Gardner On HoldFriday, June 15, 2012
Surgery was whispered as a possibility as Brett Gardner visited both Dr. James Andrews and Dr. Timothy Kremchek this week, but there's now increased optimism that he'll rejoin the Yankees' lineup at some point in the near future.
The Yankees announced Thursday that Gardner has been diagnosed with a strained elbow, a bone bruise and joint inflammation. The speedy left fielder has already been pulled from two rehab assignments due to setbacks with the elbow, but the doctors agreed that his injury simply hasn't healed yet.
Gardner was given a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection and a cortisone shot by Kremchek on Thursday and was advised to rest for 3-4 weeks with the help of a brace. We won't know much on his progress until he starts doing baseball activities again, but the diagnosis could have been much worse for the Bombers.
The Yankees have relied on Raul Ibanez as their primary left fielder during Gardner's absence and while he has done a fine job offensively, he's better suited for the DH spot given his defensive limitations. If Gardner fails to make progress over the next month, the Yankees will likely be in the market for some outfield help in advance of the July 31 trade deadline.
Belt and Davis Turning the Corner?
Brandon Belt and Ike Davis were popular sleepers in mixed leagues this spring, as many fantasy owners believed they were poised to take major steps forward. They've been largely irrelevant over the first two months of the season, but that is changing in a hurry.
We'll start with Belt. After going homerless over his first 49 games this season, he finally went deep Tuesday night. But that was just the beginning. He also homered on Wednesday night and again on Thursday afternoon. Aubrey Huff is likely bound for the disabled list after injuring his knee attempting to jump over the dugout rail to celebrate Matt Cain's perfect game on Wednesday night (seriously), so Belt should get regular playing time at first base in the short-term. This would be a good time to take a chance on him if he's sitting on the waiver wire.
And then there's Davis. The 25-year-old first baseman appeared at risk for a demotion as recently as last week, but he has eight hits in his last 14 at-bats and has driven in seven runs in the past four games. He has raised his batting average from .158 to .188 during his current hot streak and his OPS now sits at a season-high .593. That's still terrible, but he's headed in the right direction. With his roster spot no longer in immediate jeopardy, I included him in my Waiver Wired recommendations this week.
Rolen Nearing Return
While he wasn't exactly on board with the idea at first, Scott Rolen is scheduled to play rehab games with Triple-A Louisville on Friday and Saturday before returning from the disabled list on Monday.
Rolen has been sidelined since May 12 with a strained left shoulder. The 37-year-old third baseman is hitting just .224/.268/.372 with seven homers, 47 RBI and a .640 OPS in 94 games dating back to the start of last season, so his return isn't necessarily a good thing for the Reds' lineup. That's especially true when you consider that the alternative, Todd Frazier, is hitting .273 with seven homers, 22 RBI and a .904 OPS in 41 games this year.
Rolen doesn't have any appeal in mixed leagues at this point and Frazier's fantasy value will take a big hit even if they share playing time at the hot corner. Things could change in a hurry if (or more likely, when) Rolen hits the disabled list again, but there's not a lot to like here at the moment.
NL Quick Hits: Carlos Beltran sat out Thursday's game after going to the emergency room late Wednesday night with a stomach virus … Brandon Phillips went 3-for-5 with a home run and four RBI in Thursday's win over the Indians and has notched four straight multi-hit games … Johan Santana got the win Thursday against the Rays, but has allowed 10 runs in 10 innings since his no-hitter … The Astros have yet to decide whether Bud Norris (knee) will start Saturday against the Rangers … John Axford blew his second save in as many days Thursday and now has a 5.55 ERA this season ... Stephen Drew (ankle) is slated to play three straight rehab games with Triple-A Reno … Carlos Lee (hamstring) began a minor league rehab assignment Thursday with Double-A Corpus Christi and is on track to rejoin the Astros on Sunday … Kirk Nieuwenhuis clubbed a pair of home runs in Thursday's win over the Rays … Chris Heisey left Thursday's game with a mild left groin strain and is considered day-to-day… Jim Thome connected for his 607th career home in Thursday's win over the Twins and is hitting .458 (11-for-24) with three homers, two doubles and 13 RBI over his last six games. He should remain useful in fantasy leagues with the DH spot available this weekend in Toronto … Charlie Morton underwent Tommy John surgery Thursday and figures to miss the early part of the 2013 season …
AL Quick Hits: Evan Longoria (hamstring) will begin playing in rehab games Saturday with Triple-A Durham … Justin Verlander allowed two runs over eight innings Thursday against the Cubs en route to his first win since May 18 … Luke Scott was placed on the disabled list Thursday with a mid-back strain, but expects to return when he's first eligible on June 24 … Matt Wieters and Steve Pearce each drove in five runs in Thursday's win over the Pirates … Waiver wire sensation Trevor Plouffe hit his 11th home run in the past 20 games on Thursday night … Nelson Cruz (flu) went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts Thursday in his return to the lineup … Adam Dunn (ankle) returned to action Thursday and tied Josh Hamilton for the MLB-lead with his 22nd homer … Doug Fister (left side strain) is on track to return from the disabled list Saturday to start against the Rockies … John Danks is still feeling pain in his left shoulder, but he's scheduled to throw a bullpen session Friday, anyway … Lorenzo Cain (hip) is slated to resume his minor league rehab assignment Sunday with Double-A Northwest Arkansas … The Athletics are hopeful that Yoenis Cespedes (hamstring) will be able to DH this weekend against the Padres … Drew Smyly was placed on the disabled list Thursday with a severe blister on his left middle finger … Koji Uehara will be placed on the disabled list Saturday with a strained right lat muscle and isn't expected to throw for two weeks … The Rangers will call up right-hander Justin Grimm from Double-A Frisco to start Saturday against the Astros …