D.J. Short

Baseball Daily Dose

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Ike Sticks Around

Friday, May 25, 2012

Ike Davis isn't going anywhere. At least not yet. Amid increased speculation that the struggling first baseman was days away from a possible demotion, the Mets informed Davis on Thursday that he will work continue to work through his season-long funk at the major league level.

Davis was hyped as a potential sleeper this spring after missing nearly all of last season with a bone bruise in his ankle, but he has been one of the least productive hitters in the majors through April and May. Even after delivering a pinch-hit two-run single in the eighth inning of Thursday's loss to the Padres, the 25-year-old is hitting just .164/.218/.295 with five homers and a .512 OPS through 156 plate appearances.

It seems pitchers have adjusted to Davis, but he simply hasn't done the same. Faced with an increased number of breaking pitches, he is chasing more pitches outside the zone, which has resulted in more strikeouts and less walks. And while he's actually hitting line drives slightly more often than he did last year, his fly ball rate has dropped considerably.

Though the Mets won't say it, I suspect part of the motivation behind Thursday's announcement was to take a little pressure off Davis. If the team gives off the vibe that his roster spot is safe, perhaps Davis won't have to answer the same questions night after night from the media. Worth a shot, but if he continues to flail away at the plate, it will remain a topic of conversation. And there's still a roster crunch coming once Ruben Tejada, Josh Thole and Jason Bay all return from the disabled list. If Davis still isn't hitting two weeks from now, the Mets may have no other choice but to send him down. Those in deeper mixed leagues and NL-only formats should get a backup plan in place.
Danks Lands on the DL

John Danks finally showed signs of turning things around by tossing 6 1/3 shutout innings Saturday against the Cubs, but fantasy owners will have to wait a little while for a follow-up.

Danks was scratched from his scheduled start Friday against the Indians due to shoulder soreness and will be placed on the disabled list. The southpaw said he initially felt the soreness during his last start, but it wouldn't be a surprise if he has been pitching through it for a while. He owns an ugly 5.70 ERA through nine starts this season while his velocity, strikeout rate and swinging strike rate are all down from his career norms.

The good news is that the White Sox don't seem to think it's anything serious. Danks expects to return on June 4 and there's a good chance he won't even need a minor league rehab start.

Jose Quintana, who tossed 5 1/3 shutout innings of relief in his major league debut on May 8 against the Indians, will be called up from the minors to start Friday. The 23-year-old southpaw has a 2.77 ERA and 41/14 K/BB ratio over nine starts with Double-A Birmingham this year, but fantasy owners are advised to look elsewhere.

Courting Oswalt

The pursuit of free agent Roy Oswalt is starting to get interesting. After the veteran right-hander reportedly auditioned for the Rangers, Cardinals and Red Sox last week, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported Thursday that the Orioles now have him on their radar.

Jayson Stark of ESPN.com later confirmed Heyman's report while adding that Oswalt's preference would be to pitch for the Rangers, Cardinals or Braves. However, there's no indication the Cardinals or Braves are interested. The Red Sox and Phillies have also been mentioned in connection with Oswalt, but since both teams are up against the luxury tax, they are considered unlikely to give him the big-money contract he covets.

The Orioles would have been unthinkable as a possible destination a few months ago, but they'll enter play Friday with the best record in the American League at 28-17. There's no sign that the interest is mutual, at least not yet, but it's possible Oswalt's agent will at least string the Orioles along to get his client the contract he really wants. The Rangers may be the best fit now that Neftali Feliz is nursing a UCL sprain in his elbow and could return as a reliever.

Oswalt will likely need about a month to get ready once he signs with a team, so there shouldn't be a huge sense of urgency to stash him in shallow mixed leagues right now. He pitched well enough when healthy last year, posting a 3.69 ERA and 93/33 K/BB ratio over 139 innings with the Phillies, but is that reason enough to waste a roster spot for a month while pitchers like R.A. Dickey, Andy Pettitte, Erik Bedard, Drew Smyly, Anthony Bass and Jon Niese are still widely available in many mixed leagues? I don't think so.

NL Quick Hits: Emilio Bonifacio is expected to miss four to six weeks following thumb surgery Friday. Austin Kearns (hamstring) was placed on the disabled list Thursday, so Bryan Petersen and Chris Coghlan should get regular playing time in the Marlins' outfield for now … David Wright went 3-for-5 with a two-run homer in Thursday's loss to the Padres and continues to lead the majors with a .405 batting average … Lance Berkman is scheduled to undergo exploratory surgery on his right knee Friday. He was diagnosed with a meniscus tear earlier this week, but the 36-year-old believes there may also be damage to his ACL … Jimmy Rollins went 2-for-6 in his return from the paternity leave list Thursday … Freddie Freeman didn't start Thursday due to continued issues with his contact lenses … Chipper Jones is sidelined indefinitely after reporting that his left calf felt worse Thursday than when he pinch-hit on Wednesday … Carlos Quentin (knee) will resume his minor league rehab assignment Friday with High-A Lake Elsinore … Michael Bourn hit his fourth home run of the season on Thursday, matching his total from 2010 and 2011 combined … Marco Estrada landed on the disabled list Thursday with a right quad strain and is expected to miss three to four starts … Logan Ondrusek notched the save in the Reds' win over the Braves on Thursday night … Jhoulys Chacin went for a second opinion on his ailing right shoulder Thursday …

AL Quick Hits: Albert Pujols went 3-for-4 with his fifth homer of the season -- and his fourth in his past nine games -- in Thursday's win over the Mariners … Austin Jackson will be placed on the disabled list before Friday's game with an abdominal strain … Dan Haren struck out a career-high 14 and walked none as part of his fourth career shutout Thursday against the Mariners … Justin Masterson tossed seven innings of one-run ball in a win over the Tigers and Justin Verlander on Thursday, but also walked five and has now issued 34 free passes in just 62 1/3 innings this season … Justin Morneau clubbed a pair of homers in Thursday's loss to the White Sox … Ryan Doumit didn't start Thursday because he felt something in his strained right calf muscle during Wednesday's game … Miguel Olivo (groin) was activated from the disabled list Thursday, but the much-maligned Chone Figgins managed to keep his roster spot … Darnell McDonald (oblique) is scheduled to begin a minor league rehab assignment Friday with Triple-A Pawtucket … Daisuke Matsuzaka (elbow) will make his next minor league rehab start Saturday after recently being shut down due to pain in his right trapezius muscle …  Travis Hafner didn't start Thursday due to a right knee bruise and is considered day-to-day …

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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