D.J. Short

Baseball Daily Dose

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Gardner Grounded

Friday, July 20, 2012


Brett Gardner encountered yet another setback with his ailing right elbow over the weekend, but the Yankees were still holding out hope that he would be able to return at some point this season. Not anymore.

The Yankees announced Thursday night that Gardner will undergo surgery next week to remove inflamed tissue from the elbow and that he will likely miss the rest of the season. The surgery will be performed by Yankees team doctor Chris Ahmad.

Gardner injured the elbow when he made a sliding catch back on April 17. The speedy outfielder tried to come back multiple occasions, even going on a pair of rehab assignments, but each time he was shut down due to renewed discomfort. He tried to ramp things up again recently after receiving a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection and a cortisone shot, but felt more pain after facing live pitching on Sunday. Surgery was deemed necessary following an MRI this week.

While news of the surgery is tough to take for anyone who drafted Gardner this spring and then stashed him on a DL-spot for the past three months, Raul Ibanez and Andruw Jones have been surprisingly productive in his absence and should continue to get plenty of playing time moving forward. Unfortunately neither are all that relevant outside of AL-only and deeper mixed leagues. The Yankees could add an outfielder in the coming days, but it's unlikely to be a big name like Shane Victorino or Carlos Quentin.  

No Set Number for Strasburg

The Nationals continue to say that Stephen Strasburg will be shut down at some point this season. It's really just a matter of when. The assumption until now has been that the Nats will likely limit him to around 160 innings, similar to what they did with Jordan Zimmermann last year in his first full season back from Tommy John surgery. However, in an interview with ESPN on Wednesday, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said they have no set number in mind.

"There is no magic number," Rizzo told ESPN. "It will be the eye test. (Manager) Davey (Johnson) won't decide and ownership won't decide. It will be the general manager, and that's me."

Strasburg, who turns 24 on Friday, underwent Tommy John surgery in September of 2010 and returned last season to log 44 1/3 innings between the majors and minors. He has an excellent 2.66 ERA and 135/29 K/BB ratio in 105 innings this season and hasn't shown any signs of wearing down yet.

The Nationals will enter Friday's action 3 1/2 games in front the Braves in the National League East and have an excellent chance to go to the postseason for the first time in their brief history in D.C., so criticism will surely follow if Strasburg is shut down in September and the team falters. Or even worse, if they shut him down and he gets hurt next spring. The encouraging part is that the Nationals are at least willing to say that Strasburg could possibly go higher than 160 innings, so perhaps fantasy owners will get a bit more out of him than originally expected on draft day.

Carp Goes Under the Knife

Chris Carpenter racked up 273 innings between the regular season and playoffs last year en route to the Cardinals' 11th World Series title, but he will not throw a pitch in the major leagues in 2012. After fighting through nerve issues in his neck and shoulder dating back to spring training, the 37-year-old right-hander underwent season-ending surgery Thursday in Dallas to correct his thoracic outlet syndrome.

Carpenter, who is in the first year of a two-year, $21 million extension, is expected to need two to three months of recovery time and the Cardinals believe that he "should be fully able to have a normal off-season in preparation for the 2013 season." There are pitchers like Jeremy Bonderman and Noah Lowry who were never the same after undergoing thoracic outlet surgery, but Matt Harrison and Alex Cobb also had the procedure and are doing just fine right now. Granted, Carpenter is much older than those last two examples, but they provide reason for cautious optimism just the same.

NL Quick Hits: ESPN's Jayson Stark reports that the Phillies are making a "major push" to sign Cole Hamels to a contract extension and are now willing to offer a six-year deal … R.A. Dickey allowed four runs -- three earned -- over 7 1/3 innings against the Nationals on Thursday to become the first National League pitcher to reach 13 victories … David Wright slugged two homers and drove in five runs Thursday against the Nationals … Brandon Phillips homered, doubled and drove in five runs Thursday in the Reds' comeback victory over the Diamondbacks … Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago reports that the Dodgers have made the Cubs a trade proposal for Ryan DempsterIan Desmond (wrist) is expected to return to the Nationals' starting lineup Friday … Drew Storen (elbow) was activated from the disabled list Thursday and tossed a scoreless ninth inning against the Mets in a non-save situation … Rick Ankiel was designated for assignment Thursday to make room for Storen on the Nationals' roster … Jonathan Lucroy (hand) went 2-for-3 with a double Thursday in his first rehab game with Class A Wisconsin … Josh Collmenter will take the rotation spot of Trevor Bauer, who was demoted to Triple-A Reno on Wednesday … Edinson Volquez gave up just one-hit in a complete game shutout Thursday night against the Padres … Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that the Padres want to sign both Carlos Quentin and Huston Street to multi-year deals … Todd Helton (hip) is scheduled to begin a minor league rehab assignment Friday with the Rockies' rookie league affiliate in Grand Junction … John Lannan will be recalled from Triple-A Syracuse to start in Saturday's doubleheader against the Braves, but he can be ignored in fantasy leagues … Nationals prospect third baseman Anthony Rendon has begun playing rehab games after missing the first three and a half months of the season with a fractured left ankle …

AL Quick Hits: Robinson Cano went 1-for-4 in Thursday's loss against the Athletics and now has a 22-game hitting streak … David Price tossed seven shutout innings Wednesday against the Indians en route to becoming the first pitcher in the majors to reach 13 wins. He just eeked out Mets' right-hander R.A. Dickey, who notched his 13th win minutes later … Felix Hernandez limited the Royals to one run over eight innings Thursday and now holds a 2.82 ERA through 20 starts this year … Dustin Pedroia (thumb) went 1-for-4 with a run scored in his return from the disabled list Thursday … Kevin Youkilis didn't play Thursday due to left hamstring tightness and is considered day-to-day … Cody Ross clubbed a walkoff three-run home run off Addison Reed in Thursday's win over the White Sox, spoiling a brilliant start by Jose Quintana … Jesus Montero busted out of his slump by going 10-for-17 with a home run and eight RBI during a four-game series against the Royals this week … Matt Joyce sat out Thursday's game with general soreness and stiffness, but he could be back as soon as Friday … Chris Iannetta (wrist, forearm) is tentatively scheduled to begin a minor league rehab assignment Saturday with Triple-A Salt Lake … Torii Hunter told the Los Angeles Times that the Angels are the only team he wants to play for and that "money will not be an issue" in negotiations … Vernon Wells is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment Friday with Triple-A Salt Lake … 49-year-old Jamie Moyer, who was released by the Blue Jays earlier this month, said Wednesday that he is not retired … Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca reports that Travis Snider has been summoned from Triple-A Las Vegas to join the Blue Jays in Boston on Friday, but it's not clear if he'll be activated …



D.J. Short is a Rotoworld baseball editor and contributes to NBCSports.com's Hardball Talk blog. You can also find him on Twitter.
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