Matt Stroup

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Lester's Lat Scare

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Tuesday was a very good day to be Albert Pujols (more on that in a minute), and all things considered, it wasn't an awful day to be Jon Lester either.

Initially, however, it wasn't looking good: The Boston left-hander got a significant injury scare when leaving Tuesday's game after four innings (no hits, one walk, five K's) with a strained lat, but in the span of just over an hour, the injury went from looking like a multiple-week situation to beat writer Alex Speier reporting that Lester hopes to avoid the DL altogether. That no-DL outlook may be overly optimistic given that the All-Star break is approaching, but all indications are that Lester managed to avoid a serious injury.

  • Completing his absurdly fast recovery from a broken wrist, Albert Pujols was activated from the DL prior to Tuesday's game. And though he didn't actually play Tuesday, the man who might actually be a cyborg will return to the starting lineup Wednesday, rendering Jon Jay (not to mention any and all doctors' prognostications on Pujols) irrelevant.

  • Potential shakeup in the Twins' bullpen? Glen Perkins picked up his second save in three days in relief of a struggling Matt Capps, though beat writer Tyler Mason reports that Ron Gardenhire reiterated that Capps is still his closer, while also saying that the team will "deal with this in the next couple of days." If the Twins do make a change, Perkins looks like he'd be the top closing option, but Joe Nathan could be in the mix as well.

  • In other Twins news, Scott Baker left Tuesday's start after five innings with what the Twins are calling a mildly strained right elbow, which doesn't sound disconcerting until you add in the fact that Baker is headed for an MRI Wednesday. We should know more on his status sometime before the end of the day Wednesday.

  • Mike Stanton has admitted that he's still having vision problems in his right eye, telling the Miami Herald that "With all the lights in the stadium, it feels like it doesn't distribute the lights the right way. It feels like I'm kind of looking through something hazy." Stanton has struck out 14 times in his last eight games, but did go 2-for-4 with a triple Tuesday night.

  • On another Marlins outfield note, Chris Coghlan (knee) is slated to begin a minor league rehab assignment later this week as he targets a return right after the All-Star break. In the meantime, Mike Cameron, acquired from the Red Sox Tuesday for a player to be named later or cash, will take over in center, with Emilio Bonifacio shifting to third.

  • Your Wednesday Rockies update: Carlos Gonzalez (wrist) and Troy Tulowitzki (quad) could be back as early as Thursday, though it sounds like Gonzalez – who will hit off a tee Wednesday – could make it back first. The Rockies also recalled Ian Stewart from Triple-A (and promptly placed him in the starting lineup Tuesday), but Troy Renck of the Denver Post believes that Stewart will be used primarily as a bench player once Colorado's lineup is healthy.

  • Per Braves beat writer Dave O'Brien, Martin Prado (staph infection) is tentatively slated to begin a minor league rehab assignment Wednesday. Prado is hoping that he can return this weekend against the Phillies, but the Braves want him to get around 30 at-bats before returning. If the latter proves true, Prado may not be back until after the All-Star break, but it's easy to see his timetable getting moved up.

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    Pitcher injury notes: Mariano Rivera (triceps) was only available in an emergency situation on Tuesday … Ryan Madson (hand) threw a bullpen and could be back right after the All-Star break … Clay Buchholz is headed for a "third opinion" on his injured back Wednesday, according to … Mets pitching coach Dan Warthen told the New York Post that Johan Santana "threw very well" in a Monday bullpen, but the left-hander is still likely out until at least mid-August … John Danks (oblique) will begin a minor league rehab start Sunday … R.A. Dickey (glute) will test his injury in a Wednesday bullpen … Aaron Harang (foot) allowed three runs in five innings at Single-A on Monday and is targeting a return soon after the All-Star break … The Padres placed Clayton Richard (shoulder) on the DL … Brandon Webb (shoulder) was headed for an MRI Tuesday … Jon Garland will undergo season-ending shoulder surgery.

    Position player injury notes: Ryan Zimmerman (abdomen) returned to the lineup, going 2-for-4 … Terry Francona told ESPN Boston that Carl Crawford (hamstring) "had a really good day" Tuesday, leaving open the possibility that Crawford could be back before the All-Star break … Per beat writer Adam Rubin, Jose Reyes said Tuesday that his hamstring was "better than [Monday], but it's still not quite where it needs to be." … Shane Victorino has been diagnosed with a Grade 1 sprain of his right thumb, leaving the Phillies to decide sometime within the next couple of days whether to place him on the DL … Ryan Braun (calf) was expected to return Tuesday, but ended up sitting out a third straight game … Asdrubal Cabrera is being called day-to-day after leaving Tuesday with a right ankle sprain … Luke Scott (shoulder) hit the DL and could be facing season-ending surgery depending on the outcome of tests later this week, with Nolan Reimold and Felix Pie expected to share playing time in his absence … Alex Gordon (knee) returned to the lineup Tuesday … Kevin Youkilis (shoulder) sat out Tuesday's game as a precautionary measure and should be back Wednesday … Yunel Escobar (hand) was originally in Tuesday's lineup before being scratched.

    Position player injury notes (part 2): Matt LaPorta (ankle) was slated to be activated after Tuesday's game … Justin Morneau (neck) is hoping to be cleared to work out in a week as he continues to target a mid-August return … Jason Kubel had an MRI that didn't reveal any changes in his troublesome foot … Cody Ross (hamstring) isn't expected to need a trip to the DL … Josh Willingham (Achilles) could return Thursday … Brett Lawrie (hand) hit off a tee for a second straight day Tuesday, but there's still no timetable for him to begin taking BP … Andre Ethier (migraine) didn't start Tuesday … Terry Francona told ESPN Boston that Jed Lowrie (shoulder) is improving, but he has yet to begin taking BP … Jason Bourgeois (quad) is unlikely to return when eligible after the All-Star break … Placido Polanco (back) sat out Tuesday, but plans to play in the All-Star game, telling that he "probably" won't make the injury any worse … Delmon Young (ankle) is hoping to return later this week … Denard Span (concussion) is taking part in baseball activities, but is expected to remain out until after the All-Star break … Brennan Boesch is day-to-day with a right knee contusion.

    Miscellaneous notes: After Derek Jeter picked up two hits to move within four of 3,000, Joe Girardi indicated that he may rest Jeter on Wednesday … Mets beat writer Adam Rubin believes that Bobby Parnell (2.78 ERA, 27/9 K/BB ratio in 22 2/3 innings this season) will take over as closer if Francisco Rodriguez is dealt … After starting on Wednesday, Alexi Ogando won't start again until July 19 … The Cardinals reportedly have no plans to move Kyle McClellan to the bullpen … The Nationals may skip Jordan Zimmermann on Sunday to give him some additional rest.

    Editor's Note: For exclusive columns, rankings, projections and more, check out Rotoworld's MLB Season Pass.

    Notable pitching: C.C. Sabathia struck out 11 in seven scoreless innings against the Indians … Felix Hernandez struck out 10 in eight innings to beat the A's … Dan Haren threw a two-hit shutout to outduel Justin Verlander (7 2/3 innings, one run, eight K's) … Cole Hamels (hand) threw eight strong innings against the Marlins … Brett Cecil allowed three runs in eight innings in a complete-game loss to the Red Sox … Jeff Karstens threw seven innings of one-run ball against the Astros to lower his ERA to 2.55 … Jonathan Papelbon converted an ugly save, allowing two earned runs on four hits and a walk … Felipe Paulino allowed three earned runs in six innings with nine strikeouts.

    Notable hitting: Curtis Granderson hit his 24th and 25th homers … Matt Holliday slugged his 11th and 12th homers on the same day he was named to the NL roster in the Home Run Derby … Also homering twice: the suddenly useful Jason BayJose Bautista hit homer No. 28 … Aramis Ramirez homered for the eighth time in his last 12 games … Dan Uggla reached base four times and hit his 13th homer.

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

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