The Phillies offense has sputtered this season, to say the least, so they can’t afford to lose any more big bats in their lineup. Unfortunately, though, that’s what has happened.
Hunter Pence sat out Monday’s game against the Diamondbacks with a left shoulder injury that he suffered on Sunday when attempting to make a diving catch. At this point, the Phillies are calling the outfielder day-to-day. But, he’s yet to be examined, so it’s certainly possible the ailment could wind up being more severe.
"I felt it after it happened but I had adrenaline going," Pence said in the Philadelphia Inquirer. "Until this morning when I woke up, I didn't have the mobility that you need. I want to try to do more, but they don't want me to. Hopefully it's not a big deal.”
John Mayberry started in right field in Pence’s place Monday and should receive everyday at-bats should Pence miss significant time. The Phillies are obviously hoping that’s not the case, though.
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Francisco Liriano has gotten off to a woeful start this season, posting an 11.02 ERA and 2.33 WHIP over his first four starts. The Twins have decided that those numbers don’t need to get any worse this week.
Liriano will have his next outing skipped, instead throwing a couple bullpen sessions before returning to the rotation next Tuesday against the Angels.
"It's about being able to relax on the mound. He knows that," manager Ron Gardenhire said in the Pioneer Press. "He actually says he has confidence, and he'll tell you himself, when he gets a man out there (on base), he starts spinning a little bit - well, he has to be able to control that. It's a work in progress. Let him take a step back and try to relax."
Liriano is coming off a disappointing 2011 campaign, but he drew some intrigue from fantasy owners with a terrific spring training, when he held a 2.33 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and 33/5 K/BB ratio over 27 innings. According to Fangraphs.com, the left-hander is averaging 91.8 mph with his fastball this season, the same number he averaged last year. His fastball came in at 93.7 mph in 2010 and 94.7 mph in 2006, though, which, not surprisingly, were his best two seasons. But, the Twins think his stuff is fine and he just needs to relax and throw strikes. We shall see.
Matsui Catches on with Rays
Hideki Matsui batted just .251/.321/.375 with 12 homers last season for the A’s, and he’ll turn 38 in June. The Japanese import isn’t ready to call it a career, though, and it appears that he’s finally found a home.
As first reported by Jack Curry of the YES Network, Matsui is expected to sign a minor league deal with the Rays. Matsui is expected to first report to extended spring training before joining the team’s Triple-A affiliate in Durham.
It doesn’t seem like a great landing spot for the veteran, as the A’s outfield is full, they have Luke Scott to handle the DH slot and they just picked up Brandon Allen off waivers. But, Matsui’s options were probably limited, and Scott has had injury issues at times. It’s possible he could factor into their plans eventually.
National League Quick Hits: Chase Utley (knee) was able to field grounders and take batting practice prior to Monday’s game. He still has some pain in the field, but he does seem to be coming along, slowly but surely. He remains without a timetable … Jason Bay had to exit the second game of Monday's doubleheader with bruised ribs. X-rays came back negative, but he'll be reevaluated Tuesday before his status is determined … Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson expects Chris Young (shoulder) to require a longer than minimum stay on the disabled list. He didn’t offer a timetable, though … Tyler Pastornicky didn’t start Monday for the third straight day. He’s batting just .175/.214/.325 over his 43 plate appearances and could be in danger of a demotion if he doesn’t pick it up … Nate Schierholtz fell a double short of the cycle in the first game of Monday’s doubleheader against the Mets and added three more hits in the nightcap. All told, he finished the day with 13 total bases and is now batting .372/.404/.744 for the season … Rodrigo Lopez was designated for assignment Monday. The Cubs hope he’ll accept an assignment at Triple-A Iowa … Ronny Cedeno has landed on the disabled list with a left intercostal strain and is expected to miss three weeks. Jordany Valdespin will handle a utility role while Cedeno is out.
American League Quick Hits: Cody Ross is doing his best to keep the Red Sox from getting buried early on this season. He homered twice Monday, including one to break a tie in the top of the ninth inning. He leads the team with five homers and 13 RBI … Derek Jeter is off to a fine start of his own, as a four-hit game Monday pushed his average up to .411. He’s also got four homers already after falling shy of double-digits in that regard for the first time in his career last season … Bill Hall has agreed to a minor league deal with the Orioles. He could be an option off the O's bench at some point … Daniel Bard has been moved to the bullpen for the time being while his next start gets skipped, and he picked up a win in relief Monday. The Red Sox are still committed to him as a starter, though, at least for now … The Yankees will skip Freddy Garcia's turn in the rotation Saturday, but they insist he hasn’t lost his rotation spot. It should only be a matter of time, though, as Andy Pettitte is due back in a couple weeks … Lorenzo Cain (groin) is expected to be activated from the disabled list Friday. He remains an intriguing mixed league flier … Agent Scott Boras says his client, Mike Gonzalez, will sign with someone in the next 10 days … Michael Pineda (shoulder) will receive an MRI Tuesday, at which point we should know more about his status. He’s already not expected back prior to the All-Star break, though … An MRI on Adrian Beltre's left leg came back clean, and he should return to the lineup shortly … Greg Holland (rib) is expected to miss three weeks. Jonathan Broxton will continue to handle save chances in Kansas City.