Matt Kemp’s MLB-leading streak of 399 consecutive games played in came to an end Monday, and it’s not the last one he’s going to miss.
The Dodgers slugger has been placed on the disabled list with a left hamstring strain, an injury that he first suffered a week ago and aggravated on Sunday. Kemp and the Dodgers seem optimistic that he’ll only be sidelined for a couple weeks, but it will just depend on how his recovery goes, as hamstrings can be tricky.
Tony Gwynn Jr. figures to be the Dodgers’ primary center fielder while Kemp is on the shelf. The injury will also open up more playing time for Bobby Abreu, Scott Van Slyke and Jerry Sands, who was summoned from Triple-A Albuquerque to replace Kemp on the roster. The Dodgers beat the Diamondbacks Monday to retain their six-game lead over the Giants in the NL West, but they’ll be hard-pressed to maintain that gap while arguably the best player in the game is out.
The Royals entered play Monday with a 4.58 team ERA, good for 12th among American League teams and 26th overall in baseball. Now, they’ll have to make do without the most talented member of their rotation.
Danny Duffy has been diagnosed with a torn left ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow, and unless a second opinion from Dr. Lewis Yocum offers unexpected optimism, the hard-throwing left-hander will have to undergo Tommy John surgery.
The 23-year-old Duffy had been inconsistent so far this season, posting a 3.90 ERA and 1.59 WHIP through six starts. He struck out a batter per inning, though, and his ability to occasionally touch the upper-90s with his heater was just part of the reason why he was so intriguing. But, assuming he indeed does have the operation, he’ll now miss the rest of season and likely most of the first half of 2013.
The Royals’ options to replace Duffy aren’t very exciting, especially with Jonathan Sanchez (biceps) also on the disabled list. Currently, the back end of the rotation is filled by Vin Mazzaro and Luis Mendoza. They have some promising arms in the minors, but Mike Montgomery’s struggles at Triple-A have continued and no one else appears ready for the big leagues.
Jeff Niemann had been on quite a roll for the Rays, posting a 3.48 ERA and 1.16 WHIP while striking out 30 over 33 2/3 innings through his first six starts of the season. Unfortunately, he won’t be making another start anytime soon.
Niemann took an Adam Lind comebacker off the lower right leg Monday, suffering a small fracture of his fibula. The tall right-hander is expected to be sidelined for at least 4-6 weeks, and manager Joe Maddon made it sound like it will probably be on the longer end of the projection.
The Rays haven’t decided who will replace Niemann in the rotation. They could move Wade Davis in from the bullpen. Davis has posted a tidy 2.04 ERA and 1.19 WHIP out of the pen, but he made 29 starts in each of the previous two seasons for Tampa. If they decide that they like Davis where he’s at, Alex Cobb is the most likely option at Triple-A Durham to receive a promotion.
Robertson Dealing With Sore Side
With the Yankees nursing an 8-5 lead over the Orioles Monday, we figured we would see David Robertson warming up in the top of the ninth inning in preparation for his third save chance since taking over for the great Mariano Rivera.
Instead, it was Rafael Soriano getting loose and subsequently nailing down the save a few minutes later. As it turns out, Robertson is dealing with some soreness in his left side and will require an MRI on Tuesday. He first felt something in his last appearance on Friday, but he and the Yanks didn’t let anyone know until Monday.
Robertson expressed optimism that it won’t be an injury that leads to a DL stint, but we have our doubts. If it’s his oblique that’s hurt, that not only usually leads to a DL stint, but one that’s likely to last well over the minimum two weeks. Even if the MRI comes back clean, Soriano needs to be owned in all leagues.
National League Quick Hits: Troy Tulowitzki left Monday's game with a left leg injury that was the result of him being hit with a foul ball while waiting for his turn to bat. He initially stayed in the game and even legged out an infield single but was then removed. The early word is that he should be OK, but we'll know more later Tuesday ... Bryce Harper launched the first homer of his career in Monday’s win over the Padres. He's now hitting just .232/.313/.393 and probably won’t be a great mixed league option this season, but obviously there’s a ton of upside … Stephen Drew (ankle) could begin a minor league rehab assignment Sunday … Juan Uribe was placed on the DL Monday with recurring left wrist soreness. Adam Kennedy and Elian Herrera figure to see the bulk of the time at third base while Uribe is out … Freddy Sanchez will undergo an MRI on his lower back. He’s still not totally over his shoulder injury and should be considered out indefinitely … Jason Bay (rib) has been cleared to resume baseball activities and is hoping to be back before the end of the month … Carlos Beltran was scratched from Monday’s game after feeling some soreness in his surgically-repaired knee. He was able to pinch-hit, though, and says he isn’t worried … Henry Rodriguez was pulled from a save opportunity Monday after walking the bases loaded. Nats manager Davey Johnson had expressed confidence in the hard-throwing righty, but after a couple blown saves and a near-disaster in the last week, he might change his mind … Sandy Leon’s major league debut Monday didn’t even last four innings, as he suffered a high-ankle sprain that will land him on the 60-day DL.
American League Quick Hits: Desmond Jennings has finally landed on the DL with a left knee sprain. The Rays waited a week for him to get better but decided not to wait any longer … Torii Hunter has been placed on the restricted list after leaving the team following the arrest of his son for alleged sexual assault. It’s not clear at this point how long he’ll be away from the team … Ivan Nova was diagnosed with a contusion and sprain of his right foot and ankle after being hit with a liner Monday. He initially stayed in the game, though, and he could make his next start … Addison Reed closed out the White Sox’ win Monday, following Hector Santiago and Matt Thornton. Manager Robin Ventura has mentioned using a committee of the three relievers in the closer gig, but we’d bet on Reed over the long haul … Jon Lester spun a gem Monday, notching his first nine-inning complete game since June of 2010 … Jonathan Broxton converted his seventh straight save chance Monday and has allowed just one run over his last 11 appearances … Daniel Schlereth experienced a setback recently and will have his shoulder checked out … Jacoby Ellsbury (shoulder) is not expected back when eligible on June 13. He’s yet to resume baseball-related activities … Justin Morneau (wrist) took 30-40 swings Monday in batting practice. He's eligible to return from the disabled list on Wednesday, though it's unclear if he’ll be activated at that time.