D.J. Short

Baseball Daily Dose

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Setback For Phil Hughes

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Phil Hughes continues to be a mystery.

The Yankees placed Hughes on the disabled list with arm fatigue earlier this month after he showed diminished velocity over his first three starts of the season. The 24-year-old right-hander was put on a strengthening program for about 10 days, so the Yankees were hoping to see some real progress during a bullpen session on Monday. It didn't happen.

Hughes cut the bullpen session short because his arm felt too dead to continue. There was talk of sending him out on a minor league rehab assignment this week, but those plans have been shelved indefinitely. Doctors haven't found any physical problems with Hughes until now, but Yankees manager Joe Girardi told reporters that they are sending him for an MRI on Tuesday "just to see what's going on."

Hughes will likely remain sidelined for at least the next few weeks, even if everything checks out fine on Tuesday, so fantasy owners will need to ask themselves how long they are willing to wait. This is obviously an easier question to answer depending upon how many DL spots are in your league, but don't let him waste a precious bench spot in standard mixed leagues. He's no lock to contribute anytime soon.

- And now we move from someone who was selected 23rd overall in 2004 to the No. 3 overall pick. Phil Humber, a former Mets farmhand, pitched a doozy of a game Monday night against the Yankees. In his sixth career start, the 28-year-old right-hander allowed one hit and two walks over seven shutout innings. He didn't allow his first hit until Alex Rodriguez singled up the middle with one out in the seventh inning.

Humber has been respectable as a fill-in for Jake Peavy in the back of Chicago's rotation, going at least five innings in all four of his starts and allowing two earned runs or less in three of them. Peavy had a setback last week and is still at least a couple of weeks away, so go ahead and give the former top prospect a chance in AL-only leagues. Just don't look for any miracles.

- Perhaps the most interesting angle of Monday's White Sox-Yankees game, at least from a fantasy baseball perspective, was after Humber had left the game. Sergio Santos was called upon for a four-out save, which included one strikeout and a crucial double play grounder by Mark Teixeira.

Santos has not allowed a run over his first 11 innings this season, so he certainly looks like the most trustworthy option in the bullpen at the moment. Ozzie Guillen wasn't exactly ready to name him the permanent closer following the game, but plans to at least give him the next opportunity. And that's your cue to pick him up in all formats.

This isn't to say that Santos is perfect. While he sits in the mid-90s with his fastball and has a nasty slider to boot, he has averaged 4.55 BB/9 over his first 64 major league appearances. There could be some bumps in the road. I wouldn't be surprised to see Chris Sale or Matt Thornton jump back into the mix before the season is through, but it's hard to blame Guillen for riding the hot hand.

- Jered Weaver is on a different stratosphere right now. He threw his sixth career complete game shutout (and second in a row) Monday night against the Athletics, improving to 6-0 with a microscopic 0.99 ERA over his first six starts. Weaver is the sixth pitcher since 1900 to have six wins before the end of April, joining Vida Blue (1971), Dave Stewart (1988), Randy Johnson (2000, 2002) and Brandon Webb (2008).

Weaver was overlooked in some circles last season because he only won 13 games, but his early season success hasn't exactly come out of nowhere. He led the league with 233 strikeouts over 224 1/3 innings, a massive and surprising jump from his previous career numbers. The 28-year-old right-hander has evolved into a true fantasy ace.

National League Quick Hits: Andre Ethier extended his career-best hitting streak to 22 games in Monday's loss to the Marlins … Albert Pujols remains day-to-day with a left hamstring injury … Ryan Braun hit his league-leading eighth home run in Monday's loss to the Reds … Ryan Zimmerman (abdominal strain) has been cleared to resume some baseball activities … Corey Hart (oblique) went 0-for-3 with a strikeout Monday in a minor league rehab game with Triple-A Nashville, but the Brewers haven't decided whether he will return from the disabled list Tuesday … Casey McGehee suffered a sprained left thumb on the final play of Monday's loss to the Reds and is scheduled to be reevaluated Tuesday … Jonathan Broxton blew his first save of the season in Monday's loss to the Marlins … Jose Contreras (elbow) is scheduled to undergo an MRI Tuesday … Logan Morrison had the cast removed from his sprained left foot Monday … Ian Kennedy struck out 10 in a complete game shutout Monday night and the Phillies … Chris Coghlan went 3-for-4 with a pair of homers Monday and is now batting .301 on the year … Starlin Castro committed three errors in one inning during Monday's game against the Rockies, which made a tough-luck loser out of Matt Garza, who is winless over his first five starts as a Cub … Ryan Ludwick homered twice in an extra-inning win over the Braves … Kosuke Fukudome had his first career five-hit game in Monday's loss to the Rockies … Homer Bailey (shoulder) is scheduled to make another minor league rehab start Saturday with Triple-A Louisville … The Diamondbacks placed Willie Bloomquist on the 15-day disabled list with a strained hamstring … Chris Iannetta (back) went 0-for-4 in his return to the lineup Monday … Clint Barmes (hand) went 1-for-2 with a walk Monday in his first minor league rehab game with Triple-A Oklahoma City and could return from the DL as soon as Friday … Brandon Wood started at third base in his Pirates' debut Monday and clubbed a two-run double … Takashi Saito (hamstring) threw 20 pitches in a bullpen session Monday and declared himself ready to go … Ronny Paulino went 1-for-4 and caught nine innings Monday in a minor league rehab game with Triple-A Buffalo … The Dodgers activated Dioner Navarro from the disabled list and sent A.J. Ellis to Triple-A Albuquerque … Last year's No. 2 pick Jameson Taillon will face No. 1 overall pick Bryce Harper on Wednesday when he makes his pro debut for the Pirates …

American League Quick Hits: A.J. Burnett tossed eight innings of one-run ball Monday in a tough-luck loss to the White Sox … Jose Bautista homered and walked twice in Monday's win over the Rangers and is now batting .364 (24-for-66) with eight homers and a .521 on-base percentage this season … Angels manager Mike Scioscia said Monday that Kendrys Morales (ankle, foot) is having problems getting "full explosion" when he runs … Adam Dunn and Alex Rios snapped hitless streaks (0-for-13 and 0-for-22, respectively) Monday against the Yankees … Kyle Drabek yielded three runs over six innings in Monday's win over the Rangers and now has a 3.30 ERA and 21/17 K/BB ratio through five starts … Josh Willingham left Monday's game against the Athletics in the sixth inning with back stiffness … Rajai Davis left a minor league rehab game with Double-A New Hampshire on Monday after being hit in the left wrist by a pitch, but is expected to be OK … Corey Patterson, Davis' primary replacement in center field, went 2-for-4 with a homer and three RBI in Monday's win over the Rangers … The Mariners activated Justin Smoak from the bereavement list Monday … David Aardsma (hip) is set to make his fourth minor league rehab appearance with Triple-A Tacoma on Tuesday … Tsuyoshi Nishioka (leg) played long toss Monday morning at Target Field … Joel Pineiro (shoulder) allowed three unearned runs over 5 2/3 innings Monday in his latest minor league rehab assignment with High-A Inland Empire and could be activated from the disabled list Monday… Brandon Webb (shoulder) tossed two scoreless innings Monday in an extended spring training game … The Indians are expected to provide an update on Carlos Carrasco (elbow) on Tuesday … The Athletics activated Michael Wuertz from the 15-day disabled list … Yankees prospect catcher Jesus Montero is being sent for an MRI of his groin area … Tommy Hunter (groin) threw between 40-45 pitches in live batting practice Monday … Alexi Amarista was called up from Triple-A Salt Lake to give the Angels another option while Maicer Izturis recovers from a hamstring injury … Darren O'Day was unavailable over the weekend due to left hip stiffness …


D.J. Short is a Rotoworld baseball editor and contributes to NBCSports.com's Hardball Talk blog. You can also find him on Twitter.
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