D.J. Short

Baseball Daily Dose

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Harper Hurting

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


There was a truly scary moment Monday night at Dodger Stadium, as Bryce Harper crashed face-first into the right field wall while chasing after a ball off the bat of A.J. Ellis. The 20-year-old phenom was running at full-speed and lost track of where he was before he made impact into the unpadded area which functions as the out-of-town scoreboard.

Harper was on the ground for a couple of moments before he got to his feet and managed to walk off the field under his own power, but he appeared dazed and had blood on his chin and neck. While he tested negative for a concussion, he required 11 stitches for the cut on his chin. He also banged up his shoulder and knee and will go for precautionary X-rays. It's not clear when he'll be ready to return to action, but this sounds like pretty good news under the circumstances.

Harper is off to a tremendous start this season, hitting .303/.400/.622 with 10 home runs, 21 RBI and a 1.022 OPS through 35 games. He'll be handled with care, but the Nationals are hopeful that he won't be out of the lineup for long.

Niese's Struggles Explained?

Jon Niese has been blasted for 15 runs on 15 hits and nine walks over his last two starts, but it appears there's an explanation for his early-season struggles.

While Niese initially downplayed any sort of physical issue, he indicated to the New York Daily News that he was been dealing with some neck soreness which may have caused him to change his arm slot. He's claiming that the issue is behind him now, so it's just a matter of him working on his "muscle memory" to get the proper mechanics back.

Niese will try to work on things during a bullpen session early this week, but as of now he remains on track to make his next start Thursday in a tough matchup against the Cardinals. It's probably a good idea to leave him inactive in fantasy leagues until he begins to turn things around, but there's some nice buy-low potential if he gets back to full health and resembles the pitcher fantasy owners were expecting on draft day. The pitiful Mets' offense could limit his upside, though.

Chisenhall Demoted

Coming off a nice spring, some (your humble host included) thought Lonnie Chisenhall was poised to take a nice step forward this season around an improved supporting cast in Cleveland. Things haven't exactly worked out that way.

Chisenhall was demoted to Triple-A Columbus on Monday after he batted just .213/.253/.351 with three home runs, 11 RBI and a .604 OPS in 26 games. The 24-year-old now owns a lowly .692 OPS and 98/19 K/BB ratio over 473 plate appearances in the majors. He's still young enough to turn into a useful player for Cleveland, but he has yet to prove worthy of the "third baseman of the future" tag.

While Chisenhall will continue to hone his craft in the minors, the Indians figure to go with a combination of Mike Aviles and Mark Reynolds at third base. Aviles is capable of providing sneaky pop and speed and qualifies at multiple positions, so he should be owned in all AL-only leagues and could even carve out some value in deeper mixed formats.

National League Quick Hits: Ryan Braun didn't start Monday due to recurring neck discomfort … Justin Upton went 4-for-5 with his first home run since April 27 in his return to Arizona on Monday night. While not as highly-anticipated, Chris Johnson also went deep against his former team … Jason Heyward (appendectomy) could be activated from the disabled list Friday … Adrian Gonzalez (neck) went 2-for-4 in his return to the lineup Monday and is now hitting .350 on the year … The Dodgers have yet to decide whether Zack Greinke (collarbone) will return from the disabled list to start Wednesday against the Nationals … Jordan Zimmermann became the first pitcher in MLB to reach seven victories by allowing two runs over 7 2/3 innings Monday against the Dodgers … Matt Garza (lat) could be cleared to join the Cubs' rotation after his rehab start Thursday with Triple-A Iowa … Matt Holliday clubbed a two-run homer in Monday's win over the Mets … Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said Monday that Brandon League will remain the team's closer "for now" … Jean Segura went 3-for-5 with three stolen bases Monday against the Pirates and now leads the National League with a .368 batting average and 13 stolen bases … B.J. Upton suffered a left shoulder contusion Monday when he was hit by a pitch and is considered day-to-day … Aaron Hill (hand) hasn't been cleared to begin exercises … Jayson Werth (hamstring) is expected to begin a minor league rehab assignment with High-A Potomac later this week … Travis Wood spun seven scoreless innings Monday against the Rockies and owns a 2.03 ERA through eight starts … Neil Walker (hand) went 0-for-4 with a strikeout Monday in his return from the disabled list … Reds' rookie Tony Cingrani said Monday that he "wouldn't be surprised" if he gets sent down to Triple-A Louisville when Johnny Cueto is ready to return from the disabled list … Frank Francisco (elbow) was diagnosed with a mild strain of the flexor pronator and will rest for 72 hours before attempting to throw … Jonny Venters (elbow) is scheduled to visit with Dr. James Andrews on Thursday … The Mets signed Rick Ankiel on Monday and are expected to use him on the strong side of a platoon in center field …

American League Quick Hits: Austin Jackson was placed on the disabled list Monday with a pulled right hamstring. Avisail Garcia was called up from Triple-A Toledo in a corresponding roster move and is expected to get the majority of the playing time in center field while Jackson is sidelined… Curtis Granderson played a fifth rehab game Monday night with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and could be activated from the disabled list Tuesday … Yoenis Cespedes left Monday's game with a stomach illness … Billy Butler went 5-for-5 with five RBI in Monday's win over the Angels … Chris Sale had an abscessed tooth removed Monday, but should be fine for his next scheduled start … Jose Altuve suffered a subluxed right jaw following a collision with teammate Jimmy Paredes in Monday's game against the Tigers, but thinks he can play Tuesday … Coco Crisp (hamstring) could be activated from the disabled list Wednesday … Erick Aybar (hamstring) is expected to return to the Angels' lineup Tuesday … Josh Reddick said Monday that he hasn't ruled out the possibility of wrist surgery … Shane Victorino (ribs) has been cleared to return to the starting lineup Tuesday … Justin Masterson tossed a four-hit shutout Monday against the Yankees for his sixth win and now owns a 3.14 ERA through nine starts this season ... A.J. Griffin struck out eight over seven innings of one-run ball in Monday's win over the Rangers … Bud Norris left Monday's start with back spasms … Chris Young (quad) felt some soreness during an extended spring training game and may have his return to pushed back … Andy Dirks clubbed his first career grand slam in Monday's win over the Astros … Aaron Hicks (elbow) hit two homers and made an incredible leaping catch in his return to action Monday …Wei-Yin Chen (oblique) will likely be placed on the disabled list … Colby Lewis was pulled from his minor league rehab assignment due to right triceps inflammation, but could return to game action early next week … Gordon Beckham (hand) will begin taking batting practice on Wednesday or Thursday … John Danks (shoulder) will make at least one more rehab start before joining the White Sox …



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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