Strasburg ScareTuesday, April 30, 2013
The Nationals invited plenty of controversy last year when they shut down Stephen Strasburg after 159 1/3 innings. The decision was made with the long-term in mind, as GM Mike Rizzo and company were trying to protect the young ace in his first full season back from Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery, though there was no way to know for sure whether it would prevent future injury. Just seven months later, the club's theory is being tested.
Strasburg gave up two runs on six hits and four walks over six innings last night in a no-decision against the Braves, after which Nationals manager Davey Johnson said that the right-hander is dealing with forearm tightness. The 24-year-old labored for most of the outing and could be seen shaking his arm at times, but he refused to admit any sort of physical issue after the game and expects to make his next start on Saturday. Johnson wasn't ready to go that far quite yet, only saying that he was being sent for an exam and would be put on medication.
While it's nice to hear that Strasburg doesn't think it's all that serious, this is still a bit troubling for someone who already had Tommy John surgery. With that in mind, it wouldn't be surprising if the Nationals decide to skip him for at least one start. Those who invested an early draft pick in fantasy leagues will have to hope that the issue is nothing more than a scary blip.
Through his first six starts this season, Strasburg is 1-4 with a 3.13 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and 36/12 K/BB ratio in 37 1/3 innings. He entered 2013 with a 2.96 ERA and 1.09 WHIP over his first 45 major league starts, including 11.2 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9.
Oh No, Giancarlo
Drew Silva wrote yesterday how Giancarlo Stanton was finally coming around with the bat after his recent shoulder contusion. Unfortunately, fantasy owners are going to have to get by without him for a little while.
Stanton was placed on the 15-day disabled list after he strained his right hamstring during last night's extra-inning win over the Mets. The young slugger suffered the injury when he attempted to beat out a tapper in front of the plate in the bottom of the tenth inning. He grabbed at the back of his right leg after he crossed the bag and fell down in a heap, so it immediately had the look of a significant injury.
While Stanton's injury is a huge blow for an offense with no other legitimate middle-of-the-order threat, the Marlins have called up prospect outfielder Marcell Ozuna to take his place on the active roster. It's a surprising decision, as the 22-year-old has only played 10 games above A-ball. Of course, after what the Marlins did with Jose Fernandez, maybe it shouldn't be. Ozuna has plus-pop and good speed, but I fear that strikeouts could be a big issue in his first taste of the majors. Still, he's well worth owning in NL-only formats while Stanton is sidelined.
Gregg Getting It Done
Kevin Gregg failed to win a bullpen spot with the Dodgers out of spring training, but he latched on with the Cubs earlier this month because he got the feeling that there could be an opportunity for him to close games in the big leagues again. It has proven to be a savvy decision so far, as the 34-year-old is a perfect 4-for-4 in save opportunities since joining the club. This includes a four-out save in Monday's win over the Padres.
Gregg has been almost spotless over his first six outings this season, allowing just three hits and two walks over 5 1/3 shutout innings while notching six strikeouts. This is quite a contrast to his 4.95 ERA and 37/23 K/BB ratio over 43 2/3 innings with the Orioles last season. He was even worse in 2011, compiling a 4.37 ERA and 53/40 K/BB ratio in 59 2/3 innings.
Cubs manager Dale Sveum figures to ride the hot hand for now, so Gregg should be owned in all fantasy formats, but don't expect this success to continue. Besides, the Cubs would probably love to give Carlos Marmol another shot in order to boost his trade value. And don't forget that Kyuji Fujikawa (forearm) is on track to begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Iowa this weekend. The closer job was his before he went on the disabled list and he could get another chance once he's back to full health.
National League Quick Hits: Hanley Ramirez (thumb) was activated from the disabled list Monday while Clayton Kershaw was placed on the bereavement list. Kershaw is still expected to make his next scheduled start Friday against the Giants … Troy Tulowitzki (shoulder) could return to action as soon as Tuesday… David Wright didn't start Monday's game due to a stiff neck, but he struck out in a pinch-hit appearance… Jason Heyward (appendectomy) is hopeful to rejoin the Braves by the end of May … Matt Cain gave up three home runs in a no-decision Monday against the Diamondbacks and has allowed nine longballs in just 34 2/3 innings this season … Pablo Sandoval left Monday's game with right elbow soreness, but will try to play Tuesday … Johnny Cueto (lat) threw 45 pitches in a bullpen session Monday and hopes to begin a rehab assignment soon … Yovani Gallardo allowed two runs (one earned) over seven innings in Monday's win over the Pirates … Aramis Ramirez (knee) plans to run the bases Tuesday and could be activated from the disabled list this week … Mat Latos tossed six shutout frames Monday in a win over the Cardinals … Jayson Werth left Monday's game after fouling a ball off his left foot/ankle and is also dealing with some hamstring tightness ... Neil Walker (finger) was unable to take batting practice Monday and is likely to miss a few more days … Nolan Arenado went 3-for-6 with his first major league home run Monday against the Dodgers … The Nationals activated Wilson Ramos (hamstring) from the disabled list … Chris Capuano (calf) is scheduled to make a minor league rehab start Wednesday with Triple-A Albuquerque and could join the Dodgers' rotation early next week … Matt Adams (oblique) is expected to begin a minor league rehab assignment Thursday with Triple-A Memphis… Scott Baker (elbow) resumed throwing Monday … The Reds placed Chris Heisey on the disabled list Monday and called up Donald Lutz … The Cardinals demoted left-handed reliever Mark Rzepczynski to Triple-A Memphis …
American League Quick Hits: An MRI on Kevin Youkilis' back came back negative, but he's scheduled to receive an epidural Tuesday and could be placed on the disabled list … Michael Bourn (finger) is hitting off a tee and playing catch and could soon begin a minor league rehab assignment … Orioles prospect right-hander Dylan Bundy (forearm, elbow) will be shut down for six weeks after he received a platelet-rich plasma injection on Monday … Coco Crisp left Monday's game with a left hamstring strain and is considered day-to-day ... Brett Anderson, who was scratched from Monday's start against the Angels due to an ankle sprain, ended up pitching in relief in extra innings … Max Scherzer fanned 10 batters in Monday's win over the Twins and now has a 46/7 K/BB ratio over 31 1/3 innings this season … Hisashi Iwakuma (blister) is tentatively scheduled to make his next start Sunday against the Blue Jays … With Jose Valverde unavailable, Joaquin Benoit notched a one-out save Monday against the Twins … Michael Saunders (shoulder) homered Monday in his return from the disabled list … Peter Bourjos made an early exit from Monday's game due to a left hamstring strain … Wade Davis was knocked around for eight runs in 4 2/3 innings Monday against the Indians … Due to Sunday's doubleheader, the Indians will call up Trevor Bauer to make a spot start Wednesday against the Phillies …Lucas Harrell spun 6 1/3 innings of one-run ball Monday in a win over the Yankees … Luke Scott (calf) is expected to be activated from the disabled list Tuesday … Colby Lewis (elbow) threw 17 pitches in one inning of work Monday in an extended spring training game … Ubaldo Jimenez spun seven shutout frames Monday in a win over the Royals … Joe Saunders gave up two runs Monday in a complete-game win over the Orioles … Hiroyuki Nakajima (hamstring) is close to beginning a rehab assignment with Triple-A Sacramento … The Astros have moved Brad Peacock to the bullpen … Freddy Garcia has elected to stay with the Orioles' Triple-A affiliate through May 14 …The White Sox acquired outfielder Casper Wells from the Athletics for cash considerations …