It’s that time of the year, when the Super Two deadline is presumably in the rear view mirror and we start to see more and more top prospects called up to the bigs.
We’ve already seen Kevin Gausman, Michael Wacha, Gerrit Cole and others. On Tuesday, it was Mike Zunino that received the call.
The third overall pick in the 2012 draft, Zunino made quite the first impression in pro ball, batting .360/.447/.689 with 13 homers and 43 RBI over 44 games between Low- and Double-A last season. That was enough for Baseball America to rank him as the top prospect on the Mariners and the No. 17 prospect in the game coming into the year.
Things haven’t gone as smoothly for Zunino this season in his first taste of Triple-A, as he’s hit 11 homers but sports just a .238/.303/.503 batting line through 47 games. He has an OPS of .566 in seven June contests. Still, with Jesus Montero demoted and now hurt and Kelly Shoppach being overexposed, it’s not that surprising that Zunino is getting a shot.
Mariners manager Eric Wedge indicated that Zunino won’t play every day, but he should be in the lineup most days as long as he performs.
"Some of that will depend on him," Wedge said to MLB.com. "He doesn't have to come up here and play every day. That's not something he has to do. But he's going to play, and play consistently. We'll just see how it plays out."
Zunino probably isn’t ready to hit for average right away, but he should offer power and needs to be owned in all mixed leagues that require two catchers.
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Harper Shut Down for a Week
Dr. James Andrews confirmed on Monday the original diagnosis that Bryce Harper has no structural damage in his left knee. However, the outfielder still won’t do anything for at least a week.
Andrews administered platelet-rich plasma and cortisone shots in the bursa sac of Harper’s left knee in hopes that it will speed the recovery process along. Harper will be shut down for a week before being re-evaluated to determine whether he’s ready to begin baseball activities.
"We checked out via MRI his knee and it's structurally sound," Nationals head athletic trainer Lee Kuntz told MLB.com. "Everything's good, all the ligaments are intact. No cartilage damage, nothing like that. It's soft tissue in the bursar that's inflamed."
Obviously, the news is good, all things considered, but it’s still unclear when Harper might be ready to return to the Nationals’ lineup. He tried to play through the injury, an ailment that stems from his collision with the outfield wall last month, but nagging soreness and swelling eventually made it too difficult. It’s certainly possible that he’ll have to battle through the soreness for the remainder of the season before perhaps getting it operated on over the winter.
Jansen Out of Brandon’s League
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly announced on Tuesday a move that seemed long overdue: Kenley Jansen will replace Brandon League as the team’s closer.
The straw that broke the camel’s back was League’s performance on Monday, when he allowed four runs over 2/3 of an inning to blow his fourth save of the season. Handed a three-year, $22.5 million contract over the offseason, League sports a 6.00 ERA and 1.46 WHIP and has struck out only 13 across 24 frames this season. Mattingly indicated that League will likely be used in low leverage situations for now.
"He wants to do whatever to help the team to win games," Mattingly said to MLB.com. "He's versatile. He's pitched everywhere out of the 'pen. We'll try to get him going. We're going to need him."
As for Jansen, many wondered before the season why he wasn’t closing for the Dodgers in the first place. The big reliever came into the year with a career 2.22 ERA, 0.95 WHIP and ridiculous 14.6 K/9 rate. After closing out the win over the Diamondbacks Tuesday in his first day on the new job, Jansen now sports a 2.45 ERA, 0.97 WHIP and 46/6 K/BB ratio over 33 innings. There’s no reason to think he won’t be an elite fantasy closer.
National League Quick Hits: Ian Kennedy and Yasiel Puig were among those ejected during a benches-clearing brawl Tuesday. Kennedy is surely facing a suspension and Puig might get one, as well ... The Reds are hoping that Johnny Cueto (lat) will be ready to return from the disabled list on Sunday ... Cameron Maybin will miss at least the next six weeks due to damage to the PCL in his left knee ... Gerrit Cole tossed 6 1/3 innings of two-run ball against the Giants to win in his first major league start Tuesday ... After being hit by a pitch Tuesday, Marco Scutaro will visit a hand specialist Wednesday to determine whether he has tendon damage in his left pinkie ... The Cubs acquired Henry Rodriguez from the Nationals in exchange for minor leaguer Ian Dickson ... Matt Garza allowed nine runs in five innings against the Reds Tuesday ... Michael Wacha allowed two runs over six frames to earn his first major league win Tuesday against the Mets ... Matt Reynolds has a slight tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow but will try to rehab it ... Matt Kemp (hamstring) has yet to resume running after having a setback on Sunday ... Ross Detwiler (oblique) is expected to be activated from the disabled list to start on Thursday in Colorado ... Jake Westbrook (elbow) will rejoin the Cardinals' rotation on Friday in Miami ... Pablo Sandoval (foot) was placed on the DL Tuesday but is expected back in 15 days ... Wandy Rodriguez has landed on the DL with left forearm tightness ...
American League Quick Hits: Derek Jeter (ankle) is hoping to be cleared for full activity after visiting with a doctor on Thursday ... Aaron Harang struck out 10 Astros while tossing the second shutout in his last four starts Tuesday ... Max Scherzer moved to 9-0 and lowered his WHIP to 0.87 with seven strong innings versus the Royals Tuesday ... Yoenis Cespedes is considered day-to-day after leaving Tuesday's game with left hamstring tightness ... Jon Lester walked a career-high seven and allowed seven runs over 4 2/3 innings Tuesday and now holds a 6.90 ERA over his last five starts ... Desmond Jennings launched a pair of homers on Tuesday versus the Red Sox ... Miguel Gonzalez allowed one run over eight innings against the Angels Tuesday ... Octavio Dotel is questionable to return this season due to ongoing elbow problems ... Chris Perez (shoulder) threw off a mound Tuesday with no issues ... David Price (triceps) is expected to begin a rehab assignment early next week ... Sean Burnett does not need surgery on his injured left elbow but will be shut down for the next month ... Corey Kluber tossed eight innings of one-run ball Tuesday in a win over the Rangers ... Justin Morneau went 3-for-4 with two RBI Tuesday and is now batting .297 for the season ... Felipe Paulino (elbow) struck out six over five scoreless innings in his first rehab start with Double-A Northwest Arkansas Tuesday ... Clay Buchholz (neck) could be cleared to start Sunday if a bullpen session Friday goes well ...