Injuries are going to hit every team, but the Blue Jays have been hit particularly hard of late, especially when it comes to their starting rotation.
Brandon Morrow went down with an oblique ailment a week ago. Then it was Kyle Drabek with an elbow injury, and next came Drew Hutchison with a similar elbow malady. The 34-32 Jays have their hands full in the AL East, and now they’re scrambling for arms to fill out their rotation.
At least Morrow’s injury won’t be a long-term one. He figures to miss more than the minimum time on the disabled list, but he should be ready to go before the All-Star break. Drabek’s and Hutchison’s ailments are more severe, though, as it’s possible both young right-handers could be facing Tommy John surgery. Drabek has been diagnosed with a tear of his ulnar collateral ligament, and it would be a surprise at this point if he doesn’t undergo season-ending surgery. We’ll know more about Hutchison’s status after he undergoes a second opinion, but he’s likely to miss at least a month, and possibly more.
The only rotation replacement that’s set in stone thus far is Brett Cecil, who was decent Sunday in his first major league start this season. As far as the other two spots go, the Jays are expected to choose from Jesse Chavez, Robert Coello and Carlos Villanueva. Villanueva probably holds the most appeal for AL-only leaguers, but Toronto manager John Farrell seems hesitant to move him in from the bullpen after the righty had arm trouble following the conversion from reliever to starter last season. The Jays could also seek help outside the organization, as they’ve talked to the Rockies about Jeremy Guthrie.
Jurrjens to Get Another Shot
The Braves’ plan was to send Kris Medlen to Triple-A Gwinnett in order to be stretched out before joining the big league rotation. Manager Fredi Gonzalez has reversed course, though, and Jair Jurrjens will be given another chance, replacing the injured Brandon Beachy among the starting five.
“He’s made some progress,” Gonzalez said in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution about Jurrjens. “His velocity has been up there. There’s some separation there with his change-up, so we’re going to give him a shot. He’s been an All-Star; he has the experience. Give him an opportunity again. I’m curious when he comes back to see how he pitches.”
Jurrjens’ 5.27 ERA and 28 strikeouts in 56 1/3 innings at Gwinnett hardly inspire confidence. Earlier this month, he had an outing where he allowed 10 runs – six earned – on 12 hits over just 4 2/3 innings of work. He responded with a couple decent starts after that, but it would be foolish to recommend him outside of NL-only leagues. His first test will come Friday in Boston, and we’re expecting a rude re-welcoming back to the majors.
The Giants are puzzled by Tim Lincecum’s struggles, and they’re really not sure what to do to combat the problem. For now, though, they’ll let the two-time NL Cy Young winner plug along and hope he figures things out.
"He's healthy. He feels good," manager Bruce Bochy said to CSNBayArea.com. "I know the results haven't been great for Timmy, but you just see too many good signs. Even after the first inning (Saturday), he had bad luck there. At this point we think the best thing is to let him fight through this. If we felt different, we'd do it."
Bochy and general manager Brian Sabean have discussed routes to take with the right-hander that range from skipping his turn to sending him to the bullpen. But, at the moment they apparently see enough positives that they’re not ready to take drastic measures. Fantasy owners have a much easier decision to make, though. Lincecum is a risky proposition in mixed leagues right now, even in juicy matchups like the one he has coming up Friday against the A's.
National League Quick Hits: Pedro Alvarez ripped a pair of homers for the second straight game Sunday. Alvarez was benched for a few days in a row earlier this month due to his slump, but he looks ready to go on another hot streak … Brad Lidge was designated for assignment by the Nationals. His control abandoned him after he returned from the DL, but someone in need of relief help will give him a shot … Carlos Gonzalez was scratched from Sunday’s game with a strained knee. He’s considered day-to-day … Geovany Soto (knee) could be activated from the DL for Monday’s game. He’s missed the last month of action … Stephen Drew (ankle) played in a third straight rehab game Saturday. He currently has no timetable for a return, but it’s likely we’ll see him before the end of the month … Jeremy Guthrie was put on notice by Rockies manager Jim Tracy last week, and he responded by going just three innings Sunday. He could be bumped from the rotation, or he could be traded, as the Blue Jays, among other teams, are showing interest … Freddie Freeman received two cortisone shots in his knuckle Saturday. He’s been nursing the hand ailment for over a week … Matt Holliday was removed from Sunday’s game with what’s being vaguely referred to as a leg issue. Evidently it’s something that’s bothered him for a month, but it’s not clear if it’s bad enough to keep him out of the lineup Tuesday following Monday’s off day … The Cards could be without Holliday Tuesday, but they’ll at least get another bat back in the form of Skip Schumaker (hamstring), who showed he was healthy during a short rehab assignment. Matt Carpenter (oblique) should also be activated this week, and Jon Jay (shoulder) will begin a rehab assignment Wednesday.
American League Quick Hits: Jered Weaver (back) threw another bullpen session Sunday without any issues and should be ready to rejoin the rotation this week. He’ll likely bump Garrett Richards, despite how well Richards has pitched … Bartolo Colon left Sunday’s start with an oblique strain. He seems likely to land on the DL … Josh Hamilton plans to return to the lineup Monday after being hospitalized earlier this week with an intestinal virus … Colby Rasmus stayed hot Sunday with a 3-for-4 performance that included a double and his 10th home run. He’s gone deep seven times since May 26 and should be ridden by fantasy owners while he’s in the midst of a hot streak … Joe Mauer left Sunday's game with a bruised right quad muscle. He’s been banged up this month with thumb, hamstring and now quad ailments but is only considered day-to-day … Andy Dirks (Achilles) may not return until around the All-Star break. His recovery has dragged on much longer than expected … Jose Quintana was brilliant in a no-decision Sunday, requiring just 77 pitches to get through eight shutout innings. It’s looking more and more like it will be Philip Humber -- and not Quintana – that loses his rotation spot when John Danks (shoulder) returns … Carl Crawford (elbow) could be ready to begin a rehab assignment soon. It will be a lengthy one and he still probably won’t be back before the All-Star break … Ivan Nova won his ninth game Sunday with 7 2/3 innings of one-run ball against the Nationals. He is now 3-0 with a 0.82 ERA. 0.86 WHIP and 15/3 K/BB ratio in June and is should be back in mixed league lineups.