Eno Sarris

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The Intrigue on Ethier's Knee

Monday, August 29, 2011


It's time to get a little cutthroat with your injured players. This weekend offered a lesson in that regard: any injury, at this point in the season, can be a season-ending one. Jonathan Sanchez just has a twisted ankle, but he could be done for the season anyway, speculates his manager. Eric Surkamp will continue to take his place despite a temporary demotion and is absolutely deep-league relevant. Hamate surgery is no joke, but it also means that Michael Brantley is done for the season. Jaime Garcia is getting a breather as he heads into uncharted territory. He's already at a career-high in innings, but there's no word of a shutdown yet. Of course Nelson Cruz, who just pulled up lame in Sunday's game, seems like he's always a game away from going down. More news later. Is Shin-Soo Choo in the same bucket? He has left side soreness now. Again. Colby Rasmus just hit the DL officially and needs more than two weeks.. how many are you going to give him?

But one of the biggest names on the precipice right now is Andre Ethier's. He claims that he has been playing through a knee injury that might need offseason surgery. His general manager claims that he's just trying to excuse his poor second-half numbers. Even if Ned Colletti felt that way, it doesn't make much sense to go public with it. Now that he's burning bridges, Ethier might be tempted to shut it down at any time. That's a situation worth watching, even if the player backed off his comments later on.

Don't drop a stud too early, though. Jose Reyes will be back Monday, finally! Hanley Ramirez will be back Wednesday, as he's wrapping up his rehab already. Pablo Sandoval is still hurting from his shoulder injury, but he's fighting through it, and with the state of the third base position, he's worth holding on to. Adrian Beltre is going on a rehab assignment, but it will be short. Hopefully he'll be back mid-week. Marlins GM Mike Hill still remains hopeful that Josh Johnson will return this season. Yeah, but for how long?

* Hurricane Irene shut down a lot of games over the weekend, but there are some silver linings in this touch of grey. For one, there are a ton of double-headers coming up that might allow you to get more innings and at-bats out of your lineup spots in the coming week. Secondly, we get to spend more time on the pitchers that did pitch. Zach Britton held the Yankees scoreless in seven innings to headline the 'good' paragraph. He struck out five, but more importantly he only walked one and got his customary two ground balls for every fly ball. The better his control is, the more useful he'll be in regularly-sized leagues. Zack Greinke (with a K) gave up one run in seven-plus, with seven strikeouts and two walks. He's a fantasy ace. You never really thought Ian Kennedy would be this good, but you thought maybe his good control and just-enough-stuff would overcome his fly-ball tendencies in the weaker league… and you were right. Kennedy predictably held the Padres to one run in seven innings, with seven strikeouts, and suddenly he's leading his league in wins and his ERA is pristine. He's really good. You can applaud Jordan Zimmermann for his season, thank him for his services, and drop him in all re-draft leagues. In his final start of the ear, he gave up three earned in 4 1/3. Golf clap!

Jeff Karstens gave up five runs to the Cards, in 3 2/3 innings. He was due for some regression and his 7.46 ERA in August was exactly that. Do you want to start him in Chicago this Friday? Brandon Morrow has way more upside than Karstens, but the results have not been there recently. He struck out five in five innings, so at least he got the strikeouts that he always does. But he also allowed five runs in five innings to the Rays, which is not exciting. Nathan Eovaldi has a lot of vowels, and he gave up a lot of runs (five earned) in four innings Sunday against the Rockies. His arsenal suggests he might have a trouble against teams with great lefty batters, but he still has good long-term upside. Cory Luebke gave up three earned in 5 1/3 Sunday, all on solo home runs. He's still pretty good.

* With a month left, there are still a few players on the waiver wire that might help. We covered Stephen Strasburg, who was nearly perfect in rehab and is probably gone from your waiver wires already. But Dayan Viciedo is up with the White Sox, and playing right field. He hit a home run Sunday and might play often with Carlos Quentin on the DL with that shoulder sprain. He might even continue to get more time going forward, as Ozzie Guillen admitted that Adam Dunn's playing time will diminish. Matt Joyce had three hits and is mixed-league relevant against right-handers if someone dropped him. Like Seth Smith, he's a valuable bench piece. Kevin Kouzmanoff is finally in a hitter's park, and has four hits in his last two days, too.

* There's always time for a bullpen update! Sergio Romo is back in San Francisco and is most likely the interim closer. But Brian Wilson's recovery is going well and he might not be gone much longer. Rafael Betancourt was supposedly still the closer despite Huston Street's return, and the elder earned a save Sunday after blowing a save Saturday. Still seems like Street will get his job back, doesn't it? Mark Melancon blew his save against the Giants but earned the win because the Giants' offense is just not that good. M&M is just good enough for this year. Drew Storen blew a save against the Reds Sunday. Eh. Kyle Farnsworth had a tender elbow, so Joel Peralta got a save, but he's band in charge. Jon Rauch threw a bullpen, so he could be back sooner than we all think. Frank Francisco is still probably the better pitcher, but who knows what happens. Even with all the back and forth Ozzie Guillen has done with Sergio Santos and Chris Sale this year, he say Santos is his undisputed closer going into next year. Probably because Sale will be stretched out for the rotation.

National League Quick Hits: Did you see that Troy Tulowitzki hit two two-run home runs on Saturday … Yovani Gallardo struck out ten in seven and kept the Cubs without an unearned run, well done … Johnny Cueto was good but didn't get strikeouts; Sunday he struck out 11 NAtionals in seven innings … Cameron Maybin (wrist) has missed two straight but there's no talk of a DL stint yet … Bud Norris struck out ten (and gave up two) in seven, and you could call him the NL Brandon MorrowAndres Torres (leg contusion) is back in the Giants lineup and even stole a base Sunday … Yonder Alonso hit a home run ... Jeff Keppinger won a game for the Giants with a single Saturday night … Nate Schierholtz (foot) couldn't avoid the DL after all … Astros manager Brad Mills confirmed that Brian Bogusevic is in a platoon, but he gets the right-handers, so he's the more interesting play … Tyler Colvin hit a home run off John Axford, but power alone is not enough … Chris Marrero is up with the big league team but he's not a prospect without question marks … Brad Penny gave up seven runs in five innings against a weak Minnesota lineup and is also not a play in any leagues.

American League Quick Hits: Justin Verlander won his twentieth … Alex Rodriguez (thumb) and Derek Jeter (knee) might not play Monday … Remember Michael Pineda because he only gave up two in six against the White Sox Saturday … Erik Bedard only went four against Oakland on Saturday because his knee was tender … Jemile Weeks stole three bases Saturday … Grady Sizemore (knee, hernia) might begin a rehab assignment shortly … Alex Gordon had three hits and continues to benefit from batted ball luck … Gavin Floyd struck out six, walked none and gave up two earned in 7 /13, but it was the Mariners … Jacob Turner is scheduled to start Thursday for Detroit and is immediately interesting in deeper leagues despite his young age … Chone Figgins (hip) will begin a rehab assignment this week, huzzah … Sounds like Salvador Perez will be in the lineup most days going forward … Justin Smoak will begin a rehab assignment on Monday … Hank Conger will go the AFL to work on defense, and in related news Mike Scioscia is tough on young catchers … Jason Vargas got beat up for nine runs at home against the White Sox, so he's a worse spot start tomorrow than he was today … Bruce Chen held the Indians to one run in seven-plus, but he's too inconsistent to depend on … Luke Hughes hit two home runs on Sunday but he's still not interesting in any league.


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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