Matt Stroup

Baseball Daily Dose

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Mariano's Milestone

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I hereby submit a motion before the committee to rename Sept. 13, 2011 as “Aging Baseball Players’ Pretty Important Milestone Day.”

The most notable and impressive of said milestones: Mariano Rivera’s 41st save of the season was No. 600 of his career, moving the indefatigable 41-year-old (2.05 ERA, 0.93 WHIP in 2011) to within one save of Trevor Hoffman’s all-time mark of 601.

Also registering a significant (if slightly obscure) statistical landmark: 37-year-old Johnny Damon, whose 15th steal of the year made him the ninth player in MLB history to record 200-plus homers and 400-plus steals.

Meanwhile, not wanting to miss out on the excitement, 45-year-old Tim Wakefield finally picked up win No. 200 with his first victory since July 24.

And though he doesn't really fit in this section given that he's only 28 years old, it should be noted that Justin Verlander became the first player since 2002 to win 23 games in a season.

In other news from Tuesday:

* The Rangers activated Nelson Cruz, who’s only 31, but has hamstrings aged 62 and 74, respectively. And unfortunately, Cruz returns with a caveat: He’ll be limited to pinch-hitting for now. Once he is ready to return to the lineup, it appears that he’ll initially do so as a DH.

* More hamstring news: Mike Stanton estimated that his injury is at around 70 percent, telling that “I feel like [a return is] pretty close.” Either way, the Marlins may opt to play it cautious for a few more days. Meanwhile, Logan Morrison could return as soon as Thursday after being diagnosed with a bruised right patella and chronic patella tendinitis.

* It initially appeared to be a good news Tuesday for the Rockies, as Carlos Gonzalez (back) and Troy Tulowitzki (hip) returned to action. However, Tulowitzki left in the sixth inning after his hip flared up once again. No word as of Wednesday morning how serious the setback was, but fantasy owners have to hope it doesn't ruin the remainder of Tulo's September.

* Some closing news out of Baltimore: Jim Johnson picked up the final out of Tuesday’s game to record his fifth save, which is notable because we haven’t heard word of an injury to Kevin Gregg, who blew his seventh save of the year in his last outing on Saturday. Buck Showalter may have just been giving Gregg a brief break from closing, but Johnson is worth a speculative look if saves remain at a premium in your league.

* Matt Holliday left Tuesday’s game due to a right hand injury in the ninth inning. The specific nature of the injury remained unclear as of Wednesday morning, but reports that Holliday thinks he has “a ligament or tendon problem.” Obviously that doesn’t sound good, but we’ll be watching for updates throughout Wednesday.

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Pitcher injury notes: Josh Beckett (ankle) is expected to rejoin the rotation on Friday against the Rays … Andrew Bailey was available Tuesday after being struck by a batting practice line drive on Monday … Kyle Farnsworth (elbow) remains day-to-day, with Joel Peralta temporarily filling in as closer … Clay Buchholz (back) could throw a bullpen later this week, but it remains uncertain if he’ll return this season … Jonathan Sanchez (ankle) is headed to the Giants’ spring training complex in hopes of potentially returning during the final week … Francisco Liriano (shoulder) and Scott Baker (elbow) will both throw bullpens Wednesday as they attempt to return as relievers this season … Jason Isringhausen (back) told ESPNNewYork that he’s not close to returning … Josh Tomlin (elbow) was scheduled to work out with the Indians Tuesday, but isn’t yet ready to be activated … The Cardinals activated Eduardo Sanchez (shoulder) from the 60-day DL.

Position player injury notes: Per beat writer Adam Rubin, Jose Reyes still feels some tightness in his hamstring and is concerned about running all-out on it, which helps explain his total of one steal in his last 17 games … Kevin Youkilis returned and went 0-for-3 after missing four games due to a sports hernia that will require offseason surgery … David Ortiz was removed from the lineup before his first at-bat due to a sore back, which for the moment sounds like a day-to-day situation … X-rays on Adam Jones’ thumb came back negative, and he made an appearance as a pinch-runner Tuesday … Justin Morneau is still dealing with concussion symptoms, making it increasingly unlikely that he’ll return this year … Jimmy Rollins started a second straight game Tuesday, but could be in line for a day off as soon as Wednesday with Charlie Manuel telling, "I'll probably play him a couple of days and then rest him, play him a couple more then rest him, and then let him go.”

Position player injury notes (part 2): Scott Rolen (shoulder) is not expected to return this season, which means continued playing time for Juan Francisco (.250 avg with three homers and 10 RBI in September) … Shin-Soo Choo (oblique) is on course to return Thursday … Denard Span (concussion) and Alexi Casilla (hamstring) are both still hoping to return this season … The Red Sox transferred J.D. Drew to the 60-day DL … Jason Bay (sore shoulder) was out of Tuesday’s lineup … Will Venable (shoulder) returned Tuesday, going 0-for-3 … Russell Martin (thumb) returned to action … An MRI on Coco Crisp’s foot/ankle came back negative, and he could be back this weekend … Colby Rasmus (wrist) is expected to return Friday … Todd Helton (back) was in the starting lineup Tuesday … Michael Cuddyer (wrist) and Jason Kubel (foot) returned, going 0-for-4 and 0-for-3, respectively.

Miscellaneous notes: The Cardinals officially signed Chris Carpenter to a two-year, $21 million extension … Bruce Bochy said that Pablo Sandoval has regained much of the weight he lost last winter (visual evidence here) … The Rangers are considering moving Alexi Ogando to the bullpen for the rest of the season … Chris Davis is expected to remain the Orioles’ starting third baseman for the remainder of the year … Chris Tillman won’t rejoin the Orioles this year after posting a 5.52 ERA in the majors and a 5.19 ERA at Triple-A … Jered Weaver is slated to pitch on three days’ rest Sunday to set up a potential start on the final day of the regular season … According to a police report, Manny Ramirez slapped his wife during the Monday altercation that landed him in jail … The Marlins released Mike CameronFrancisco Cordero told that he’s unhappy pitching as a set-up man.

Editor’s note: If you want to play Daily Salary Cap Fantasy Baseball for real money, check out SnapDraft here.

Notable pitching: A.J. Burnett struck out a season-high 11 against Seattle … Jordan Walden picked up his 30th save … Drew Storen picked up his 36th save, but first since Aug. 22 … Mike Leake threw eight strong innings against the Cubs in his final start of the season, finishing 2011 with a 12-9 record, 3.86 ERA and 1.17 WHIP.

Notable hitting: Dan Uggla hit his career-high 34th homer … Howie Kendrick hit his 17th and 18th homers of the year … Hitting sixth for the first time since 2008, the slumping Brian McCann belted a three-run homer … Ryan Braun hit a walk-off homer in the 11th to beat the Rockies … David Murphy went 4-for-4 with two homers and four runs scored … Dustin Pedroia went 4-for-5 with two doubles, two home runs, four runs and five RBI.

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