Matt Stroup

Baseball Daily Dose

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Holliday Clearance

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Four highly encouraging words uttered with regard to Matt Holliday's recovery from an appendectomy on Tuesday: cleared for baseball activities.

Though this doesn't establish a clear timetable for his return, it does make certain that he won't need a trip to the DL, and leaves open the possibility that he could be back as soon as this weekend against the Giants. And even if this weekend proves overly optimistic (a distinct possibility), Holliday clearly isn't far from a return, an outstanding development considering that early reports suggested that he could potentially miss a month or more.

  • Angels manager Mike Scioscia has removed the struggling Fernando Rodney (13.50 ERA, 4.50 WHIP through two games) from the closer's role, and his replacement, Jordan Walden, immediately picked up a save Tuesday night. Scioscia has said that the change is temporary, but all signs point to Walden having a legit shot to secure the job. Off to a fast start (3.1 IP, 0.00 ERA, 0.60 WHIP, 6 K's) and with the profile to succeed as a closer long-term, Walden qualifies as an immediate must-add in virtually all formats.

  • Andrew Cashner left Tuesday's start early and was headed for an MRI on his right shoulder, with the results unknown as of late Tuesday night. Cashner looked strong in his season debut against the D'Backs (one run on two hits in 5.1 innings) and would be worth monitoring in deeper mixed leagues if deemed healthy, but that's obviously a big "if" considering the troublesome nature of shoulder injuries.

  • In a positive shoulder-related development, Mat Latos (shoulder) threw a 70-pitch simulated game on Monday and is on course to make his season debut against the Reds next week.

  • Kendrys Morales (ankle, foot) took BP and completed a fielding drill on Tuesday, reporting no discomfort. The L.A. Times reports that Morales is expected to do some straight-line running later this week, which would mark another positive step in his recovery. The Angels haven't updated his timetable, but their previous update about a week ago had Morales returning sometime around April 21.

  • Mike Stanton (hamstring) underwent an MRI which revealed a mild strain before appearing as a pinch-hitter in Tuesday's game. Stanton is hoping to return to the lineup on Friday, which seems overly optimistic given that he's reportedly only running at "60-65 percent."

  • Danny Espinosa is expected to hit leadoff on Wednesday, with Ian Desmond moving to seventh. Jim Riggleman has announced a plan to alternate between the two until one of them claims the leadoff job outright. Given Desmond's lack of patience at the plate, Espinosa looks like the more likely candidate to remain at the top of the order.

  • A number of notable season pitching debuts took place on Tuesday. Here's a look at the pitchers' lines:

    Jhoulys Chacin: 7.0 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 K's – Should already be owned in most mixed leagues.

    Alexi Ogando: 6.0 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 K's – Worth a close look in mixed leagues (though he did leave early with a blister).

    Michael Pineda: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 4 K's – Out-pitched by Ogando, but worth considering in most mixed leagues due to high upside.

    Aaron Harang: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K's – The least exciting name on this list, but could bounce back nicely pitching for San Diego.

    Madison Bumgarner—3.0 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 2 K's – Don't panic.

    Cole Hamels – 2.2 IP, 7 H, 6 ER, 2 BB, 3 K's – Ditto.

    NL Quick Hits (pitchers): Brian Wilson (oblique) appears likely to be activated on Wednesday… Ubaldo Jimenez (thumb) reportedly could have his start pushed back to Saturday… Yovani Gallardo spun a two-hit shutout against the Braves to trump six strong innings from Derek LoweHomer Bailey (shoulder) threw long toss on Tuesday and could begin a minor league rehab stint on April 14… Meanwhile, teammate Johnny Cueto (triceps) threw 37 pitches in a simulated game and is expected to throw two innings in a minor league game this week, putting him on track to return before the end of April.

    NL Quick Hits (position players): Chase Utley (knee) is reportedly not close to jogging, and there remains no clear timetable for his return… Nyjer Morgan got the start in place of a struggling Carlos Gomez and went 3-for-4… Carlos Pena (thumb) is hoping to return on Wednesday… Jason Bay (ribcage) is expected to begin swinging a bat this week, but doesn't appear likely to be ready when eligible on Saturday… Casey Blake (back) is expected to be activated on Wednesday.

    AL Quick Hits (pitchers): Josh Beckett told the Boston Globe that his struggles last season were related to "physical issues," then struggled through five innings on Tuesday (five hits, four walks, three earned runs)… Fill-in A's closer Brian Fuentes (blister) wasn't available Tuesday, but could be back as early as Wednesday… Meanwhile, injured A's closer Andrew Bailey (forearm) threw a successful long toss session and appears to be on course for a potential return in mid-April… Set up by two scoreless innings from Matt Capps, Joe Nathan recorded his second save with a perfect 10th inning against the Yankees… Jered Weaver moved to 2-0 with a 0.69 ERA after throwing 6 2/3 innings of one-run ball against the Rays… Blue Jays closer Frank Francisco (pectoral) is slated for at least three minor league rehab appearances before his return… Jeremy Guthrie (pneumonia) was to remain hospitalized on Tuesday and may be sidelined another week… Justin Verlander (food poisoning) is expected to start Wednesday.

    AL Quick Hits (position players): Jose Bautista is away from the Jays until Friday due to the birth of his daughter… Alex Gordon went 3-for-5 with two doubles and a homer, making him 7-for-11 in his last two games after starting out 2-for-13… Erick Aybar (side) isn't expected to play Wednesday… Johnny Damon (calf) returned after missing Sunday's game and picked up his first steal of the season... Yunel Escobar's first homer of the year was a walk-off shot against the A's… Franklin Gutierrez (stomach) could be ready to appear in a minor league game by the end of the week, putting him on course for a potential mid-April return… Scott Podsednik (foot) is reportedly about two weeks from playing… Michael Young made his first career start at first base, going 1-for-3 with an RBI.

  • Matt Stroup covers basketball, baseball and football for You can find him on Twitter here .
    Email :Matt Stroup

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