Cubs prospect RHP Pierce Johnson allowed two runs on five hits in six innings Tuesday for Double-A Tennessee, striking out eight batters.
Though he also walked three batters in the outing, Johnson has now struck out eight in back-to-back starts. The 22-year-old has been rolling since coming off the disabled list earlier this month, as he’s registered a 1.87 ERA and 35-16 strikeout-to-walk ratio over his last six starts. However, even though the right-hander’s 2.90 ERA and 65 strikeouts in 71 1/3 innings looks good on paper, it’s hard to overlook the fact he’s also walked 43 batters during that span. Johnson has the potential to be a solid back-end starter in the major leagues, but he’ll need to improve both his control and command before getting a crack at the highest level.
Chad Jennings of the LoHud Yankees Blog was told that the Yankees' interest in Ian Kennedy was "medium."
Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com reported last week that the Yankees were "not being aggressive" in their pursuit of Kennedy. There's also been a feeling that the Padres might prefer to hang on to Kennedy, who is under team control next season. Kennedy is currently out with an oblique injury but is expected to rejoin the rotation on Saturday.
Mike Puma of the New York Post reports that the Mets don't expect to trade Bartolo Colon prior to Thursday's deadline.
Puma says the Mets aren't willing to eat any of the $13 million owed to Colon, which conflicts with what Andy Martino of the New York Daily News reported last week (he said they'd be willing to eat $2 million). CBS Sports' Jon Heyman noted Tuesday that there "doesn't appear to be a great market" for Colon. The Royals, Blue Jays, Cardinals, Pirates and Braves have been connected to the righty.
Pedro Alvarez is not in the Pirates' lineup Wednesday for the second straight game.
Alvarez is over his left knee ailment, but the struggling third baseman has now been benched two days in a row versus a righty. The 27-year-old is batting just .224/.308/.362 this month and has had major issues with his throwing. Josh Harrison is at the hot corner Wednesday.
Athletics manager Bob Melvin has ruled Coco Crisp (neck) out through Friday.
Crisp will receive treatment on his ailing neck when the A's return home Friday and will not play that night. It's totally up in the air at this point as to when he'll rejoin the lineup, but Oakland is optimistic that he'll avoid a stint on the disabled list.
Padres prospect C Austin Hedges went 2-for-5 with a home run, double and two RBI on Tuesday for Double-A San Antonio.
Hedges is having his worst month of the season, with a .202/.227/.286 batting line in 23 games, so his pair of extra-base hits Tuesday was definitely a step in the right direction. In general, it's been a rough season for the 21-year-old backstop, as he's struggled to the tune of a .236/.279/.356 batting line with 27 extra-base hits (six home runs) and a 68-18 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 92 games. However, Hedges' poor showing this season isn't surprising given his age and the advanced pitching in the Texas League. That said, Hedges has continued to excel behind the plate, where he's committed only four passed balls and thrown out base stealers at a 39% clip.
Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports that the Marlins are "not completely" out of the Jon Lester sweepstakes.
Rodriguez says the Marlins will not trade Andrew Heaney for Lester, but it sounds like they might be willing to consider just about anyone else in their system. For what it's worth, president of baseball operations Michael Hill said the club is "not going to be short-sighted" in any deals.
Athletics prospect 3B Renato Nunez went 1-for-3 with a home run and two RBI on Tuesday for High-A Stockton.
Nunez has been crushing the ball since the beginning of June, with a .328/.396/.683 batting line, 17 home runs, 12 doubles and 49 RBI in 47 games. On the season, the 20-year-old has posted a .905 OPS with 26 homers, 23 doubles and 75 RBI in 95 games at Stockton. Though his power profiles nicely at the hot corner, Nunez's swing-and-miss tendencies, highlighted by an 81-29 strikeout-to-walk ratio this season, could lead to struggles against more advanced pitching once he's promoted to Double-A.