The Reds kicked off their second half in fine fashion with a sweep of the division-rival Cardinals. The celebration didn’t last long, though, as it was revealed that Joey Votto needs surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee and will be sidelined for 3-4 weeks.
Votto originally hurt the knee on June 29 and has tried to play through it, but the ailment became increasingly painful in recent days, and he decided it was best to take care of it now so that he could be healthy down the stretch.
"It's a very simple procedure," Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said in the Cincinnati Enquirer. "It takes 20 minutes. It's a very simple scope. We think it will be three, four weeks. Joey feels very comfortable with it. He wants it to be done right away so he can come back and be sharp for the last two months of the season."
The Reds will be hard-pressed to replace Votto’s production, but they do have Todd Frazier to play first base. Frazier doubled in four at-bats while starting there Monday and is now batting .278 with 10 homers this season. Of course, with Frazier playing first base regularly, that means Scott Rolen and his .199 batting mark will have to play every day, which certainly isn’t ideal.
Joey Bats Banged Up
The Blue Jays received a scare Monday when Jose Bautista went down with a left wrist injury on a swing. Although X-rays came back clean, the slugger will need an MRI Tuesday.
Bautista admitted to feeling, according to manager John Farrell, “a little bit of a popping sensation," which isn’t a good sign, but we’ll have to wait and see what the MRI says. At the very least, he figures to be sidelined for a few games.
We certainly hope Bautista can avoid the DL, but if he does need at least a couple weeks of down time, the Blue Jays reportedly plan to promote exciting prospect Anthony Gose from Triple-A Las Vegas. A terrific athlete with lightning-quick speed, Gose entered play Monday hitting .293/.376/.434 with five home runs, 41 RBI and 29 stolen bases in 91 games at the Triple-A level this season. He’s worth a speculative stash in AL-only leagues immediately and will be a worthy mixed league add if he’s indeed promoted.
Axford Could Get the Axe
John Axford was one of the elite closers in the game last season, but things haven’t gone so smoothly this year.
The long-haired right-hander blew his sixth save of the season Monday against the Cardinals, and his latest blowup could cost him his job.
“We talk about it all the time,” Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel regarding a possible change at closer. “We talked about it just (after Monday’s game) and we will again (Tuesday).”
Axford is still throwing hard and boasts a 12.4 K/9 rate for the season, but he’s walked way too many (5.1 BB/9), and the command of his pitches just hasn’t been there. He’s certainly capable of righting the ship in time, but it’s looking unlikely that he’ll get that chance. Francisco Rodriguez (3.67 ERA, 1.42 WHIP) hasn’t exactly set the world on fire this year, either, but he’s the obvious choice to replace Axford in the ninth inning if a switch is made.
National League Quick Hits: Carlos Quentin was scratched from Monday’s lineup due to soreness in his surgically-repaired knee. It doesn’t seem to be a major concern at this point, but it’s certainly bad timing with the Pads dangling him in trade talks … Michael Dunn notched his first save of the season Monday for the Marlins. It appears that manager Ozzie Guillen will indeed play the matchups, with Dunn, Steve Cishek, Randy Choate and Edward Mujica all in the mix. One guy who won’t be involved anytime soon is Juan Carlos Oviedo, who has been diagnosed with a sprained UCL in his right elbow … Ian Desmond (oblique) hopes to return to the lineup Tuesday, as does Jason Kubel (hamstring) … Jonathan Lucroy (hand) is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment Thursday. He should return before the end of the month … A second MRI has confirmed the initial diagnosis of right flexor tendon inflammation for Chad Billingsley. He’s expected to miss only one start … Zack Greinke’s next outing was pushed back so he could get some rest. He’s scuffled a bit of late … Juan Nicasio underwent season-ending surgery on his left knee. The operation was intended to be minor, but it turns out that he needed a microfracture procedure.
American League Quick Hits: David Ortiz injured his right Achilles while rounding the bases Monday and will undergo an MRI. The Red Sox don’t think the injury is serious at this point, but he figures to miss at least a few games … Jonathan Sanchez was battered for seven runs over 1 1/3 innings Monday, pushing his ERA and WHIP up to 7.76 and 2.04, respectively. It’s possible he could be booted from the Royals’ rotation … Brett Gardner has had another setback with his right elbow and will undergo an MRI. He seems likely to undergo season-ending surgery at this point … Brandon Morrow (oblique) threw another successful bullpen session Monday and will be ready for live batting practice in a week. He’ll need 3-5 rehab starts, meaning he’s still probably a month away … Robert Andino will be sidelined 3-4 weeks after being diagnosed with a left shoulder sprain. Ryan Flaherty and Steve Tolleson will handle second base for the O’s … Vernon Wells (thumb) will begin a rehab assignment this weekend. He’s expected back before the end of the month … Carl Crawford got a hit and scored two runs in his season debut Monday.