D.J. Short

Baseball Daily Dose

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More Machine Than Man

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

The big news from the Fourth of July weekend was that Albert Pujols could return from the disabled list as soon as he's eligible on Tuesday. That's right. Pujols may only need to miss 15 days for a broken arm. Are we sure this guy is human?

Pujols was able to take batting practice and field ground balls Monday with no issues. He'll still have to get clearance from team physician Dr. George Paletta, but if all goes well, he could be in the starting lineup Tuesday night against Edinson Volquez and the Reds.

Even if the Cardinals decide to play if safe for another day or two, we're still talking about a minor miracle here. When Pujols was originally diagnosed with a hairline fracture of the distal tip of his left radius, he was expected to miss 4-6 weeks. Boy, I sure hope you didn't give up on your season already or trade him at a discount.

By the way, on the "real" baseball side of things, the Cardinals' division-rivals haven't been able to take advantage of Pujols' absence. The Cards open play Tuesday with a one-game lead over the Brewers in the National League Central, despite a 6-7 record without Pujols.

While it appears the Cardinals are about to get a pleasant surprise, here are some more news and notes from a busy Fourth around the baseball world.

- Derek Jeter's return from the disabled list naturally received most of the attention on Monday night, as he resumed his chase for 3,000 hits, but after finishing the night 0-for-4, the focus turned to Mariano Rivera, who was unavailable against the Indians due to a sore right triceps muscle.

Rivera said he felt sore after blowing a save Sunday against the Mets, but received treatment Monday and hopes to be available for Tuesday's game. This may only turn out to be a minor blip in the long-term, but it still functions as a reminder that Yankees manager Joe Girardi will have to use his 41-year-old closer more carefully during the second half of the season. Rivera has a 1.91 ERA and 21 saves over 35 appearances this season and is currently on pace for his most appearances since 2005.

With that in mind, it would be no surprise to see Yankees general manager Brian Cashman active on the trade front before the deadline. Bob Klapisch of the Bergen Record reported Monday that the Mets are shopping Francisco Rodriguez, but that the Yankees are only "marginally interested." According to Klapisch, the Yankees would prefer to wait on the progress of big-money set-up man Rafael Soriano, who is expected to return from a sore elbow after the All-Star break.

- Here's some tough news for a Rockies' lineup that is also missing Carlos Gonzalez.

Troy Tulowitzki was forced to leave Monday's game against the Braves with right quad tightness. He suffered the injury while running out a ground ball in the top of the fourth inning. While this doesn't approach the severity of the quad injury that caused him to miss significant time during the 2008 season, he could be sidelined for the next couple of days.

Tulo really scuffled during the month of May, seeing his batting average dip into the .240s, but he's hitting .306 with six homers and 26 RBI since the start of June.

- And finally, some uplifting news for those who have been patient with Adam Dunn.

The "Big Donkey" snapped an 0-for-19 slump with a single off Royals' left-hander Jeff Francis in fourth inning last night. It was just his second hit in 56 at-bats against a southpaw this season and his first since June 3.

Dunn later added a two-run run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning. It was just his seventh home run of the season and his first since June 12. Maybe this isn't a huge surprise considering his current .171 batting average, but this was just his second multi-hit game since May 14. It can only get better from here, right?

NL Quick Hits: Carlos Gonzalez (wrist) will not swing a bat until Wednesday … Ryan Braun missed his second straight game Monday with a calf strain … Jose Reyes plans to test his right hamstring by running Tuesday … Tim Lincecum allowed three runs over five innings in Monday's loss to the Padres and now stands at 6-7 on the year, despite a 3.14 ERA … David Wright (back) is not expected to begin a minor league rehab assignment until next week … Shane Victorino (thumb) was out of the lineup Monday and is also expected to miss Tuesday's game … Ryan Zimmerman was held out of the Nationals' starting lineup Monday with tenderness in his abdomen … Tommy Hanson struck six over seven innings of one-run ball Monday against the Rockies, but apparently isn't good enough to be an All-Star … Chris Carpenter has allowed just two runs over his last three starts …Martin Prado (staph infection) hopes to begin a minor league rehab assignment Tuesday … Ryan Madson (hand) will not rejoin the Phillies before the All-Star break … Freddie Freeman clubbed a pair of homers in Monday's win over the Rockies … Chipper Jones (knee) hopes to return to the Braves' lineup Tuesday … Mike Morse missed Monday's game with a forearm contusion … The Dodgers optioned shortstop Dee Gordon to Triple-A Albuquerque on Monday … Jonathan Sanchez (biceps) threw off flat ground from a distance of 90 feet Monday … Johan Santana (shoulder) threw off a mound again Monday … Brad Lidge (elbow) tossed a scoreless inning Monday in his first minor league rehab appearance with Class A Lakewood … The struggling Placido Polanco acknowledged Sunday that he's playing through a pinched nerve in his back … Ike Davis won't attempt to do any serious running on his ankle until next week … Jon Garland could miss the rest of the season with a shoulder injury … Pedro Alvarez (quad) continued his minor league rehab assignment Monday night with Triple-A Indianapolis … Cody Ross is listed as day-to-day after leaving Monday's game with a mild left hamstring strain … Clayton Richard tossed five shutout innings before leaving with tightness in his throwing arm, but expects to be fine moving forward … Bronson Arroyo felt dizziness during a bullpen session Monday, but is still expected to make his next scheduled start Wednesday against the Cardinals … Bryce Harper played left field in his debut with Double-A Harrisburg on Monday, finishing 2-for-3 with a walk and a run scored … Vance Worley was optioned to the minors after tossing seven scoreless innings against the Marlins on Monday night, but is expected to rejoin the Phillies' rotation after the All-Star break … Joe Blanton (elbow) threw a bullpen session Monday for the first time since May 19 … Josh Harrison left Monday's game with dizziness and is scheduled to undergo tests for a possible concussion Tuesday … Eduardo Sanchez (shoulder) threw a bullpen session Monday … The Nationals are expected to call up Ross Detwiler to start Tuesday against the Cubs … The Mets signed Miguel Batista to a minor league contract …

AL Quick Hits: Carl Crawford (hamstring) is expected to run the bases Tuesday for the first time since being placed on the disabled list … Clay Buchholz (back) will receive a second opinion from a specialist this week … Torii Hunter (wrist) homered in his return to the lineup Monday … Though the Rangers have discussed skipping him in the starting rotation, Alexi Ogando is still on track to make his next scheduled start Wednesday against the Orioles … Kevin Youkilis left Monday's game for precautionary reasons after being hit in the back by a pitch … Carlos Santana slugged a two-run homer in Monday's win over the Yankees and has three homers in his last six games … Michael Pineda won for just the second time in his past eight starts Monday … John Danks (oblique) aims to rejoin the White Sox starting rotation immediately following the All-Star break … The Tigers reportedly have interest in Dodgers' right-hander Hiroki Kuroda … The Blue Jays hope Yunel Escobar (hand) will be able to return to the lineup Wednesday … Ben Zobrist was scratched from Monday's lineup with a head cold … Mike Napoli (oblique) had a pinch-hit double in his return from the disabled list Monday … The struggling Mitch Moreland was given the day off Monday in order to clear his head … Jason Kubel is scheduled to travel back to the Twin Cities to be examined by team doctors after feeling continued discomfort in his foot … Blue Jays prospect Brett Lawrie (hand) hit off a tee Monday … Newly-named All-Star Aaron Crow balked in the winning run Monday against the White Sox … Brandon McCarthy lost in his return from the disabled list Monday against the Mariners, giving up two runs over 6 2/3 innings … John Lackey was tagged for seven runs over 2 1/3 innings Monday against the Blue Jays, increasing his ERA to 7.47 over 13 starts … Miguel Olivo (hamstring) could return to the Mariners' lineup on Tuesday or Wednesday … Fausto Carmona was diagnosed with a "moderate quad strain" after undergoing an MRI on Monday … Josh Tomlin allowed two runs over seven innings in a win over the Yankees on Monday night … Travis Snider collected three doubles and drove in two runs in his return from the minors Monday … Carlos Guillen (knee) was held out of a rehab game with Triple-A Toledo on Monday after feeling some soreness during Sunday's game … Grant Balfour (oblique) is on track to return from the disabled list Thursday … Fernando Rodney (back) is expected to resume his throwing program later this week … Red Sox prospect shortstop Jose Iglesias was placed on the 7-day DL with Triple-A Pawtucket after suffering a concussion when he was hit in the head by a pitch Sunday … The Orioles are expected to call up Mitch Atkins to start Tuesday against the Rangers …

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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