Oh No, O'sFriday, June 01, 2012
The Orioles enter June at 29-22, good enough for a flat-footed tie with the Rays for first place in the American League East. While that's quite an accomplishment given the low expectations coming into the season, Buck Showalter's crew will need a lot of things to go their way in order to hold off the competition. Thursday's news about Nick Markakis isn't going to help matters.
Markakis was diagnosed with a fractured hamate bone in his right wrist on Thursday and is expected to miss three to four weeks following surgery Friday morning. The 28-year-old outfielder originally suffered the injury on a slide into second base a little over a week ago, but the complete break happened when he was swinging the bat on Tuesday night. He'll be placed on the disabled list for the first time in his career prior to Friday's game.
We're used to seeing players miss more than three or four weeks following hamate bone surgery, but the Orioles are optimistic Markakis will return ahead of schedule. While that's a minor piece of good news, the surgery is known to sap a player's power production, often for months at a time. And that's not what you want to hear with someone who hasn't hit more than 18 home runs in a season since 2008.
The Orioles are considering a handful of names to fill in for Markakis in right field, including Ryan Flaherty, Xavier Avery, Jai Miller, Lew Ford and Jamie Hoffman, but none figure to have any appeal outside of AL-only leagues.
NL Stars Hurting
As expected, both Matt Kemp and Troy Tulowitzki were placed on the disabled list Thursday. Tulo's short-term outlook is a bit more promising than Kemp's, though.
Tulowitzki left Wednesday's game with a strained left groin. The Rockies debated whether to go short-handed on their bench for a few days in order to see if Tulo could make a rapid recovery, but they ultimately decided to play things safe.
The injury came at a pretty bad time for Tulowitzki, who had 12 hits in his last 28 at-bats, helping raise his batting average from .261 to .287 in the process. The hope right now is that he'll be able to resume baseball activities in a few days and return as soon as he's eligible. Marco Scutaro figures to slide over from second base to fill in at shortstop, like he did Thursday, but Chris Nelson should also get plenty of playing time now that he's back from the disabled list.
As for Kemp, well, it might be a while before we see him again. He's now dealing with a hamstring strain in a different spot entirely and is expected to miss at least the next four weeks. After returning from the DL on Tuesday and hurting himself just one day later, you can bet the Dodgers will be extra cautious this time around.
One interesting name to monitor in this situation is Alex Castellanos, who replaced Kemp on the active roster. The 25-year-old was acquired from the Cardinals last year in the Rafael Furcal deal and was hitting .379/.476/.759 with five homers, 14 RBI and nine stolen bases through 22 games this season with Triple-A Albuquerque. There could be an opportunity for him at second base with Mark Ellis sidelined, so go ahead and pick him up in NL-only leagues.
Morse Ready to Return
The Nationals' lineup should get a nice boost within the next few days.
Michael Morse declared himself ready to rejoin the Nationals after going 0-for-3 while playing five innings in right field on Thursday in a minor league rehab game with High-A Potomac. It was his first time playing in the field since beginning his rehab assignment. One very promising sign is that Morse was able to make a long throw from right field without feeling any discomfort in his right lat muscle.
Morse went 3-for-9 with a double in three total rehab games with Potomac. The Nationals haven't dismissed the possibility that he'll be activated from the disabled list on Friday, but they could send him to Double-A Harrisburg to continue his rehab. Either way, he's close.
Morse is expected to play right field upon his return while Bryce Harper will play center field and Steve Lombardozzi will remain in left field. Lombardozzi has staked his claim on the leadoff spot in recent days and could be a nice option in deeper mixed leagues moving forward, especially with his handy eligibility at third base and the MI (middle infielder) spot.
NL Quick Hits: Ryan Braun wasn't in the starting lineup Thursday due to lingering tightness in his right Achilles, but it's not a major concern at the moment … After homering in his final three at-bats on Wednesday, Carlos Gonzalez went deep in his first at-bat Thursday. It's the 38th time someone has homered in four straight at-bats, tying an MLB record … Zack Greinke tossed six innings of one-run ball for his sixth win Thursday as the Brewers finished off their first ever series sweep of the Dodgers … USA Today's Bob Nightengale reported Thursday that the Cubs were willing to trade anyone outside of right-hander Jeff Samardzija, but team president Theo Epstein later said that he's not looking to trade shortstop Starlin Castro … Bud Norris was blasted for nine runs over 1 2/3 innings in a loss to the Rockies on Thursday … Ted Lilly is scheduled to undergo an MRI on his left shoulder Friday … Stephen Drew plans to play nine innings in back-to-back extended spring training games on Friday and Saturday for the first time during his rehab from ankle surgery … The Mets are expected to activate Josh Thole (concussion) from the disabled list Friday … Juan Rivera (hamstring) went 1-for-4 with a homer Thursday with High-A Rancho Cucamonga and could return from the disabled list as soon as Friday … Wilson Ramos is scheduled to undergo season-ending surgery Friday to repair the torn ACL in his right knee …
AL Quick Hits: Austin Jackson (abdomen) hit off a tee Thursday and is scheduled to be re-evaluated Friday … Brett Gardner (elbow) could begin taking batting practice this weekend … Alex Avila left Thursday's game after being hit in the mask by a foul ball, but didn't show any signs of a concussion … Jarrod Saltalamacchia socked his 10th home run Thursday night against the Tigers, which leads MLB catchers … An MRI confirmed that Doug Fister aggravated his left costochondral strain, but the Tigers are hopeful that he won't have to miss as much time as his first DL stint … Travis Hafner underwent a right medial meniscectomy Thursday and is expected to miss four to six weeks … Andy Dirks missed his second straight game Thursday due to a right Achilles injury and may need more time to heal … Will Middlebrooks took ground balls at shortstop on Thursday with a possible emergency role in mind. Middlebrooks was originally drafted as a shortstop, but has never played a professional game at the position … David Robertson (oblique) is expected to spend at least two more weeks on the disabled list … Zach Britton (shoulder) appears on track to come off the disabled list next week after allowing two runs (one earned) over seven innings Thursday in his second minor league rehab start with Double-A Bowie … The Blue Jays sent Adam Lind outright to Triple-A Las Vegas after he cleared waivers … Roberto Hernandez, formerly known as Fausto Carmona, could return to the United States by the All-Star break and isn't expected to face a suspension from MLB … Manny Ramirez was scratched from Thursday's lineup with Triple-A Sacramento due to hamstring tightness …