D.J. Short

Baseball Daily Dose

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Cruz's Hammy Strikes Again

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


After pulling up lame during Sunday's game against the Angels, Nelson Cruz underwent an MRI on Monday which showed a Grade 1 strain of his left hamstring. He is expected to miss the next three weeks, which will take him out of commission during a crucial stretch for the Rangers and fantasy owners alike.

Cruz missed 51 games last season due to three stints on the DL with hamstring issues. He also served a stint on the DL earlier this season with a strained right quadriceps muscle. There's little doubt that he is one of the top fantasy outfielders when healthy, but continued durability concerns will likely do a number on his ADP next season.

David Murphy, who has homered in two out of his last three games, will likely get most of the playing time in right field while Cruz is sidelined. Of course, things could change if the Rangers step up their pursuit of Cardinals' outfielder Lance Berkman, who has reportedly cleared waivers. In the meantime, The Rangers will call up prospect outfielder Leonys Martin to replace Cruz on the active roster.

Martin, 23, signed a five-year, $15.5 million contract with the Rangers in May. The Cuban defector has struggled since a promotion to Triple-A Round Rock last month, batting .263/.318/.314 with a .630 OPS over 192 plate appearances, but has plus-speed and is highly regarded for his defense in center field. It's unlikely the Rangers will give Martin significant playing time in his first taste of the big leagues, but those in AL-only leagues should take the plunge.

While the Rangers hope to have Cruz at 100 percent for the final week of the regular season and beyond, here are some more news and notes from around a busy Monday in the baseball world.

* You know how it looked like the old Shin-Soo Choo was back with a vengeance this time last week? That was fun. Unfortunately we may not see him back in the Indians' lineup for a while.

Choo, who aggravated his left oblique muscle during Saturday's game, told reporters Monday that he likely won't swing a bat until the weekend. He may need even more time before he resumes full baseball activities, so it's possible he could be sidelined for up to two weeks. Not the best timing as the depleted Indians attempt to stay alive in the American League Central.

This injury is just the latest development in what has been a nightmare season for Choo. The 29-year-old outfielder slumped his way through April before being arrested in May for a DUI. He then missed two months after undergoing surgery in June to repair a fractured left thumb. As we have learned all too well this season, oblique injuries can be very tricky, so fantasy owners are advised to have a backup plan in place over the next two weeks.

* Cole Hamels was fantastic in his return from the disabled list Monday night, giving up one run over six innings as part of a no-decision against the Reds. The southpaw struck out seven while walking none and threw 50 out of 76 pitches for strikes.

Hamels averaged 90.12 mph on his fastball and topped out at 92.4 mph during Monday's outing, according to Brooks Baseball. While that is down from his season average of 91.9 mph, it's an improvement from when he averaged just 88.5 mph and topped out at 91.6 mph in his last start August 12 against the Nationals. Hamels may or may not rediscover that velocity in the weeks to come, but the important part is that he feels healthy leading up to the postseason.

NL Quick Hits: Jose Reyes (hamstring) went 1-for-4 with a run scored in his return from the disabled list Monday … Tim Lincecum gave up three home runs for the first time in his career in Monday's loss to the Cubs … Shane Victorino clubbed a go-ahead two-run homer Monday night in a win over the Reds … Clayton Kershaw allowed one-run and struck out five Monday in a complete-game win over the Padres … Cameron Maybin will return to San Diego on Tuesday to undergo an MRI on his right wrist … Wandy Rodriguez struck out a career-high 13 in Monday's win over the Pirates … Daniel Hudson struck out eight over seven shutout innings Monday in a win over the Rockies … R.A. Dickey tossed seven shutout innings while Dillon Gee allowed one run over six innings as the Mets swept a doubleheader from the Marlins on Monday… Homer Bailey gave up three runs over eight innings Monday in a tough-luck loss to the Phillies … Stephen Strasburg (elbow) will make his next minor league rehab start Thursday with Double-A Harrisburg … Randy Wells allowed just two hits Monday night in a complete-game shutout against the weak-hitting Giants … The Mets are expected to wait a few days before deciding whether Ike Davis will need microfracture surgery on his ankle … The Padres have no plans to shut down Tim Stauffer … The Pirates will skip the struggling Jeff Karstens in the starting rotation this week … Yonder Alonso made his first professional start at third base Monday night against the Phillies … Andrew Cashner (shoulder) struck out all three batters he faced Monday during his third minor league rehab appearance with Double-A Tennessee … Jamie Moyer (elbow) has begun rehabbing at the Phillies' spring training complex … Ronny Paulino was diagnosed with a broken right toe, but remains on the Mets' active roster … Rockies pitching prospect Drew Pomeranz (appendectomy) threw 30 pitches in a bullpen session Monday …


AL Quick Hits: Adrian Beltre (hamstring) went 1-for-4 with a run scored Monday in his first minor league rehab game with Triple-A Round Rock and is expected to return from the disabled list Thursday … Jose Bautista slugged his 38th home run in Monday's win over the Rays, tying Curtis Granderson for the major-league lead … An MRI on Alex Rodriguez's thumb came back negative, but he could miss the entire upcoming series against the Red Sox … Joe Mauer (neck) was out of the starting lineup for the fifth straight game Monday … Alex Gordon went 4-for-5 with a solo home run and two runs scored in Monday's win over the Tigers … Derek Jeter (knee) expects to return to the starting lineup Tuesday night… Justin Morneau was held out of Monday's lineup with a sore shoulder … Max Scherzer was blasted for seven runs over three innings Monday in a loss to the Royals … Mark Buehrle tossed 7 2/3 shutout innings Monday in win over the Twins … Nick Swisher connected for his sixth homer in the past seven games Monday … Michael Cuddyer (wrist) went 0-for-4 with a strikeout Monday in his return to the starting lineup … Dustin Ackley went 3-for-3 with two RBI and a run scored Monday in a win over the Angels … Johnny Damon blasted a pair of homers in Monday's loss to the Blue Jays … Jon Rauch (appendectomy) is scheduled to throw a simulated game Tuesday and could rejoin the Blue Jays' bullpen as soon as Thursday … In his return from the disabled list Monday, Freddy Garcia (finger) gave up one run over six innings in a win over the Orioles … Brandon McCarthy allowed two runs over eight innings and struck out a career-high 10 in a tough luck loss to the Indians on Monday night … Clay Buchholz (back) was cleared to begin throwing Tuesday … Brennan Boesch will eventually need surgery on his right thumb, but the Tigers are hopeful he will be able to play through the pain … Danny Duffy will likely make two or three more starts before being shut down for the season … J.D. Drew (shoulder) is scheduled to resume his minor league rehab assignment Tuesday with Triple-A Pawtucket … Alexi Casilla (hamstring) hopes to return from the disabled list by the weekend … Pedro Feliciano and Damaso Marte are unlikely to return this season after suffering setbacks with their respective shoulder injuries …


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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