is certainly doing his best to add some fodder to the "baseball players aren't tough" argument. He was taken off the field on a stretcher on Tuesday night after having his bell rung by Chase Utley
during a collision at the plate. At the time, the injury certainly seemed serious, but X-rays and an MRI revealed that he suffered no more than a sprain. The Venezuelan clearly has been watching too much soccer.
Of course, if that means he lands himself a WAG like, say… Cheryl Cole
, then more power to him. Here's what else is happening in baseball:
* Carlos Zambrano
's "sore arm" was covered in this space yesterday, but of equal concern for the Cubs is the status of Rich Harden
. Like Zambrano, Harden is downplaying his ailment, saying it's just some arm discomfort, but the team will still give him 11 days before his next start. Since this is Rich Harden
we're talking about, there's plenty of reason to be concerned. He pitched an average of just 36 innings the previous two seasons thanks to a plethora of somewhat mysterious arm injures, and it appears Cubs fans might be in for the same frustration A's fans have suffered through.
* Zambrano, meanwhile, skipped his MRI on Wednesday for undisclosed reasons. Team doctors examined him, but the Cubs aren't revealing anything about what's causing him to skip his start on Sunday. Chicago's solid postseason pitching staff is suddenly looking dangerously close to being thin.
* And in our final piece of Cubs-related news, Randy Wolf
shut out Chicago to pick up his ninth win of the season on Wednesday. He has gone 3-1 with a 3.80 ERA since joining the Astros just prior to the deadline, but the only impact he's had on the NL Central race is beating the Cubs and getting hammered by Milwaukee. He's not a reliable option in fantasy leagues despite the solid start.
* Hank Steinbrenner has basically tampered with A.J. Burnett
on behalf of the Yankees, publicly saying that the team was interested in the righty. FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal says that rival executives are also saying the Red Sox will pursue him heavily. Burnett can opt out of his contract after this season, and it seems like it's only a matter of time.
* Perhaps appropriately, the first use of MLB's new instant replay was used to uphold an Alex Rodriguez
home run. Rodriguez blasted a ball off the catwalk behind the foul pole in Tampa Bay, and after a two minute, 15 second delay, the umpiring crew ruled that the initial ruling of a home run stood. Ironically, a wrong call on an A-Rod homer earlier this season was one of the major rallying cries for the use of instant replay.
* One National who has actually been playing some solid baseball (unlike Jesus Flores
) is Cristian Guzman
: the shortstop has tallied multi-hit games in eight straight appearances, and Washington hasn't lost a game that he's played in during his streak. He's now hitting .311, but his 765 OPS is indicative of lack of fantasy appeal.
* Freddy Garcia
threw 52 pitches in a simulated game Tuesday, and was reportedly clocked in the mid-80s. Tigers manager Jim Leyland isn't concerned, saying Detroit would be "wasting our time" if they expected to see him throw 90 mph. Of course, the Tigers signed the pending free agent to a minor league deal, are working to help rehab him, and will maybe get him back in time for a late season push at .500. So yeah, seems like they're wasting their time regardless of his velocity.
* Ryan Howard
homered twice on Wednesday, giving him 39 dingers on the season, which is good for best in the majors. He's still managed just a 827 OPS, though. Of the 30 players who have hit 25 or more home runs this season, only Mike Jacobs
and Miguel Cabrera
have a lower OPS.
* Chris Dickerson
has come out of the gates with a bang for Cincinnati: he's hitting .329 with six homers and five stolen bases in just 75 at-bats for the Reds. Before buying into the hype, remember that Dickerson hit just .258 with 57 homers in 2154 minor league at-bats. He did managed 23 bombs in 655 at-bats after joining Triple-A, but his current pace at the plate is unsustainable. That being said, Dickerson managed 46 steals at Triple-A, so he should be a decent source of speed over the last month of the season. AL Quick Hits
: Mike Lowell
expects to come off the disabled list on Friday … Evan Longoria
could return as soon as this weekend … Jim Johnson
will undergo an MRI Friday, and his injury could hasten George Sherrill
's return from the DL … Mike Sweeney
is leaning toward playing next season … Frank Thomas
is out for the rest of the season with his quad injuryNL Quick Hits
: Jaime Garcia
could undergo ligament replacement surgery and miss all of next season … Billy Wagner
could return to the Mets as soon as Tuesday … Eric Byrnes
finally admitted that his season is likely over … Mark Reynolds
struck out four times on Wednesday, giving him 178 on the season. He and Ryan Howard
will likely be the first players to ever reach 200 in one season … CC Sabathia
's appeal for a no-hitter was denied by MLB …