Decline in non-US players
The percentage of Major League Baseball (MLB) players born outside the US declined slightly for the second straight season. The MLB commissioner’s office on Tuesday said that 223 players among the 853 on opening-day squads and inactive lists were born outside the 50 states. At 26.1 percent, the share is down from 28.2 percent last year and 28.4 percent in 2012. Players come from 16 countries and territories, the most since 2008. The Dominican Republic has topped the list each year since MLB began tracking in 2005, but its 82 players are down from a high of 99 in 2007. Venezuela was next with 59, followed by Cuba, which set a high with 19 — four more than its previous high mark, set last year. Puerto Rico had 11, followed by Canada (10), Japan and Mexico (nine), Curacao (five), Colombia and Panama (four), Nicaragua (three) and Australia and South Korea (two).
Parnell tears ligament
New York Mets closer Bobby Parnell may need surgery after tests revealed a partial tear of the medial collateral ligament in his pitching elbow, the National League team said on Tuesday. Parnell complained of tightness in his right forearm after Monday’s opening day game against the visiting Washington Nationals, in which he allowed a run to blow a save in the ninth inning of a 10-inning, 9-7 loss at Citi Field. The Meta are already without starting pitcher Matt Harvey, who is recovering from surgery to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow suffered late last season. Hoping Parnell can avoid surgery, the right-hander was injected with platelet-rich plasma and will rest for about two weeks before beginning a throwing program that will determine whether an operation is necessary. Parnell saved 22 games in 26 chances last season with a 2.16 earned run average. Former Detroit Tigers closer Jose Valverde was expected to take over as primary closer while Parnell is sidelined.
Rangers ace pitcher Yu Darvish of Japan has thrown an 86-pitch bullpen training session and could return to the team in the next week. Texas pitching coach Mike Maddux says the right-hander looked very good during what amounted to four innings of simulated work at the Rangers’ home ballpark Tuesday. Maddux says the next step is to see how Darvish recovers. He missed the opening-day start after coming up with a stiff neck about two weeks ago in spring training. Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said Monday that Darvish could return without making a rehabilitation start. He is eligible to come off the disabled list on Saturday.
Redskins, Jackson sign deal
Recently released Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson has agreed terms with the Washington Redskins, it was announced on Tuesday. Jackson, an electrifying playmaker, was cut loose by the Eagles last week amid concerns about his attitude and off-field activity. The NFC East rival Redskins did not take long to lure him and will add him to an offense that features quarterback Robert Griffin III and NFL receptions leader Pierre Garcon. Jackson reacted to the news by tweeting: “Its goin down!! Burgundy & Gold.” Terms of Jackson’s contract have yet to be disclosed, according to the NFL’s Web site. The 27-year-old Jackson is coming off a career-best season that saw him catch 82 passes for 1,332 yards and nine touchdowns.