Eno Sarris

Baseball Daily Dose

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Posey Punished at the Plate

Thursday, May 26, 2011


If the risk with drafting young players is that they don't play to their upside, the risk with drafting old players is that they don't play at all. The doctor came calling for some of those veterans on Wednesday.

On the position player side of the ledger, the biggest news might be Buster Posey. He was leveled by Scott Cousins at the plate late in their extra-inning matchup and was carried from the field after he could not put weight on his left ankle. More news coming, but it didn't look good. Orlando Hudson just came back from the DL but came up lame on an infield single and might be headed back. Vernon Wells began agility drills but said he won't call himself ahead of schedule with respect to his groin injury rehab. The Angels will also make a decision about Howie Kendrick and his hamstring on Thursday. News in either direction would be helpful. Ian Stewart pulled his hamstring at Triple-A, literally adding injury to insult.

Jorge De La Rosa has finally looked healthy after his offseason forearm surgery, but during his last start he walked off the mound holding his elbow. Now he is in for Tommy John surgery. Makes one wonder about the effect of throwing so many non-fastballs, which stress your elbow more than straightforward four-seamers. Joe Blanton will be shut down for about a month with his elbow issues. It counts as good news that he survived a trip to Dr. James Andrews, but this passable-if-portly pitcher won't be taking the mound for a while. Rafael Soriano visited the same doctor and also will avoid surgery, but he might be out as much as two months. Amid trade rumors, Kevin Slowey went on the DL for an abdominal strain. Tough year.

It's not all bad news though. Geovany Soto is expected back this weekend from his groin injury, which is great news. Snap him up if he's on the wire. Joe Mauer also took three at-bats in the minor leagues - baby steps. The Athletics will decide Thursday whether or not their closer Andrew Bailey needs another rehab appearance for his forearm - the way things are going in the pen there they probably will call him up. Andre Ethier should be 100% by Friday says his manager, and teammate Casey Blake should be activated that same day or the next. Nyjer Morgan will also be back from his broken finger Friday, so the outfield is ready to get an infusion of healthy players. Adam Lind's back is feeling better and he wants to play in some extended spring training games this weekend. Reid Brignac is back in Tampa Bay but will share time with Sean Rodriguez at shortstop.

* That said, the excitement of youth is just too much to bear. Brandon Belt didn't have a great debut but is now hitting over .350 with power in Triple-A. Still, Bruce Bochy doesn't think that the team will call him up to replace Darren Ford, who is probably headed to the DL with an ankle injury. Why not call him up and insert him into the starting lineup? That offense needs help. Mike Stanton has a ton of power for his age, but he showed it on doubles instead of home runs Wednesday night when he went four-for-four with two doubles and four RBI in the Marlins' extra-inning win.

Everyone is always chasing young pitching, too, and the Rockies' Juan Nicasio, who will start on Sunday, has been showing great numbers in the minor leagues. He could stick with the big league team with the news about Jorge De La Rosa. Mat Latos was finally sharp this season and showed why he was so exciting by allowing just one run on six hits in eight innings against the Cardinals. He struck out seven and walked one and is definitely worth a buy low if you can swing it. Mike Minor has the strikeout punch, the control, and the left arm of an exciting prospect. He also struck out five in 5 2/3 against the Pirates and held his opponents to one run. He's useful even in re-draft leagues until Brandon Beachy returns. Ian Kennedy doesn't have the best strikeout stuff and is a fly-ball pitcher in a home-run park, but his control is solid enough to make the package work. He struck out three and walked two against the Rockies in eight one-run innings.

* The biggest bullpen news of the day might be that Francisco Rodriguez said he'd waive his prohibitive $17.5 million option if it spurred a trade. Of course, he said it would be in the context of renegotiating a long-term deal, so it still doesn't make a trade easy, but obviously the Mets will be motivated to complete a deal. Rodriguez is an upper-tier closer by talent, but there's risk there and a Jason Isringhausen handcuff might make sense. Matt Guerrier blew a save for the Dodgers, with Javy Guerra pitching the eighth inning. Guerra might get the next chance, unless exciting prospect Rubby De La Rosa steps in. De La Rosa struck out two Astros in his debut and looked dominant. In Philadelphia, Jose Contreras won't be activated Thursday, but it's only in order to give him another day of rest. He'll probably set up when he returns because of Ryan Madson's excellent performance so far. Kameron Loe got the save Wednesday for the Brewers, but only because John Axford had pitched in four of the past five days. Still interesting to know who's behind the occasionally wild, mustached man. Frank Francisco's manager said that the team could go with matchups from time to time. He's still the closer, but obviously he's on thin ice and Jon Rauch should be owned. Leo Nunez blew his first save of the year against the Giants. He's not dominant, but he's safe.

* Pitcher performances are probably pretty practical to recap. Alliteration! Zach Greinke hasn't gotten the ground balls he used to and has been unlucky on fly balls, but even with allowing one homer Wednesday, his season-high ten strikeouts (against one walk) were enough to dispatch the Nationals. Buy low if you can. C.J. Wilson gets enough ground balls to overcome his lower strikeout rate, and he struck out five in seven innings to hold the White Sox to one run in 5 1/3 Wednesday. That conversion seems to have worked. Gavin Floyd does it with great control for the most part, and he allowed one earned run over seven innings with five strikeouts and one walk in the loss against the Rangers. Chris Carpenter has been suffering with some poor luck. His two earned in eight innings with six strikeouts showed that he's still got it and could be a good buy-low. Aneury Rodriguez held the Dodgers to one run with five strikeouts in six innings but just doesn't have the strikeout ability to succeed night-in and night-out. Ted Lilly was fine, but he should have been against the Astros at home. He only struck out two and his velocity is still down.

National League Quick Hits: Chase Utley got the day off Wednesday as the team looks to keep him healthy … Raul Ibanez has been better of late, and his sacrifice fly in the 19th inning won the game late Wednesday night … After two hits and a stolen base against the Rockies, Kelly Johnson has now had two big games in a row … Seth Smith collected two hits and should be at least a bench bat in all leagues deeper than ten teams … Before the eventual loss, Aubrey Huff tied the game with a two-run single in the ninth off of closer Leo Nunez, but this still looks like an off year for the Giant … Mike Morse, getting more playing time because of Adam LaRoche's injury, hit a three-run home run off of Greinke and is interesting in deeper leagues … Steven Pearce hit his first home run of the season and is finally getting some playing time at the corners in Pittsburgh … Jason Hammel continued his good run with two unearned runs in seven innings with five strikeouts and two walks … He's better than Dillon Gee, who did get the win but only struck out four with two walks in six innings against the Cubs in a rain-shortened complete game … Juan Miranda (hand) could return Thursday … Andrew Cashner (shoulder) might come back as a reliever, says his GM … Takaishi Saito was transferred to the 60-day disabled list and is expected to miss a few more weeks … The hype is about Anthony Rizzo in San Diego's farm system but big Kyle Blanks is hitting over .300 with power in Double-A and in the major leagues Brad Hawpe just homered for the second straight day - he might even have something left … Hong-Chih Kuo (anxiety disorder) is throwing at 90 percent with no command problems … Brooks Conrad won the game for the Braves with a pinch-hit home run but doesn't play enough to be very useful … J.R. Towles delivered the winning hit for the Astros Wednesday but just doesn't hit enough line drives to be successful at the major league level … Juan Guttierez (shoulder) hit the DL … Brian Bogusevic was optioned back to Triple-A with Jeff Kepping returning to the utility infielder role … Nationals manager Jim Riggleman said the team will use fireballer Henry Rodriguez more in the future … Ian Snell (!) signed a minor league contract with the Dodgers … The Brewers claimed infielder Josh Wilson.

American League Quick Hits: Carl Crawford announced his return to glory with a home run, two doubles and a single in four at-bats Wednesday … Kevin Youkilis (hand) was a scratch against the Indians … Ben Zobrist is going the other way, with just one hit in his last 26 at-bats, but since it looks like his power has returned he's still an excellent second baseman in most leagues … Erik Bedard went six innings and gave up no runs and is worth rostering in most leagues while he's healthy … Ervin Santana has pitched better than his ERA and one run in six inning against Oakland counts as a good start … Jake Arrieta held the Royals to two runs in six innings with seven strikeouts and three walks, but his stuff doesn't scream front-of-rotation-starter … Luke Hochevar has more pitches with more movement, but the Orioles tagged him for seven earned on one strikeout and three walks in seven innings … Back from irritable bowel syndrome for a week, Franklin Gutierrez had his best game as he went two for three with a home run; he's interesting in deeper leagues … Chone Figgins still has mixed league upside, but his hitless night against the Twins dropped him to .202 and he's harder and harder to roster … Mark Reynolds hit a home run … He kept the Mariners to three runs in seven innings, but Brian Duensing is a marginal starter and the Mariners are a bad offense … Brandon League picked up his 12th save and is secure while he's in there if only because there's little else in that Seattle pen … Michael Cuddyer (hip) got his second straight day off but was available off the bench … Freddy Garcia gave up three in 6 1/3 against the Blue Jays and that seems about right for his true talent level … Elliot Johnson (knee) went on the DL … Don Kelly started at third base for the second straight day Wednesday as the Tigers try to find more offense … Phil Hughes was transferred to the 60-day DL but might come back in three weeks anyway since he's been out so long … Looks like Jorge Posada is sitting against lefties … Mitch Talbot is not a great pitcher, and the Red Sox touched him for eight runs in three innings … Mike Trout is killing it at Double-A (.308/.415/.538) but his major league manager says that he's not a short-term option in the outfield.


Eno Sarris is an editor and writer at FanGraphs.com. You can find his work gathered in one place at and enosarris.com. Follow his misadventures in writing on Twitter as well.
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