Is this the end of the year for Hanley Ramirez? The Marlins' shortstop felt more discomfort in a setback while on rehab with Single-A Jupiter. He had an MRI Wednesday and the rumors already have him undergoing season-ending surgery to correct his strained shoulder. We'll wait for a final prognosis until the results come in some time Thursday, but it's not good.
Surgery would put a bow on an epically poor season for a first-round pick. A little bit of bad luck, combined with a little bit of injury and some actual poor play resulted in his worst power numbers by far. With the position being so tough, his .243 10/20 season probably provided some non-negative value to his fantasy teams, but relative to his draft position… yeah. If it's minor surgery, call him a value pick in the third round next year. If it's major, let him drop a little further.
A few other players saw their seasons end on Wednesday. Michael Brantley finally had that season-ending wrist surgery, for one. J.D. Drew injured his middle finger while on rehab and will miss a few more games, but probably not the season. Carlos Quentin is actually taking light swings and his season might not be over either. Manny Acta thinks that Travis Hafner is NOT done for the year, but dude is still in a walking boot and has a history as a slow healer. You can drop him. Justin Morneau is having concussion symptoms again, oh my. He could be shut down any moment, it seems.
* Let's look at some more upbeat news, shall we? How about the callups that we can expect? It looks like Jesus Montero will be up on Thursday, and that is exciting news. Not only is Russell Martin's thumb (and knee) banged up, but Jorge Posada is already losing at-bats at designated hitter. That leaves something like three or four games a week for the youngster to make his mark. Not quite a full slate, but enough to be interesting in deeper leagues. He should be able to do something like a young Posada, maybe with a better batting average, right away. The Yankees also announced that thier young arms Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances are not coming up when rosters expand, but let's focus on the positive.
Devin Mesorasco in Cincinatti makes that two exciting young catchers coming up the bigs. With the Reds out of it, he may actually get some play as they look to next year, but there are two good catchers there already. Most September callups will have playing time issues. Even Anthony Rizzo and all of his promise will have to contend with Jesus Guzman at first base (especially if Guzman continues to hit -- and he had three hits Wednesday). Mike Trout is not a September call-up, but after hitting two home runs Tuesday night, he started again in left field for the Angels. He could see a mixed-league worthy September if he gets enough playing time. Brandon Guyer will come up to the Rays and is a great prospect, but he may only take at-bats away from Matt Joyce against left-handed starters.
* Madison Bumgarner gets the lede in the 'good pitching paragraph.' He fanned 11 cubbies in eight innings and looked dominating. It's unclear if he has fantasy-ace potential with his stuff, but he'll always be a solid fantasy pitcher on that team in that division for sure. Derek Lowe held the Nationals to one run in six innings and even struck out six. He can be started in mixed leagues against mediocre offenses. More impressive was the fact that he finally hit his first major league home run. Chris Capuano held the Marlins to two runs in five innings and looks like he's a good start against mediocre offenses, too. Josh Collmenter held the Rockies to two runs in six innings but only struck out three. Sure, he walked none, but how long can he continue as a fly-ball, no-strikeout, no-walk pitcher? Especially in Arizona. Ubaldo Jimenez gave up three runs in six innings and that counts as good. The six strikeouts were a good sign, so don't count him out next year. It wasn't a complete game for James Shields, but he went eight innings and held the Rangers scoreless, so it was about right for his year.
It seemed like Jake Peavy would make a good spot-start against the struggling Twins, but he gave up six runs in the first inning and allowed home runs to Jason Kubel (sure) and Luke Hughes (what?). Then he settled down for another four scoreless. He's still a play in mixed leagues, even if he's not the Peavy of old. Phil Hughes got beat up by the Red Sox on Wednesday (six runs in 5 2/3 innings). Maybe, even with his 2010 velocity back, he's not the greatest option in mixed leagues. Dontrelle Willis gave up three runs in 6 2/3 innings for a quality start, but now he has 10 walks in his last 13 2/3 innings. For a man with such an extensive history of control problems, that's not a good sign. Randy Wolf gave up six runs in five innings, and home runs to Rafael Furcal, Albert Pujols and Jake Westbrook did him in. He's a fly ball pitcher in a tough home park.
* Bullpen news! Joe Nathan struggled through a save Wednesday. He allowed two runs to the White Sox and isn't quite himself. But he'll finish the year as a closer. Jose Valverde is now 40-for-40 in save chances. Control problem shmontrol problem. Mike Gonzalez went to the Ranger, where he will continue to be a non-factor for saves. But as a lefty that's tough on lefties, he may still be an option holds. Chad Qualls didn't go anywhere despite the rumors.
* The Giants saw some upheaval worthy of their own paragraph. They designated Aaron Rowand and Miguel Tejada for assignment, effectively admitting their mistakes. That means that shortstop will be Orlando Cabrera and Mike Fontenot for now, and possibly in a straight platoon which would favor the short lefty cajun. They also called up non-prospect Brett Pill, who might play some second and is hot so far this year. Cody Ross gets some at-bats in center field and platooning with Brandon Belt (the Baby Giraffe) in left field, especially now since his X-rays came back negative and his hand is okay. Pat Burrell was activated, but should come off the bench most of the time given his glove and foot. The only real pickup for deeper leagues here is Belt, who has great upside and could capitalize upon it at any time.
National League Quick Hits: Ryan Braun had two hits, and one was a triple, but we'll all remember his would-be face-plant inside-the-park home run more … Ike Davis says his ankle feels fine while running, so he'll be tested with more strenuous activity shortly … Drew Stubbs managed two hits against the dominant Cliff Lee, but you can't expect much more than a .260 batting average with his strikeout rate … Rafael Furcal had two hits (one a home run) but hasn't shown the revitalization we need to make him mixed-league relevant … Wilson Ramos (food poisoning) could return by Thursday ... How about Jake Westbrook, who gave up two earned in five innings but added a grand slam to help his own effort … Ted Lilly held the Padres two two runs in 5 2/3 innings, which is only meh given the situation … J.A. Happ had seven scoreless, but it was against the Pirates so take it with a grain of salt (not to mention that James McDonald, who also struck out six, but only allowed one earned in six innings, could have easily won the game as well)… Mike Leake may be shut down after one or two more starts … Johan Santana might resume rehab but is still unlikely to return this year … Scott Rolen (shoulder) is taking ground balls and might be back in a couple weeks.
American League Quick Hits: Adrian Beltre returns Thursday … Eric Hosmer had his first multi-homer game and should have many in his future (provided he stops hitting so many dang ground balls) … Kelly Johnson had a home run and is hitting pretty well in his new home … Mike Carp hit an RBI double to win the the Felix Hernandez vs Dan Haren duel but is still probably a true talent .250 hitter … Brandon Allen had two hits in the 16-inning loss to the Indians, and even if his batting average won't hold, he'll be useful … Tsuyoshi Nishioka was held out of Wednesday's game with 'general soreness' … Carlos Guillen, in perpetual rehab, had four hits at Triple-A, and Ryan Raburn is rooting against him, maybe in his heart of hearts … A.J. Pierzynski is back Friday, but Ozzie Guillen says he'll continue to find the young Tyler Flowers playing time … Brent Lillibridge hit another home run off a lefty, which is the only time he should be in any fantasy lineups … Conor Jackson is also best used against left-handers, but now he's on the crowded Boston Red Sox after a late waiver deal … Jack Hannahan had three hits and two were solo home runs, but he still only managed 50 at-bats for the whole month of August.