Power PlayFriday, August 24, 2012
Some fantasy owners will get an infusion of power in their lineups Friday, as both David Ortiz and Jose Bautista are poised to be activated from the disabled list.
Ortiz has been sidelined since July 16 due to a strained right Achilles tendon. The 37-year-old ran the bases Thursday afternoon without incident and took batting practice, so unless he doesn't feel up to it upon arriving to the ballpark Friday, he should return for the series opener against the Royals.
Ortiz has been reluctant to rush back from the disabled list, as blowing out the Achilles could cost him big in free agency. He's not 100 percent yet, but he'll attempt to play through the discomfort down the stretch. Ortiz was enjoying his best season since 2007 prior to the injury, hitting .316/.414/.609 with 23 home runs, 58 RBI and a 1.024 OPS in 89 games played.
As for Bautista, he showed no ill effects from his left wrist injury during a rehab game with Double-A New Hampshire on Thursday night, going deep twice while knocking in five runs. "Joey Bats" slugged a grand slam in the fourth inning and later added a solo shot in the eighth. Yep, it sounds like he's ready to terrorize American League pitchers again.
Bautista only ended up playing in two rehab games this week due to inclement weather, but he's still expected to return for the series opener against the Orioles on Friday night. The 31-year-old slugger was hitting .244/.360/.534 with 27 home runs, 65 RBI and an .894 OPS in 90 games prior to injuring his wrist on a swing on July 16.
Wilson Struggles Again
Lost in the insanity of the Angels' 14-13 win over the Red Sox in 10 innings on Thursday night was yet another disappointing performance by C.J. Wilson. The 31-year-old southpaw was tagged for seven runs (six earned) on eight hits over five innings. He now has a 7.43 ERA over his last eight starts and 3.83 ERA on the year. His last win was on June 26.
There hasn't been any mention of an injury, so it's hard to point to any one reason for his struggles. However, it's worth noting that he has served up seven home runs over his last eight starts after allowing just seven over his first 19 starts this year. Wilson has induced ground balls 50 percent of the time for his career and gave up 10 home runs over 204 innings in 2010 and 16 home runs in 223 1/3 innings last year, so he's either leaving too many pitches up in the strike zone or he's suffering from some bad luck. Or some combination of the two, really.
If there's one silver lining from Thursday's start, it's that Wilson didn't walk a batter. Believe it or not, he didn't do that in any of his previous 26 starts this year. He issued 21 walks in 41 innings over his last seven starts coming into Thursday, so while he still got knocked around pretty good, hopefully he'll look a lot more like the pitcher who averaged 2.98 BB/9 last season moving forward as opposed to the one who has averaged 4.0 BB/9 this year. There's way too much upside here to consider dropping him in shallow mixed leagues, but I would think twice about using him next week with another meeting against the Red Sox on tap.
Brown Coming Around
This is an instant gratification world, so when a top prospect scuffles over his first couple of stints in the big leagues, it's easy to turn the page and focus on the new flavor of the week. Or year, for that matter. Domonic Brown symbolizes this in a lot of ways, as he was hyped as one of the top position prospects in the game going into spring training last year, but he's barely being talked about now that he's playing every day for the out-of-contention Phillies. We're a fickle bunch.
While Brown may never match the hype attached to him a couple of years ago, he is showing signs of being a useful building block for the Phillies. He went 2-for-6 with a double and two runs scored in Thursday's extra-inning win over the Reds and is hitting .286 (24-for-84) with one home run, seven doubles and 11 RBI over his first 23 games since being called up from the minors on July 31. He's been especially hot recently, collecting five of those extra-base hits in the past five games. He also owns an impressive 10/9 K/BB ratio.
I still wonder where Brown would be right now if he didn't require hamate bone surgery last spring, but given that the Phillies were messing around with his swing at the time, it's possible he would have struggled anyway. It was a pretty easy call to promote Brown last month after Hunter Pence and Shane Victorino were traded, but his numbers in Triple-A this year weren't exactly jaw-dropping (.286/.335/.432 with five home runs, 4-for-10 in stolen base attempts and a .767 OPS in 60 games), so there are still many questions to be answered. And that's not even talking about his defense, which remains a work in progress. Still, I wouldn't shy away from picking him up in a deeper mixed league right now. Perhaps something has finally clicked with him.
NL Quick Hits: Buster Posey (hamstring) was held out of the starting lineup again Thursday while Pablo Sandoval (hamstring) went 1-for-4 with an RBI single after leaving Wednesday's game early … Johnny Cueto allowed two runs over five innings Thursday in a no-decision against the Phillies … Dexter Fowler (ankle) is out of his air cast and isn't using crutches, but there's no timetable for his return … Allen Craig went 3-for-5 with a double and three RBI in Thursday's win over the Astros and now has 65 RBI in just 82 games this year … Collin McHugh struck out nine over seven scoreless innings in his major league debut Thursday against the Rockies, but was handed a no-decision … Jacob Turner, who allowed three runs over six innings Wednesday in a loss to the Diamondbacks, will remain in the Marlins' starting rotation … Devin Mesoraco was optioned to Triple-A Louisville on Thursday, but should be back when rosters expand in September … Sergio Romo notched a two-out save in Thursday's win over the Braves … The Diamondbacks will keep Tyler Skaggs in the big leagues, though it's not clear if he'll pitch as a starter or in relief … Jerry Hairston, Jr. is set to undergo season-ending hip surgery … Nationals pitching prospect Lucas Giolito will undergo Tommy John surgery on his right elbow next week … Jason Marquis was placed on the disabled list Thursday with a fractured left wrist …The Padres have officially released shortstop Jason Bartlett …
AL Quick Hits: An MRI on Albert Pujols' right calf revealed inflammation and he's considered day-to-day … Miguel Cabrera left Thursday's game with a sore right ankle, but hopes to be in the lineup Friday … Justin Verlander struck out 12 while allowing two runs over nine innings Thursday in a tough-luck no-decision against the Blue Jays … Dustin Pedroia homered and knocked in five runs Thursday in a loss to the Angels … Josh Hamilton drove in five runs in Thursday's win over the Twins and now leads the American League with 107 RBI … Carl Crawford underwent successful Tommy John surgery on his left elbow Thursday … Mike Napoli (calf) is not expected to return from the disabled list when he's first eligible Sunday … Josh Willingham was scratched from Thursday's lineup due to a stiff neck … Doug Fister has been scratched from Saturday's start against the Angels due to a groin injury and will be replaced by Drew Smyly … Denard Span (clavicle) went 2-for-5 with an RBI, a walk and two stolen bases in his return to the lineup Thursday … Alex Cobb gave up just four hits in his first career shutout Thursday against the Athletics … Vernon Wells homered and knocked in three runs in a wild win over the Red Sox on Thursday … Michael Young left Thursday's game to be present for the birth of his child and may be placed on the paternity leave list … Felix Doubront (knee) will be activated from the disabled list to start Sunday against the Royals … Adam Lind (back) went 1-for-4 with a walk and three strikeouts Thursday in his first rehab game with Double-A New Hampshire … Ivan Nova was placed on the disabled list Thursday with right rotator cuff inflammation and will not pick up a baseball for five days …