D.J. Short

Baseball Daily Dose

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Darvish Survives Shaky Debut

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


It was easy to get carried away with the hype surrounding Yu Darvish, especially after he showed his electric stuff against major league hitters this spring while posting a solid 3.60 ERA and 21/8 K/BB ratio over 15 innings. But we were reminded Monday night that he is indeed human.

Darvish showed some nerves in his major league debut against the Mariners, giving up five runs on eight hits and four walks over 5 2/3 innings. He appeared to be on the ropes in the first inning, throwing 42 pitches while allowing four runs on four hits and three walks. However, he bounced back quite nicely from there, even retiring 10 batters in a row at one point. The Japanese right-hander walked Dustin Ackley and gave up a single to Ichiro Suzuki with two outs in the sixth before being pulled after 110 pitches.

While Darvish's debut was a mixed bag, he showed good movement on his assortment of pitches and averaged right around 93 mph on his fastball. The Rangers' offense also pounded out 11 runs on 12 hits to give him his first major league victory.

Considering that Darvish looked much better as the game moved along, it's fair to expect better results with the distractions and expectations of his major league start in the rear view mirror. He still carries ace-potential and has a good chance to begin proving it this weekend against the Twins.

Matusz Labors Through Season Debut

Remember all the optimism with Brian Matusz during spring training? Yeah, well, maybe we should tone it down a little. At least for now.

Matusz really struggled in his season debut Monday night against the Yankees, allowing four runs on six hits and four walks over four innings. He registered just one strikeout and threw only 52 out of 96 pitches for strikes. The good news was that he averaged 90.32 mph on his fastball (up a couple ticks from where he was last year), but he just didn't seem to have any real feel for the strike zone.

Pitching against the Yankees is a challenge even for the most accomplished of pitchers, so it's probably too soon to panic. But after Matusz posted an obscene 10.69 ERA over 49 2/3 innings last year, the Orioles probably wouldn't hesitate sending him down to the minors if he struggles through the first month of the season. Have some patience in AL-only leagues, but those in mixed formats likely have better options at their disposal.

Troubling News For Storen

We probably won't see Nationals' closer Drew Storen on a major league mound any time soon. The 24-year-old right-hander is scheduled to visit with Dr. James Andrews on Tuesday after feeling some tenderness in his elbow during a simulated game on Sunday.

While the Nationals don't believe Storen has any ligament damage in the elbow (decreases the likelihood of Tommy John surgery), they fear that he could be dealing with a bone chip or loose bodies. Still, any procedure on the elbow would likely put him on the shelf for a large chunk of the season.

The Nationals are expected to move forward with Brad Lidge and Henry Rodriguez splitting save chances. They should both be owned in all leagues at this point, but given Lidge's own health issues over the past couple of seasons, Rodriguez is the one I would grab. Even though he gave up the game-winning hit on Monday night against the Mets, the hard-throwing right-hander has the potential to be a late-inning force.

Extensions For Kinsler and Santana

Big late night news in the baseball world, as both Ian Kinsler and Carlos Santana have reportedly reached contract extensions with their respective teams.

According to Jordan Bastian of MLB.com, Santana's deal with the Indians will likely cover his arbitration years and possibly his first year of free agency. The 26-year-old is currently under team control through the 2016 season. We should hear more details at some point on Tuesday.

As for Kinsler, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that his contract is worth $75 million over five years and includes a club option for a sixth year. The deal will begin next season and hence cancels out the option on his existing contract.

It's a big deal for Kinsler, who now has the highest AAV (average annual value) ever for a second baseman, topping Dan Uggla's five-year, $62 million contract with the Braves. Chase Utley's seven-year, $85 million contract with the Phillies still takes the cake for highest total value. Of course, Robinson Cano's next contract will likely blow all of them out of the water. He's currently due to become a free agent after 2013.

National League Quick Hits: Brandon Phillips will likely sit out Tuesday after leaving Monday's game against the Cardinals with cramping in his left hamstring … Barry Zito tossed his first shutout since 2003 in a win over the Rockies on Monday … Giancarlo Stanton was scratched from Monday's lineup due to left knee pain, but is considered day-to-day … Mike Morse (lat) is scheduled to come off the disabled list for Thursday's home opener while teammate Rick Ankiel (quad) will likely be activated Saturday … Chipper Jones (knee) could be activated from the disabled list as soon as Tuesday … Tim Hudson (back) is scheduled to make his second minor league rehab start Tuesday … Ike Davis, who is 0-for-15 so far this season, is scheduled to get the day off Tuesday … Dexter Fowler is just 1-for-11 so far this season while Dan Uggla is just 1-for-13 …  Jed Lowrie (begin) will begin a minor league rehab assignment Tuesday with Triple-A Oklahoma City and could come off the disabled list on Friday … Omar Infante slugged a pair of homers in Monday's win over the Phillies … Bryan LaHair has a homer and two doubles since returning from a stiff back on Sunday … Homer Bailey was knocked around for four runs on six hits (including three homers) over 5 2/3 innings in a loss to the Cardinals on Monday, doing little to silence those who think Aroldis Chapman should be in the starting rotation … Freddy Sanchez (shoulder) is expected to begin a minor league rehab assignment by the end of this week …  Justin Maxwell slugged a pinch-hit homer in his Astros' debut Monday against the Braves …

American League Quick Hits: Hector Santiago locked down his second save Monday against the Indians, despite giving up a solo homer to Jose LopezSergio Santos blew his second straight save opportunity Monday against the Red Sox … Chris Sale allowed one run over 6 2/3 innings Monday against the Indians in his first major league start … Derek Jeter and Matt Wieters both had four-hit games Monday … C.J. Wilson tossed seven innings of one-run ball Monday in his Angels' debut Monday against the Twins … Alfredo Aceves pitched a perfect 1-2-3 ninth inning Monday against the Blue Jays for his first save of the season … Jesus Montero missed Monday's game due to a stomach bug … Tommy Milone tossed eight shutout innings in a win over the Royals on Monday night, despite failing to register a strikeout … Hector Noesi was smacked around for seven runs on six hits and three walks in a loss to the Rangers on Monday … The Athletics designated Brandon Allen for assignment after activating Daric Barton from the disabled list … Franklin Gutierrez (pectoral) and Mike Carp (shoulder) could begin minor league rehab assignments later this week … Zach Britton (shoulder) is scheduled to play catch Thursday … Andy Pettitte allowed one run over three innings Monday in his first minor league tune-up with High-A Tampa … Joey Devine is scheduled to undergo elbow surgery Tuesday …



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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