Giants closer Brian Wilson told manager Bruce Bochy that he tweaked his ankle last Thursday while converting a shaky save against the Rockies. In reality, though, he was actually pitching with a right elbow that was severely damaged.
Wilson is expected to undergo Tommy John surgery soon, and he admitted that his elbow has actually bothered him since 2010, telling CSNBayArea.com that he’s been pitching “on borrowed time.”
It’s an unfortunate bit of news for The Beard’s fantasy owners, but they should have known they were drafting a risk after Wilson dealt with elbow issues during the second half last season. So, who is likely to replace him in the ninth inning?
Bochy is telling the media that it will be a closer by committee situation, which obviously isn’t what fantasy owners want to hear. But, the smart money right now seems to be on Santiago Casilla, who converted all six of his save chances last season while filling in for Wilson. Casilla has always had issues with his control, but he also has terrific stuff and is good enough to grab the role and run with it.
Also potentially in the mix will be Sergio Romo, Jeremy Affeldt and possibly Dan Otero. Romo has been one of the better setup men in the National League the last few years, possessing a phenomenal 5.51 K/BB ratio in his career. We think he’s the best choice for the role, but he hasn’t been very durable and the Giants might seek a steadier presence. Casilla should be your top target, but all are worthy of speculative adds, depending on the depth of your league.
Of course, it’s always possible the Giants could look for help outside the organization to fill the role. There’s been speculation that Brett Myers could be a fit, and Bob Nightengale of USA Today says the Astros are shopping him. San Fran could also target someone like Joel Hanrahan, who is on a non-contender and is in line for a big payday before long.
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Bobby V Bashes Youk
New Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine has always been rather outspoken, and he might have put his foot in his mouth on WHDH's Sports Xtra show Sunday night.
Valentine said that cleanup hitter Kevin Youkilis isn’t “as physically or emotionally into the game as he has been in the past for some reason.”
The manager added, "But [on Saturday] it seemed, you know, he's seeing the ball well, got those two walks, got his on-base percentage up higher than his batting average, which is always a good thing, and he'll move on from there."
Youk is batting just .200/.265/.233 so far this season, but he’s been hitting the ball better the last few games, so the timing of the comments is a little strange. There’s a good chance that Valentine could do some damage control and downplay what he said and this will all blow over, but it could also fester into an uncomfortable situation between a manager and one of his best players.
Collmenter to Get the Call Again
Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson has had to defend Josh Collmenter often, and he’s doing so again following the unorthodox right-hander’s poor start.
Collmenter will get the ball again on Thursday night against the Braves despite the fact that he’s given up 11 runs -- 10 earned -- in seven innings covering his first two starts. The outings followed a horrible spring training where Collmenter posted a 9.95 ERA over six outings.
"He's done it in the past," Gibson said in the Arizona Republic. "We have confidence in him. He's had two starts. He didn't have a good spring. But we believe he can do that. He knows how to get guys out."
Collmenter probably deserves some more leash after what he did last year, but don’t forget that most scouts have always pegged him as a reliever or a back-end starter, at best. Even though Gibson has seemingly defended him at every turn, he’s smart enough to realize that last year’s first-round pick, Trevor Bauer, is a much more dynamic option and is nearly big league ready. Bauer has allowed just one run over his first three starts for Double-A Mobile, giving up just eight hits over 15 2/3 innings while striking out 20. He’s a much better long-term bet than Collmenter.
National League Quick Hits: Heath Bell’s Marlins career hasn’t gotten off on the right foot. Bell is now 0-for-2 in save opportunities with the Fish after blowing one Saturday, when he allowed four runs in the top of the ninth to a feeble Astros lineup. He has a long leash given his track record and contract, but he can’t be trusted in fantasy right now … Ryan Vogelsong struck out seven in his first start of the season Sunday, holding the Pirates to two runs over 6 1/3 innings. He had been out with a back injury … Tyler Clippard is experiencing shoulder discomfort, but Nationals manager Davey Johnson says it’s no big deal. He’s probably right, at least for now. It’s certainly something to file away, though … Carlos Beltran had to leave Sunday’s game after being hit on the forearm with a pitch. The Cardinals seem confident he’ll be ready to play Tuesday, though, following Monday’s off day. Lance Berkman (calf) and David Freese (finger) could also be ready at that point … Jose Contreras was activated from the DL Sunday. He had been on a rehab assignment following elbow surgery … Skip Schumaker (oblique) began a rehab assignment Sunday, drawing a walk in three plate appearances for Triple-A Memphis. He could be ready to return in a week or so … Jason Bay was scratched from Sunday's lineup with a jammed right finger, but X-rays were negative and he’s considered day-to-day.
American League Quick Hits: Kyle Drabek was a disaster last season, but he cracked the rotation in 2012 and is off to a tremendous start, holding a 1.42 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and 10/4 K/BB ratio through his first 12 2/3 innings. There’s still certainly risk here, but don’t forget that he was considered one of the best pitching prospects in the game at this point last season … Carl Crawford (wrist) could be ready for an extended spring training game Tuesday. He’s still not expected back prior to May, though … Matt Moore has had control issues early on this season, walking nine through his first 13 frames. He dealt with similar issues early in his minor league career, but he appeared to correct them last season, and we’re still bullish on his long-term prognosis for 2012 … Andy Pettitte threw four shutout innings in his most recent minor league start. He’s still on track for an early May return … Justin Morneau could see some starts at first base soon. He’s been used exclusively at DH to this point due to ongoing concussion symptoms … Nick Blackburn left Saturday’s start in the sixth inning with right shoulder stiffness, but an MRI came back normal and he hasn't been ruled out for his next turn in the rotation … Michael Bowden was designated for assignment Sunday by the Red Sox. He was formally a pretty good prospect and is still just 25, so the odds of him getting claimed are probably pretty high.