove in 2013, a season in which he added 4.6 wins with his defense alone.

Gomez turns 30 in December and he is under contract for $9 million for the 2016 season, so this is a move that helps the Mets win now and will also help them next season as well. A right-handed hitter, he’ll give the Mets a bit more balance from that side as the club is currently lefty-heavy.

It’s a big move for a team that dearly needs some offensive production. Gomez brings power, speed and solid defense but his acquisition didn’t come without a cost.

Wilmer Flores has spent three seasons bouncing around the Mets’ infield, playing second, short and third base. He’s a .244 career hitter and has 17 home runs and 82 RBI over 197 big league games. He turns 24 next month, so there’s certainly time for him to become more than the role player/platoon-type he’s looked like more of his major league career. The Brewers supposedly like Flores at third base and that should be his new home.

Zack Wheeler is out for the season, having undergone Tommy John surgery earlier this year. Wheeler came to New York in a deadline trade for Carlos Beltran in 2011 and was quite impressive in the 49 starts he made between 2013-14. In 285 1/3 major league innings, Wheeler has allowed 257 hits, struck out 271 and walked 125. Wheeler, 25, won’t be eligible for arbitration until 2017 and doesn’t reach free agency until 2020, so the Brewers should have him at a reasonable cost in their rotation from June of 2016 through the end of the 2019 season. So that’s a ton of talent for the Mets to give away.

But, the reason why the Mets would make this trade is twofold. One, they feel like they can contend right now, given the strength of their starting pitching, even with Wheeler on the DL. So it makes sense to Gomez here for the stretch run. Two, with Steven Matz leading a strong group of Mets minor league starters, replacing Wheeler may be possible with internal options.

The Mets have had the pitching. With Kelly Johnson, Juan Uribe and rookie Michael Conforto in the mix, and you can add Gomez to that, the Mets should have enough of an offense to be competitive. The chips have been pushed to the center of the table. The Mets are all in. And with a big weekend series at home against Washington coming up in the next few days, the stretch run is going to be something to watch.

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Mets add Clippard to the bullpen

In this June 14, 2015, file photo, Oakland Athletics relief pitcher Tyler Clippard throws to the plate during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim, Calif. In their second trade in four days, the New York Mets have acquired closer Clippard from the Oakland Athletics for minor league pitcher Casey Meisner. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)

The Mets followed up on their acquisition of Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe by trading for Oakland A’s reliever Tyler Clippard, who will bring some much-needed credibility to the bullpen.

A ninth round pick of the Yankees in the 2003 draft, Clippard made six starts for the Yankees in 2007. He was traded to the Nationals for Jonathan Albaledejo during that offseason and spent the last seven years as a key reliever in Washington. He was the Nats’ closer in 2012, saving 32 games.

This past offseason, Clippard was traded to Oakland for infielder Yunel Escobar. He saved 17 games for the A’s this year, going 1-3 with a 2.79 ERA in 38 2/3 innings over 37 appearances. Clippard has walked more hitters this year (4.9 per nine innings) than he has in the past, and his strikeout rate is down.

What makes Clippard a unique case are his lefty/righty splits. A right-handed pitcher, he is dominant against lefties, holding them to a .100 batting average and a .129 slugging percentage over 81 plate appearances this season. Righties hit .247 and slug .425 against him this year.

Alex Torres, the Mets’ main lefty out of the pen this year, hasn’t been great. He’s walked 23 hitters in 31 2/3 innings. So the addition of Clippard gives the Mets a much better option against lefty hitters in the late innings. Jeurys Familia should remain in the closer’s role.

It’s quite possible that Torres will be the odd man out of the bullpen when Clippard arrives, although young Hansel Robles does have options and could be sent down freely.

Casey Meisner, the Mets’ third round pick in the 2013 draft, goes to Oakland in the deal. He was pitching for the Mets’ High-A affiliate in St. Lucie, going 3-2 with a 2.83 ERA in six starts. He had made 12 starts (7-2, 2.13 ERA) at Low-A Savannah earlier this season. There is a lot of upside for Oakland to like in him, but he’s still quite a long way from the majors. With the Mets’ surplus of starting pitching talent, it seemed like a deal the Mets were willing to make for some short-term gain in the big league bullpen.

Again, this isn’t a blockbuster move for the Mets – Clippard is a free agent at season’s end, and some team will likely pay him closer’s money – but it is a trade that makes the team better. Will it help the Mets reach the postseason?

That’s the goal, but the Mets might still have to do more in a loaded National League pennant race.

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Mets make a move

New York Mets Juan Uribe celebrates after hitting a tenth-inning, walk-off single to lift the Mets to a 3-2 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers in a baseball game in New York, Sunday, July 26, 2015. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

After over half a season of offensive frustration, the Mets finally made a move to fix that, trading with Atlanta for Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson on Friday.

Uribe has already made his presence felt, coming through with a walk-off hit in his second game in a Mets uniform.

It’s not exactly a race-shaping trade, but the Mets were able to plug two problem spots in the lineup. Johnson figures to get most of the playing time at second base and Uribe most of the time at third, with Daniel Murphy also figuring into the mix.

Uribe is in his 15th big league season and he’s still been very productive in recent seasons. Through 77 games this year, which included some time with the Dodgers before they traded him to Atlanta, Uribe is hitting .275 with eight home runs and 24 RBI. He’s been particularly effective against left-handed pitching, slugging .593 in 54 at-bats against southpaws this season.

Johnson is a .272 hitter with 10 homers and 35 RBI, having played outfield, first base and third base for the Braves this year. So he’ll give Terry Collins some extra flexibility in the lineup. Johnson got few at-bats against lefties in Atlanta, but his offensive numbers across the board were pretty similar to what he did against righties.

Neither one of these guys is going to save the Mets’ offensive by himself. They’re not pieces for the future, either, as both are free agents at season’s end. But for a relatively small cost – the Mets sent minor league right-handers John Gant and Rob Whalen in return – the Mets can now field a much more formidable, or at the very least, competent, major league lineup on most nights. They didn’t add an All-Star like Troy Tulowitzki or Justin Upton – at least not yet – but the Mets added some pop and some length to the batting order and, by extension, the bench. This trade on its own probably isn’t enough to make the Mets serious contenders for a playoff spot, but it has put the club on the right track.

Will GM Sandy Alderson keep making moves this week? Or was this all the Mets are going to do?

We’ll see.

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Catching up with the Renegades

Hudson Valley Renegades infielder Jake Cronenworth follows through on a swing during a game against Brooklyn at Dutchess Stadium on July 8, 2015. (Will Montgomery photo/Times Herald-Record)

I was over at Dutchess Stadium to get a few stories for our weekly Hudson Valley Renegades pages that run in the paper every Sunday.

It was the day after Hudson Valley’s walkoff win over Williamsport on a Jake Cronenworth home run, so I asked manager Tim Parenton about the emotional lift that comes from such a game.

“It’s a great feeling when you win a game like we did last night with Cronenworth hitting a home run,” Parenton said. “This team just plays baseball. I can’t explain it right now. They’re a group that shows up, they do their work, they do what’s expected of them and when a game happens, they play. We’ve been on the good end the last couple of weeks, rolling a little bit and I hope it stays like that throughout the rest of the year.”

With the results of last night’s games, Hudson Valley moved into a first place tie in the McNamara Division with the Brooklyn Cyclones and the Staten Island Yankees. Brooklyn, which got off to a hot start, has won just three of its last 10 games, letting the Renegades and Yankees back in the mix. There’s about seven weeks left in the season, so things can certainly change, but it’s shaping up to be a good pennant race this summer.

The New York-Penn League has three divisions, so each of the division winners qualifies for the postseason, as does the second place team with the best overall record.

Here is the Renegades coverage we’ve had in the paper so far this season in case you’ve missed any of it:

July 19: Well-traveled Greg Maisto seizes opportunity

July 11: Joe McCarthy takes familiar road to pro debut

July 4: Reliever Brandon Koch not intimidated

June 27: Michael Russell back with a bang

June 20: Tim Ingram driven to succeed

June 18: Daniel De La Calle bridges language gap

June 17: Benton Moss a man of many talents

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Who is Michael Conforto?

Michael Conforto, selected by the Mets as the 10th overall pick, was the Pac-12 Conference Player of the Year for Oregon State. Photo: AP

With the Mets still mulling their options in regards to the status of Michael Cuddyer’s knee injury, one name keeps popping up as a potential replacement.

Michael Conforto.

Who is Michael Conforto?

Let’s take a look.

The Mets selected Conforto, an outfielder, with the 10th overall pick in the first round of the 2014 draft out of Oregon State University. Conforto, who played three years of college ball, was twice named the Pac-10 Player of the Year and hit .345 with 16 doubles, seven home runs and 56 RBI as a junior.

Following the draft, Conforto was assigned to Brooklyn of the New York-Penn League, where he hit .331 with 10 doubles, three homers and 19 RBI in 42 games. He did strike out 29 times against 16 walks, but it was still a strong pro debut.

This year, Conforto was assigned to High-A St. Lucie of the Florida State League out of spring training. In 46 games there, he hit .283 with 12 doubles, seven homers and 28 RBI, earning a promotion to Double-A Binghamton.

Through 42 games at Binghamton, Conforto is hitting .325 with 12 doubles, five homers and 25 RBI. He’s also drawn 21 walks in 182 plate appearances, good for an on-base percentage of .407.

The Mets have said that they don’t think Conforto will be ready for the big leagues until 2016 at the earliest, which is the normal trajectory for a player of Conforto’s age and skill set.

Still, the Mets have a pressing need for offense. With a lack of appealing options at Triple-A, and with the front office’s reluctance to trade any of the club’s minor league assets for major league-caliber talent, Conforto has become the fans’ latest solution.

Conforto’s rise through the minor leagues has been impressive, but there’s a big leap between the pitchers he’s seeing in Binghamton and the pitchers he’ll face in the National League. Should he struggle upon a call-up, how will he bounce back if he’s optioned back to the minor leagues? Could calling up Conforto too soon damage his confidence moving forward?

The Mets really need something to help punch up the offense and they need it soon. Conforto is one answer, but he comes with plenty of question marks. Most of all, is he ready?

Maybe he is. Maybe he isn’t. Either way, he’s probably worth a shot as the Mets look to keep from sliding out of playoff contention by the time July is over.

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MLB’s second half about to begin

My annual mid-season reports on the Mets and Yankees ran in the paper today. You can follow those links to read those stories.

For the first time in a long time, both New York teams stand a pretty good chance of qualifying for the postseason. Here’s a look at some things that may be big stories over the next few months.

Mets

  • If the playoffs were to start today, the Mets wouldn’t qualify, as they’re two games behind the Cubs in the loss column for the NL’s second Wild Card. And we’ll probably know much more about the Mets’ playoff chances after the next 10 days. The Mets begin the second half with three games in St. Louis, three games in Washington and four games at home against the Dodgers, NL division leaders all. These are the teams the Mets are going to have to beat if they want to make a run in the postseason. They’ll also need to at least keep their heads above water during this stretch or run the risk of falling out of reasonable wild card contention in July.
  • Michael Cuddyer won’t play in the Mets’ first game of the second half, even though he’s healthy enough to go if his name was on the lineup card. Cuddyer hasn’t done nearly what the Mets had hoped he would to help this offense and a perpetually hobbled Cuddyer down the stretch is only going to make a weak Mets lineup weaker. Does this injury force the club to look for outfield help on the trade market?
  • How hard does management push its young pitchers? Matt Harvey is in his first season back from Tommy John surgery. Jacob deGrom is in his second MLB season. Noah Syndergaard is but a rookie. How many innings do these guys pile up this year, whether the team is chasing a playoff berth or not?

Yankees

  • The offense has been great so far, and there’s reason to believe that the Yankees will continue to keep scoring runs in the second half. But there is a little bit of a house of cards vibe with this lineup, as Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez aren’t getting any younger. Brian McCann, who gets just as many at-bats as any catcher in baseball, is also a big part of the lineup. Carlos Beltran and Jacoby Ellsbury seem to come up with these little nagging injuries all the time. Simply put, can these guys stay healthy? An injury to any one or two guys out of that group won’t be crippling, but if a bunch of guys go down at the same time, this offense might be in trouble.
  • Thanks to a lights-out bullpen and an offense that scores runs, the Yankees have managed to survive with a starting rotation that’s above average but not great. Will the team make a move for another starting pitcher? How long will CC Sabathia remain in the rotation if he continues to pitch this way? Will Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda stay healthy? Does Louis Severino get a shot in the bigs? There’s not a huge problem with this Yankees rotation as is, but it doesn’t inspire a ton of confidence heading into October. Are the Yankees willing to make it better for a postseason run? Time will tell.
  •  Rookies on the way. The Yankees have already called up Rob Refsnyder to the majors and it looks like he’s going to at least platoon with Stephen Drew at second base for now. Does he win the job outright pretty soon or will he be back in Scranton? The Yankees have a few other promising position player prospects who aren’t too far from being MLB-ready. Is Aaron Judge ready to take over for Carlos Beltran in the outfield? Does Greg Bird get the call at first base should Teixeira get injured? If Gary Sanchez is ready, could he take some of the load off McCann or make for some sort of platoon situation at DH? Perhaps some of these guys get flipped in a trade, but it would be interesting to see them get a chance to play in pinstripes at some point this summer.

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Renegades partner with sister club to benefit Charleston, S.C.

The Hudson Valley Renegades will autograph batting practice caps and auction them off on Friday and Saturday with proceeds going to the Lowcountry Ministries-Reverend Pinckney Fund.

The fund will benefit youth and marginalized communities in South Carolina. Rev. Clementa Pinckney was among those killed in a recent mass shooting at a Charleston, S.C. church.

The Renegades are owned by the Goldkang Group, which also owns the Charleston River Dogs, a Single-A affiliate of the New York Yankees.

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Newburgh Newts looking for a new home 11 games into inaugural season

The Newburgh Newts may not be known as such for much longer.

Thursday, the first-year independent baseball team took to its Twitter account (@NewburghNewts), posting this announcement: “FANS: Games at Delano-Hitch Stadium have been postponed indefinitely. We apologize for the inconvenience.”

The team, however, does not plan to fold and is currently searching for a new home.

The Newts were originally planned to be part of a new six-team independent league known as the East Coast Baseball League. Two teams based in Canada, the Niagara Wild and the Waterloo Whiskey Jacks, folded before the season began and the ECBL itself collapsed before a single game was ever played.

Newburgh, along with the Old Orchard Beach (Me.) Surge, the Watertown Bucks and the Road Warriors, a team with no official home base, banded together to form the North Country Baseball League.

The NCBL teams were planning to play a 66-game schedule starting in mid-May, but opening day was pushed back to May 29 and the schedule slashed to 50 games.

Newburgh was in last place with a 4-7 record before the indefinite postponement.

Delano-Hitch was home to two short-lived independent professional teams in the 1990s. The Newburgh Nighthawks called the stadium home in 1995 and 1996, playing in the Northeast League championship series in the team’s second year.

Following a summer without a team, the Newburgh Black Diamonds, playing in the Atlantic League, lasted just one season at Delano-Hitch in 1998.

Monday, the Newts offered free admission for “Community Appreciation Day.” Time Warner Cable News reported that there were approximately 20 fans in the stadium for the 2 p.m. first pitch, half of them parents of the players.

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A look ahead at some potential Renegades

It’s been too long since I blogged about baseball.

With the Hudson Valley Renegades’ opening day around the corner (the season opens June 19 at Aberdeen) the roster is starting to take shape as the parent club, the Tampa Bay Rays, pick players in the MLB draft.

There are still plenty of rounds to go – I’ll be updating this post throughout the week – but I thought it’d be worthwhile to take a look at Tampa Bay’s picks, especially the college players, to get an idea of who might be playing at Dutchess Stadium this summer.

Of course, some of these players may opt not to sign or may be assigned to another minor league team, so there’s no guarantee that these guys wind up playing for Hudson Valley.

Commissioner of Major League Baseball Rob Manfred, left, helps outfielder Garrett Whitley from Niskayuna High School in Niskayuna, N.Y., put on his Tampa Bay Rays jersey at the 2015 MLB baseball draft Monday, June 8, 2015, in Secaucus, N.J. Whitley was chosen by the Rays with the 13th selection. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

First round

Garrett Whitley, OF, Niskayuna H.S.

Whitley will almost certainly sign with the Rays after going No. 13 overall, but he won’t play for Hudson Valley this summer. In fact, if he excels in rookie ball this year he might skip the New York-Penn League entirely. But it’s possible he plays here next summer or the year after that.

Third round

Brandon Lowe, 2B, Univ. of Maryland, 3rd-year Soph.

Lowe was a big part of the Terps success this season, but he suffered a broken fibula in the final game of the season. As a third-year sophomore he was draft eligible, but may decide to return to school. Either way, his injury will apparently keep him off the diamond this summer.

Fourth round

Brandon Koch, RHP, Dallas Baptist Univ., Jr.

Koch was one of five closers nominated for the Stopper of the Year award. He went 3-2 with 14 saves in 26 appearances this spring and he’s striking out 15.91 batters per nine innings. If he signs, Koch could certainly be part of the Renegades relief corps.

Fifth round

Joe McCarthy, OF, BL/TL, Univ. of Virginia, Jr.

A Scranton, Pa. product, McCarthy would be a quick trip away on I-84 should be get assigned to the Renegades this summer. It might be a while before McCarthy gets here, as the Cavaliers are still alive in the College World Series after dispatching Maryland in the Super Regional. Through today, McCarthy was hitting .225 through 26 games, all of which were starts. He does walk more than he strikes out (20 BBs to 15 Ks) and he was a first team All-ACC selection as a sophomore. McCarthy missed the first 35 games of the season after undergoing offseason back surgery.

Sixth round

Benton Moss, RHP, Univ. North Carolina, Sr.

Moss was a 15th round pick of the Giants in last year’s draft, but he opted to go back to college. He was a first team All-Academic honoree this season, which probably explains his choice. He went 7-1 with a 3.44 ERA in 13 appearances this season and ranks second in UNC history in strikeouts and fifth in innings pitched. He’s only pitched 68 innings so far in 2015, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him in the Renegades’ starting rotation this summer.

Seventh round

Jake Croneworth, 2B, BL/TR, Univ. Michigan, Jr.

Croneworth has started every game in his college career, which also involved some time on the mound. He hit .338 over 64 games this season with 18 doubles and six home runs. He’s another player who drew more walks than strikeouts. He could be Hudson Valley’s starting second baseman (or a utility guy) this summer.

Eighth round

Reece Karalus, RHP, Santa Clara Univ., Jr.

Mostly a reliever – he did make five starts this season – Karalus went 3-6 with a 2.82 ERA and nine saves for Santa Clara this spring. He struck out 68 against 10 walks over 60 2/3 innings pitched.

Ninth round

Danny De La Calle, C, BR/TR, Florida State, Sr.

A college senior, De La Calle should be an easy sign and could get most of the at-bats as Hudson Valley’s catcher. He played previously at Miami-Dade College and played for the Brewster Whitecaps in the Cape Cod League last summer.

Tenth round

Sam Triece, RHP, Washington State Univ., Sr.

A senior reliever, Triece should be part of the Renegades bullpen this year. He went 5-0 with a 2.66 ERA in 31 appearances this season, three of which were starts. In 50 2/3 innings, he allowed 41 hits, struck out 59 and walked 25.

Eleventh round

Ian Gibaut, RHP, Tulane Univ., Jr.

Another college reliever with a solid strikeout-to-walk ratio, Gibaut had nine saves for the Green Wave this spring. He struck out 51 against 23 walks over 46 1.3 innings.

Twelfth round

David Olmedo-Barrera, OF, BL/TR, Cal State-Fullerton, Jr.

Olmedo-Barrera was a 40th round pick of the Oakland A’s following his senior year of high school, but he opted to go to college. He hit .328 with eight doubles, 10 homers and 45 RBI in 58 games this spring.

Thirteenth round

Nicholas Padilla, RHP, Grayson County (Tx.) College, Fr.

A Bronx native, Padilla joined one of the premier junior college programs out of high school. According to the NJCAA website, he went 1-1 over 23 2/3 innings this spring with 18 strikeouts and an 1.90 ERA (those stats could be missing some games, however). He could sign…or he could wind up at a Div. I school in the future.

Fourteenth round

Tyler Brashears, RHP, Univ. Hawaii, Jr.

The Rainbow Warriors’ No. 1 starter this season, Brashears went 8-5 with a 1.86 ERA with 68 strikeouts and 19 walks over 101 2/3 innings this season. He could go back to school but if he signs, look for him to come out of the bullpen as the Rays’ organization is typically pretty cautious about innings with young pitchers.

Fifteenth round

Ethan Clark, RHP, Crowder (Mo.) College, Soph.

Clark went 5-2 with a 4.04 ERA and 62 strikeouts in 62 1/3 junior college innings this spring. Another guy who could go pro or stick around in college ball with a Div. I team next year.

Seventeenth round

Brett Sullivan, SS, BL/TR, Univ. of the Pacific, Jr.

Sullivan hit .275 with seven home runs and 28 RBI in 47 games for the Tigers this year. He played for the Bourne Braves of the Cape Cod League last summer, so he’d fit right in talent-wise in the New York-Penn League. His older brother Tyler Sullivan was picked by the White Sox in the 14th round.

Eighteenth round

Landon Cray, OF, BL/TR, Seattle Univ., Jr.

A Washington State native, Cray’s uncle was longtime MLB first baseman Paul Sorrento, who ended his career with Tampa Bay. Cray hit .324 with 30 RBI and 40 runs scored in 50 games.

Nineteenth round

Porter Clayton, LHP, Dixie (Utah) State, Jr.

Clayton had previously pitched at the Univ. of Oregon, but transferred to Dixie State for his junior year. He didn’t play in 2012 or 2013 while he served a mission with the Church of Latter Day Saints. He was 5-5 with a 5.20 ERA in 15 starts this year, striking out 60, walking 36 and giving up 69 hits over 71 innings pitched. Clayton could be part of the Renegades’ rotation should he choose to sign.

Twenty-first round

Matt Dacey, 3B, BL/TR, Univ. of Richmond, Jr.

A North Jersey native, Dacey played high school ball at Don Bosco before redshirting his freshman year at Michigan. He hit .313 with 17 home runs and 52 RBI for the Spiders. Will he sign or does he hope the power comes back his senior year and he’s drafted higher in 2016?

Twenty-third round

Reign Letkeman, RHP, Big Bend (Wa.) CC, Soph.

An Alberta native, Letkeman went 7-4 with a 1.59 ERA this past season.

Twenty-sixth round

Noel Rodriguez, RHP, Paradise Valley (Az.) CC, Soph.

In 76 2/3 innings this year, Rodriguez went 7-2 with a 3.64 ERA, striking out 82 and giving up 74 hits. He is a Colorado Mesa University commit, but could always sign and wind up in Hudson Valley this summer.

Thirtieth round

Kyle Teaf, SS, BL/TR, Univ. of South Florida, Sr.

Teaf started nearly every game at shortstop over the past four seasons at South Florida. This spring, he hit .301 with eight doubles and six triples. He never hit for much power in college but is yet another guy who projects as a solid defender and someone who has a good eye at the plate.

Thirty-first round

Timothy Ingram, RHP, SUNY Old Westbury, Sr.

Ingram was the 2015 Skyline Conference pitcher of the year. He had won the award in 2014 as well. Ingram went 8-3 with a 1.82 ERA, striking out 92 and walking 20 over 69 1/3 innings. He looks like a candidate for the Renegades, although there’s a big gap between the NY-PL and the Skyline Conference.

Thirty-second round

Ty Jackson, RHP, Lewis-Clark (Id.) State, redshirt Jr.

A dual threat at Lewis-Clark, Jackson went 8-1 with a 1.76 ERA this year and also hit .322 with nine home runs and 54 RBI. Lewis-Clark won the NAIA championship this year, the 17th in school history. He has some college eligibility left, so he might not sign.

Thirty-third round

Collin Chapman, RHP, Lamar Univ., redshirt Jr.

Another redshirt junior, Chapman only made nine appearances this year, five of which were starts. He’s had some injury problems earlier in his college career.

Thirty-fifth round

Blake Butera, 2B, BR/TR, Boston College, Sr.

A team captain at BC, Butera is a Louisiana native who holds school records in at-bats (774) and walks (112). He’s another good defense, solid eye, not much power middle infielder in the Rays’ system.

Thirty-sixth round

Bryan Bonnell, RHP, Univ. Nevada-Las Vegas, Jr.

Played for Yarmouth-Dennis in the Cape Cod League last summer, so the talent is there despite his 1-5 record and 7.39 ERA this past season at UNLV. He gave up 47 hits in 28 innings in college this year.

Thirty-seventh round

Kewby Meyer, OF, BL/TL, Univ. of Nevada, Sr.

A Hawaii native, Meyer finished his college career ranked second in career doubles (69) and fourth in hits (273) for the Wolfpack. He ended his career as the active NCAA leader in doubles. Signing shouldn’t be a problem and his experience makes him a near-lock for a spot in the Renegades’ outfield this season.

Thirty eighth round

Steven Sensley, 1B, BL/TL, Louisiana State-Eunice, redshirt Fr.

Sensley hit .374 with 21 home runs and 80 RBI (!) in 57 games for Eunice, the NJCAA Div. II national champion, this past season. He’s got another year of JUCO eligibility left, so does he go back to school to try to move up in the draft and get a bigger bonus in 2016 or is he ready for the pros?

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Tanaka on the shelf for at least one month

New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers, Thursday, April 23, 2015, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Well, this was inevitable.

The Yankees placed starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka on the disabled list Tuesday night with a sore right wrist/forearm. He’ll be shut down entirely for about 10 days, at which point the club will take another look. The hope is that this period of rest will allow Tanaka to return to the big leagues by the end of May.

Or it might be the precursor to Tommy John surgery for the Yankees’ high-priced ace.

In July of 2014, a small tear in Tanaka’s ulnar collateral ligament was discovered. He sat out most of July, all of August and returned to make two starts late in September. Rather than go for Tommy John surgery and get back to 100 percent that way, Tanaka has tried to pitch through the elbow injury.

Until now.

Who knows what will happen. Perhaps this time off will allow Tanaka to survive the rest of the season. Maybe he decides to go for TJ surgery after all.

Either way, his absence certainly puts a dent in the Yankees’ playoff chances for 2015. Tanaka didn’t look great in his first two starts, giving up five runs over four innings on opening day and and four runs over five in his second start, a game the Yankees won, 14-4.

But he’d been sharp in his last two outings, looking dominant in an April 18 start at Tampa Bay and taking a no-decision in a game the Yankees would ultimately win 2-1 in Detroit on April 23.

Without Tanaka, the Yankees turn to an over-the-hill CC Sabathia, the young and enigmatic duo of Michael Pineda and Nathan Eovaldi and the Scranton/bullpen mix-and-match crew of Chase Whitley, Adam Warren, Esmil Rogers and Chris Capuano. For a team that’s struggling to score runs and play consistent defense, losing an ace hurts deeply.

If there is any good news here, it’s that the Yankees’ training staff is acting cautiously. Hopefully they make the right decision when the time comes, giving Tanaka an opportunity to be healthy and effective whether it’s next month or after the 2016 All-Star game.

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    Will Montgomery

    Will Montgomery covers boys' soccer, girls' basketball, boys' and girls' swimming and diving, boys' lacrosse and baseball (including the Hudson Valley Renegades) for Varsity845.com and the Times Herald-Record. Prior to joining the TH-R in November ... Read Full
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