Aaron Gleeman

Baseball Daily Dose

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Heyward Hits The DL

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Jason Heyward hit just .172 with one homer and 33 strikeouts over the past 25 games while playing through a thumb injury, so the Braves finally shut him down Monday night and placed the stud rookie on the disabled list with what has now been diagnosed as a deep bone bruise. Matt Diaz is ready to return from a thumb injury of his own, so he's expected to take Heyward's roster spot and most of his playing time.

Diaz hit just .178 in 26 games before undergoing surgery, but batted .313/.390/.488 in 125 games last season and has a .303/.351/.448 career line. He hasn't played since mid-May, but the Braves felt good enough about his recovery that Diaz was slated to return following just three rehab games even before Heyward was put on the shelf. Assuming he's healthy Diaz is a must-grab in NL-only leagues.

As for Heyward, don't let the injury convince you that he's anything but a Hall of Fame talent. At age 20 he batted .301/.421/.596 with 10 homers, 23 extra-base hits, and 29 walks through 46 games and even after the month-long slump dragged down his overall season line to .251/.366/.455 his current .821 OPS would be the 14th-highest ever for a 20-year-old, sandwiched in between Willie Mays (.828) and Rogers Hornsby (.814).

While the Braves hope some time off will keep Heyward's injury from lingering all season, here are some other notes from around baseball ...

* Monday provided mostly good news for the Red Sox's various injuries. Dustin Pedroia is expected to avoid surgery and won't need a pin inserted into his fractured foot, which means he could be back in 4-6 weeks. Victor Martinez is also expected to avoid surgery on his fractured thumb, but it sounds like he won't be able to stay off the disabled list as initially hoped. However, he could return shortly after the All-Star break.

On the pitching side, Clay Buchholz has been diagnosed with a "minor hamstring tear" after initial reports deemed the injury a hyper-extended knee. Whatever the case, he sounded hopeful about staying off the DL and perhaps even making his next scheduled start, although the Red Sox may opt to play it safe by skipping Buchholz in the rotation one time. With all three injuries, things could have been a whole lot worse.

Jason Varitek will turn back the clock and take over as the primary catcher with Martinez sidelined after hitting .258/.328/.562 with seven homers and six doubles in just 98 plate appearances as a little-used backup. Bill Hall and the newly acquired Eric Patterson are expected to split time at second base in place of Pedroia, with the speedy Patterson being worth a pickup in AL-only leagues.

* After a loss and a no-decision despite allowing one run in each of his previous two starts Stephen Strasburg's teammates let him down again Monday, as the lineup failed to score a run in seven innings, Ian Desmond booted a double play that at least would have kept the score 0-0, and Sean Burnett allowed both inherited runners to score after coming on in relief. Don't let the box score fool you. He was good. His teammates stunk.

AL Quick Hits: Joel Zumaya suffered a gruesome-looking arm injury Monday, falling to the ground and literally trembling in pain after delivering a pitch ... Designated for assignment over the weekend, Garrett Atkins is willing to go Triple-A for a new team but not to remain with the Orioles ... Colby Lewis will get two extra days off before his next start, with the Rangers calling up Omar Beltre to pitch Wednesday ... Magglio Ordonez (ribs) was scratched from the lineup Monday for the second straight game ... J.J. Hardy (wrist) is aiming to begin a brief rehab assignment Wednesday ... Kansas City is reportedly "really pushing to move" Jose Guillen ... Brett Gardner is day-to-day after X-rays on his injured wrist came back negative ... Bobby Jenks is expected to return from the family medical emergency list later this week ... For random thoughts and links throughout the day, follow me on Twitter.

NL Quick Hits: Chase Utley will undergo an MRI exam after leaving Monday's game with a hand injury ... Jair Jurrjens (hamstring) has been cleared to come off the disabled list Wednesday for his first start since April, with Kenshin Kawakami moving to the bullpen ... Matt Kemp was a healthy scratch Monday for the second straight game ... Todd Helton left Monday's game with back spasms, which he's struggled with in the past ... Jonathan Broxton will be unavailable until at least Wednesday after being overworked by Joe Torre ... Placido Polanco said Monday that he may need offseason elbow surgery ... R.A. Dickey took his first loss Monday, allowing five runs in five innings ... Neil Walker (concussion) left the team Monday and traveled back to Pittsburgh to be examined by doctors ... Brad Hawpe (ribs) was out of the lineup Monday for the third straight game, with Ryan Spilborghs starting in his place ... Oliver Perez (knee) could be cleared to begin a rehab assignment later this week, which would start the 30-day clock on his Mets return ... The next 300-game winner may come a lot sooner (and be a lot older) than you think.


Aaron Gleeman is Rotoworld's senior baseball editor and contributes to NBCSports.com's Hardball Talk blog. Also find him at AaronGleeman.com and on Twitter.
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