Matt Stroup

Baseball Daily Dose

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Holliday Not Over Yet?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Things were looking bleak for Matt Holliday as recently as Monday, when word came down via Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the St. Louis outfielder was “doubtful” to return this season due to his finger injury.

However, the outlook on Holliday shifted in a decidedly positive direction on Tuesday, when beat writer B.J. Rains reported that the 31-year-old has been cleared to hit off a tee, and is hoping to make it back this weekend against the Cubs. Though a return isn’t guaranteed, it appears that patience could be rewarded for those fantasy owners who haven’t given up on Holliday yet.

In other news from Tuesday:

* Troy Tulowitzki (hip) returned to action as a pinch-hitter and could rejoin the starting lineup Wednesday, but Jim Tracy indicated that his star shortstop might not be playing every inning the rest of the way, telling that “He could start a game, play part of a game, and then come out.” Tulowitzki can still be an effective fantasy option even if missing a few at-bats or a game or two over the final week, so the wisest move for fantasy owners is to get him activated for now, and watch closely how Tracy deploys him in the next few days.

* Manny Ramirez, who was last heard from following a domestic incident with his wife just over a week ago, is back in the news again, this time with a report from Dionisio Soldevila that Manny is planning to report to Aguilas Cibaenas of the Dominican Winter League this weekend. At this point there hasn’t been any indication that Ramirez is planning a major league comeback, and he would have to serve a 100-game PED suspension if he opted to do so.

* Hunter Pence left Tuesday’s doubleheader due to what’s being called patellar tendinitis in his left knee, and is headed for a precautionary MRI Wednesday, according to beat writer David Hale. Pence, however, doesn’t sound worried about the knee and believes he could be able to return to the lineup as soon as Wednesday.

* According to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post, Stephen Strasburg’s start on Friday against the Braves will likely be his last of the year. The 23-year-old has posted a 1.29 ERA, 0.64 WHIP and 11/0 K/BB ratio in 14 innings since returning from Tommy John surgery.

* In closing news: Jim Johnson picked up his eighth save Tuesday, though it should be noted that Buck Showalter reportedly hasn’t ruled out the somewhat odd and seemingly unlikely possibility of Johnson making a start before the season is over. Elsewhere, for the White Sox, Chris Sale received (and converted) a save opportunity instead of the recently struggling Sergio Santos.

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Pitcher injury notes: Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star estimates that Joakim Soria (hamstring) "still seems at least a few days away." … Kyle Farnsworth (elbow) is hoping to return Thursday … Bud Norris left in the third inning with right shoulder discomfort … Johnny Cueto (lat) has officially been shut down for the rest of the season … As of late Tuesday night, Joe Girardi remained uncertain whether Phil Hughes (back) would be ready to start Wednesday … Clay Buchholz (back) threw a successful simultated game as he continues to attempt to return as a reliever … Mark Buehrle (biceps) is on course to start Wednesday … Dontrelle Willis (back) could make one last start this weekend … The Twins activated Scott Baker (elbow) to pitch out of the bullpen … Juan Nicasio was scheduled to have his neck brace removed Tuesday, and is reportedly on course to be 100 percent by spring training … Jason Isringhausen (back) is hoping to return during the Mets’ season-ending homestand, which begins on Friday.

Position player injury notes: Pablo Sandoval, who’s still unable to hit right-handed, may undergo offseason surgery on his left shoulder … Aramis Ramirez (quad) told the Chicago Tribune that he has “probably” played his last game at Wrigley as a Cub, though he could return during the upcoming road trip … Mark Reynolds (head) and Adam Jones (thumb) both returned to the lineup, with Reynolds going 2-for-5 and Jones going 3-for-4 … Asdrubal Cabrera (back) was out of the lineup for the second game of Tuesday’s doubleheader … Kevin Youkilis (hip, hernia) didn’t start Tuesday, but Carl Crawford (neck) did … Kyle Blanks left Tuesday’s game with a right quad strain … Cody Ross (hamstring) told beat writer Andrew Baggarly that he’s dealing with a four-week injury, but is hoping to be able to pinch-hit this weekend after receiving a cortisone shot … Justin Morneau (knee, foot) had successful surgery Tuesday … Denard Span (concussion) is hoping to return in the next day or two.

Position player injury notes (part 2): The Blue Jays placed Yunel Escobar (elbow) on the DL, but he’s eligible to return as soon as next Monday … Billy Butler was scratched due to flu-like symptoms … Jason Bay was out of the lineup due to an illness … Justin Smoak (groin) struck out as a pinch-hitter … Jayson Werth left early with a right elbow contusion … Alexi Casilla (hamstring) reportedly wasn’t 100 percent while testing out his hamstring Tuesday … Will Venable (back) isn’t expected back before Friday … Per beat writer Greg Johns, Eric Wedge is hoping that Casper Wells (sinuses) and Brendan Ryan (neck) can rejoin the Mariners on their current road trip … Jack Hannahan (calf) returned, going 0-for-3 with an RBI … Orlando Hudson left Tuesday’s game after being hit in the face while attempting a diving catch … Alex Gonzalez (who hit his 15th homer Tuesday) left early with a strained right calf.

Miscellaneous notes: Either Matt Moore or Alex Torres is expected to start on Saturday against Toronto … Max Scherzer is slated to start Wednesday, with Doug Fister following him in relief … The Phillies are planning to move Vance Worley to the bullpen after his start on Wednesday … Ben Zobrist (birth of daughter) is expected to be back in time for the second half of Wednesday’s doubleheader … The Reds are reportedly considering sending Aroldis Chapman to winter ball to get him stretched out to start next year … Meanwhile, Pedro Alvarez (who hit his fourth homer Tuesday, but is still hitting just .190) has told the Pirates that he won’t play winter ball … Anthony Rizzo is expected to play winter ball … The Royals recalled Lorenzo Cain, but he figures to just act as a reserve for the last week of the regular season.

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Notable pitching: Clayton Kershaw picked up his 20th win … Derek Holland registered win No. 15 … Heath Bell secured his 40th save after 8 2/3 dominant innings from Mat LatosIvan Nova threw 7 2/3 scoreless innings en route to his 16th win … Shaun Marcum pitched eight innings of one-run ball to beat the Cubs … Tommy Milone threw six scoreless innings against a Phillies lineup missing most of its regulars … Ross Detwiler hurled 7 1/3 scoreless innings in a win over the Phillies … Randall Delgado earned his first major league win with five scoreless innings against the Marlins.

Notable hitting: Adam Dunn doubled twice, giving him back-to-back two-hit games for the first time all season … Jerry Sands homered off a right-hander (specifically Tim Lincecum) for the first time in his career … Eric Hosmer went 5-for-5 and hit his 18th homer … Also going 5-for-5: Mike Carp.

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