It had become apparent in recent weeks that Kevin Youkilis’ tenure with the Red Sox was about to come to an end, and on Sunday the speculation became a reality.
Over a month prior to the trade deadline, the Red Sox have shipped Youkilis to the White Sox in exchange for right-hander Zach Stewart and utilityman Brent Lillibridge. Boston is also kicking in a little over $5.5 million to Chicago, so the White Sox will only have to pay a bit more than $1 million to Youk over the rest of the season.
There’s no doubt that Youkilis’ abilities have started to wane, as his OPS has gone from .975 in 2010 to .833 last year to a paltry .670 this season. He’s also injury-prone, as he hasn’t played in more than 120 games since 2009 and missed three weeks earlier this year with a back ailment.
The reality, though, is that he’s just 33, so it’s hard to believe that he’s washed up. The move is a low-risk one for the White Sox, as they didn’t give up much and didn’t take on much salary. They’ve also been stuck with Brent Morel’s and Orlando Hudson’s dreadful production at third base, so even if Youkilis only rebounds a little, he’s still an upgrade.
The Red Sox, of course, will now be able to play Will Middlebrooks every day at third base. Middlebrooks is hitting .326/.365/.583 with nine homers and 34 RBI over 41 games with the big club, and while we’d like to see him walk more, he’s clearly a capable mixed league fantasy option.
The wait is over.
One of the best pitching prospects in the game, Trevor Bauer is reportedly on his way up to The Show after a dominating run of starts between Double- and Triple-A. The Diamondbacks have yet to confirm it, but the 21-year-old was pulled after just 2 2/3 innings from his start at Triple-A Reno Sunday, and FOXSportsArizona.com says it’s because Bauer will make his major league debut Thursday against the Braves.
The No. 3 overall pick in last year’s draft, Bauer has posted a 2.23 ERA and 116/48 K/BB ratio over 93 innings in the minors this season. His walk rate of 4.6 per nine innings isn’t ideal, and it’s led to him often failing to go deep into games. But, he has some of the best stuff of any prospect still in the minors, as that gaudy strikeout rate will attest to.
Bauer will assume the rotation spot of Joe Saunders, who has been placed on the DL with shoulder inflammation. If the right-hander pitches well, there’s a good chance he’ll remain among the starting five for the rest of the season.
Ryan Zimmerman finally admitted Saturday what’s been obvious for a while: his right shoulder is still bothering him.
The Nationals had considered placing their stud third baseman on the disabled list in hopes that some rest would allow the shoulder to rebound. But, they chose to give him a cortisone shot instead, and Zimmerman went right back in the lineup Sunday, going 2-for-4 while driving in the team’s lone run in a loss to the Orioles.
“Relief,” Zimmerman told the Washington Post when asked how he felt after the shot. “It was so bad before that I couldn’t do anything. Obviously, I wasn’t performing. To be able to go out there today and feel a little bit like I could do the things I feel like I’ve always been able to do, it gave me a little bit more confidence. It obviously makes you happier.”
Zimmerman said he’s prepared to receive additional shots over the course of the rest of the season if needed in order to continue playing. He's batting just .223/.289/.308 with three homers this season, so hopefully the injection proves to be just what the doctor ordered.
National League Quick Hits: Frank Francisco has been placed on the disabled list with an oblique injury. Bobby Parnell will take over as the Mets’ closer … Jose Altuve left Sunday’s game with a hamstring injury, but the Astros are saying it’s mild and are considering the pint-sized second baseman day-to-day … Anthony Bass has landed on the DL with shoulder inflammation. It’s viewed as precautionary, and the Padres are hopeful he’ll be ready when first eligible … Chris Carpenter (shoulder) will throw to live hitters again Monday and will be cleared to begin a rehab assignment if the session goes well. He’s on track for a return shortly after the All-Star break … Jeff Karstens (shoulder) will rejoin the Pirates rotation Monday. He’ll bump Brad Lincoln back to the bullpen … Jason Heyward went 3-for-4 with a double and solo home run Sunday and is now batting over .400 in June … Aroldis Chapman blew his second straight save when Josh Willingham took him deep with an upper-deck shot. He’s allowed eight runs over his last seven games while serving up three longballs … Tyler Clippard is expected to retain the Nationals’ closer job even after Drew Storen (elbow) returns. Clippard has converted 12 straight save chances and has allowed just one hit in the last 14 1/3 innings … David Hernandez has agreed to a two-year extension with the Diamondbacks, which will cover two arbitration years. He’ll likely take over the ninth inning when J.J. Putz’s tenure ends.
American League Quick Hits: Matt Capps is likely headed to the disabled list with more shoulder problems. Both Glen Perkins and Jared Burton have been used in save situations since Capps has been injured, and the Twins appear ready to mix and match in the ninth inning. Perkins is the best bet, though … Brandon McCarthy is having more shoulder problems of his own and has been placed back on the DL. The A’s haven’t found anything structurally wrong with the right-hander, but he hasn’t felt right in a long time. He could be looking at an extended period of rest … Clay Buchholz was placed on the DL Sunday with a gastro-intestinal illness. The Red Sox are hoping he’ll be back when first eligible. Aaron Cook will fill in in the meantime … Adam Lind is back in the majors, having been called back up Sunday. He batted a blistering .395/.451/.669 with eight homers and 29 RBI over 142 plate appearances at Triple-A, but he’s obviously a risky fantasy proposition given his struggles before being demoted … Mike Moustakas slugged a pair of homers in Sunday’s loss to the Cardinals. He now has 12 bombs on the year and is slugging .497 … Carl Pavano (shoulder) will resume throwing this week. There’s no timetable for his return … Andrew Bailey (thumb) suffered a setback over the weekend when his throwing arm became sore during a bullpen session. He’ll be shut down for a week before ramping it up again … Matt Harrison left Sunday’s start with lower back tightness, but he’s expected to be ready for his next outing.