Eno Sarris

Baseball Daily Dose

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Injured Player is Injured

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Maybe it's because the All-Star break is less than a couple weeks away and players are on their last legs, desperate for that three-day break. Or maybe three months of near-daily baseball is enough to drag a healthy man into the trainer's room. But it certainly seems like updates from the doctor dominate the news these days.

On the other hand, it's no surprise that Erik Bedard is now on the DL, but it might be a surprise that it's for his knee. His manager thinks he won't need much more than the minimum, so perhaps this was just a team playing it safe with their fragile commodity. Similarly, Maicer Izturis has always been on and off the list. He'll stay off for now, but missed his second-straight start Wednesday with a sore foot. He should be back Friday. Freddy Sanchez is another oft-injured dude. He'll begin upper-body work this week in order to determine if he can avoid season-ending surgery on his shoulder. This has happened before, right? Chipper Jones is still having trouble with his right knee and is trying to avoid surgery! Yeah, not surprising.

Not all of the medical news was bad. Dr. James Andrews found no structural damage in Josh Johnson's shoulder and will begin his throwing program in ten days. That's okay news I guess. David Wright should begin his rehab assignment within the next week. Derek Jeter took batting practice, ran the bases, and took ground balls Wednesday and will begin ramping up his rehab for a possible early July return from his calf strain. Jon Niese had his heart cleared and should make his next start, Friday against the Yankees. Really good news. Bartolo Colon should return Saturday against the Mets and forgo a real rehab assignment. Darwin Barney is back from the DL, but is more of a deeper-league guy since he's an empty batting average. Leonys Martin, a Cuban outfielder in the Rangers organization, is back from his injury and could still figure into the team's plans this year considering his .357/.444/.583 line in Double-A.

* And even some of the news was performance-related. Ubaldo Jimenez still hasn't found the velocity he used to have, so it's no surprise the swinging strikes aren't there either. He did have a good game against the White Sox (two runs, four strikeouts and two walks in seven innings), but he also doesn't fundamentally look like the Ubaldo of old. Carlos Carrasco enjoyed his trip to the NL, allowing only two runs in seven innings in Arizona. The best news was that he struck out seven, since his per-pitch whiff numbers are better than his per-at-bat strikeout numbers. He's useful in most leagues. Ricky Nolasco survived his trip to the AL by drawing the Athletics. He threw a shutout but only struck out three, so he's still an enigma. Colby Lewis held the Astros to two runs in 6 2/3 innings (with six strikeouts and no walks), proving he's still at least a spot start in all leagues. Brandon Morrow will always be risky because of the walks, but the strikeouts make him tantalizing. He struck out 10 Pirates in seven innings in what was a tantalizing matchup. Tim Stauffer is totally different. He has good control and keeps the ball on the ground but doesn't have a great strikeout rate. One run, four hits, six strikeouts and two walks in seven innings against the Royals underlines the point.

A good start does not make a good pickup. Like John Lackey was great against the Phillies (two runs in seven innings with five strikeouts), and isn't facing Tommy John surgery (he claims), but is in the middle of an obvious decline (in swinging strikes, ground-ball and walk rates). Pass. A.J. Burnett has found some of his swinging strikes back, but fundamentally he's not much better off than last year. He struck out four Brewers and held them to two runs in seven innings, but is still more of a spot-start in most leagues. Brett Myers does do everything about average, but that makes an average pitcher. At least he's in the NL. He truck out four and allowed three runs in seven innings to the Rangers. Meh. Mark Buehrle is the eternal example. He only gave up two runs in seven innings against the Rockies, but he struck out four. All he's really got going for him going forward is control, and striking out four guys per nine makes him a liability.

In deeper leagues, the song remains the same. Vance Worley held the Red Sox to one run in seven innings, and even struck out five. Some like the Vanimal, but he doesn't get many swinging strikes and is only an average ground-baller. Guillermo Moscoso doesn't get swinging strikes, has bad control, and is an extreme fly ball guy. Maybe one earned on six innings isn't amazing, and his performance going forward shouldn't be considered amazing either.

* On the offensive side of the ball, Hanley Ramirez hit a home run and some power would really bring him back to his old heights. Jason Bay drew four walks, stole two bases and hit a double. There's some reason for optimism, but his batting average won't find old heights with this strikeout rate. More interesting for mixed leagues is Angel Pagan, who collected four hits, stole a base, and suddenly has a passable batting average to go with his real speed and good-enough power. Colby Rasmus may not ever have a great batting average, but he has power and speed. he hit a home run Wednesday night and might be heating back up again. Nick Markakis should have the good batting average but lacks the speed and power. He had his fourth straight multi-hit night. Freddie Freeman doesn't have traditional first-base-type power, but after collecting three hits Wednesday, he's a play-able utility bat in most leagues. The knock on Dustin Ackley was similar - not a ton of power or speed - but he's transitioning well and hit a home run off of Jonny Venters. Impressive.

Let's check out some older dudes. Raul Ibanez isn't going to have a great year, but three hits (one a home run) on Wednesday means he'll still have the occasional signs of life. Carlos Lee hit a solo home run and is doing okay this month. He's also a bad-body dude that isn't aging gracefully. Pick him up if you need to. Ty Wigginton homered for the sixth time in seven days. Considering his eligibilities, he's playable in most leagues even if his batting average won't improve. Staying on the middle infield, Orlando Cabrera had four hits Wednesday and might be back in charge at that second base position in Cleveland. Since they are suddenly competitive this year, the team will play whomever can contribute the most on offense right now.

* Bullpennery! Antonio Bastardo got his first save as the interim closer, but Brad Lidge will begin a rehab assignment early next week. His time might be limited. Carlos Marmol blew his fifth save, but limited the damage and got the win. Emmanuel Burris got the tying hit, though, and that sentence might not ever happen again. Jordan Walden snapped his blown-save streak by striking out one and preserving Dan Haren's 1-0 victory. He's probably fine going forward. Joe Nathan's velocity is back, and he struck out two Tuesday night. He needs some struggles or a trade from Matt Capps to return to his role. Tony La Russa pointed out that Lance Lynn has been great since he's moved to the bullpen, and that might mean something eventually since Fernando Salas has been struggling. Since Chris Carpenter went the distance (and is a great buy-low, by the way), the pen wasn't tested Wednesday night. Takashi Saito should return to the majors this weekend, and makes a good pickup in holds leagues.

* A couple of releases around the league might register with fantasy folk. Melvin Mora hasn't really been getting playing time, and his .524 OPS wasn't quite demanding more of it. This just means that Ryan Roberts is secure at the hot corner in Arizona. More of a surprise was Ryan Franklin's release. There had been some talk that he might be relevant again the Cards' bullpen, but his general manager preemptively struck. No more chin squirrels in St. Louis. Doug Davis was released by the Cubs but he was looking pretty unusable anyway.

National League Quick Hits: Jayson Werth is day-to-day with a sore hip … He only made it five innings, but there's no word about his aching hip, and Shaun Marcum did strike out six … Jordan Zimmermann threw an eight-inning complete game with four strikeouts and one walk against the Angels and looks like an every-starter … Anthony Rizzo collected two singles, but his long-term upside trumps his upside for this year … Chris Capuano struck out six, walked one, and is a decent spot start despite giving up five runs against the Tigers … Rubby De La Rosa has nasty stuff, but right now he's working on harnessing it, as his four strikeouts and two walks in seven one-run innings shows … Edinson Volquez gave up three runs and only two walks in 6 1/3 innings, but that control makes him risky … Paul Maholm has a tasty ERA, but even when he has a good start (two runs in seven innings against the Jays), he doesn't strike many out (one Wednesday night) … Jonny Venters might get some rest over the weekend if only to avoid overuse … The Pirates are also thinking about cutting back Kevin Correia's workload … Xavier Paul has been playing daily, but isn't as good as he looks and missed Wednesday's game with tightness in his hamstring … Fernando Martinez was recalled to the Mets to take over for Willie Harris (paternity) … Juan Miranda went hitless Wednesday and Paul Goldschmidt and Brandon Allen lurk in the minors … Jerry Hairston Jr. has a small break in his hand but will try to play through it.

American League Quick Hits: Ian Kinsler hit a pair of home runs and is heating up … David Ortiz went hitless and looked rusty at first base while Adrian Gonzalez looked okay in the outfield when the Red Sox went to the NL … Clay Buchholz was ramping up his return but now felt some discomfort and is probably out until after the All-Star break … James Shields struck out ten and still took the loss against the Reds when he gave up his first home run in five starts … Scott Baker struck out nine in 7 1/3 scoreless innings, but it was the Dodgers … Phil Hughes allowed one run in 6 1/3 rehab innings and topped out at 94 MPH; He could be an interesting waiver wire pickup for the pitching-starved … Jason Kubel played in his first rehab game and should be back sometime next week … Delmon Young (ankle) is going to take batting proactive and shag fly balls Friday … More Twins news - Denard Span (concussion) could take batting practice this weekend … One more Twins item says that Alexi Casilla missed Wednesday's game with a sore thumb, but he should be back Friday … Wait, Jim Thome returned … Rich Harden will be limited to 90 pitches in his Friday start in Arizona … Jeff Francoeur struck out four times against the Padres and if it wasn't for his seven stolen bases in June, he would be nigh-unownable in all leagues … Luke Scott (knee) was not in the lineup but should be fine soon … The Mariners are sending Miguel Olivo (hamstring) for an MRI … Phil Coke gave up eight runs in four innings to the Mets and is just not a play in any league … Chris Jakubauskas gave up five runs against the Cardinals and is not a great start in any league … The Yankees got Sergio Mitre back from the Brewers!

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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