Daily Dose: The Right PriceFriday, June 28, 2013
David Price is best known for being a Cy Young-caliber pitcher, but it turns out he's a pretty good salesman, too.
Price did his best to convince the Rays that his most recent rehab start should also be his last one before rejoining the team. On Wednesday night, Price pitched five shutout innings for High-A Charlotte, allowing two hits while striking out eight. And he showed no lingering effects of the left triceps injury that's kept him on the shelf since May 15, at times touching 94 miles per hour on the radar gun.
After the game, he chose to let his performance do the talking.
"I guess whatever I did out there today is going to be my lobbying," Price told the Tampa Tribune in regards to his chances of rejoining the Rays. "If that's not enough, I guess I'll have to throw another one."
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Before the injury, his performance told a different story. The three-time All-Star was just 1-4 with a 5.24 ERA in nine starts this season before sustaining the injury. He was on pace to give up more hits than innings pitched for the first time in his career, he'd already allowed eight home runs in his starts -- for reference, Price allowed only 16 homers over 31 starts in 2012 -- and he was striking out the lowest percentage of batters faced since 2009.
The root of the problems seemed to stem from a drop in velocity this season, which in turn caused his fastball to go from being a plus pitch to one that was actually a negative through nine starts. Some unlucky circumstances were also in play, but everything leads back to the fastball. And even a minor issue with a muscle in the pitching arm could have led to Price's early issues.
Regardless of the cause of his struggles, the fact that he looks and feels healthy now is cause for optimism going forward. If he returns next week as is likely, I'm buying a return to form for the reigning AL Cy Young winner.
A good salesman can do that.
If You See Jordan
On Wednesday it was announced that Taylor Jordan was chosen to participate in MLB's Futures Game.
On Thursday it was decided the future is now.
Jordan may not get to participate in the All-Star break festivities because he could instead be preparing for another start with the Nationals. Jordan, 24, will be called up by the club before Saturday's game in time to make his first major league start against the Mets.
Jordan's meteoric rise through the Nationals' system is reminiscent of Dan Straily's 2012 season. The right-hander began the year ranked No. 17 among Nationals prospects by MLB.com and actually started the season with High-A Potomac. After six starts he was promoted to Double-A Harrisburg, where he is 7-0 with a 0.83 ERA in 54 innings.
Jordan features a low-to-mid 90s fastball and two good breaking pitches, and he'll be backed by one of the best bullpens in baseball. Couple that with the fact that he's facing a pedestrian Mets offense and Jordan makes for a worthwhile streaming option in deeper mixed leagues at the very least. He'll decide his own fate from there.
Trade Winds Blowing
Ricky Nolasco looks primed to be the first domino to fall in this year's trade deadline feeding frenzy.
The Dodgers appear to be the frontrunner for the right-hander's services, with the Padres and Giants close behind. The Orioles, Rockies and Rangers have also been linked to Nolasco in some capacity.
No matter where he ends up, getting out of south Florida is a no-lose proposition for Nolasco and his owners. The 30-year-old is actually having a decent season for the Marlins, posting a 3.68 ERA with peripherals that suggest it's no fluke. But because he plays for the Marlins, he also carries a 4-7 record in 16 starts.
Any of the three NL West teams still in play would offer Nolasco an opportunity to secure more wins while keeping his numbers about the same, as all three play in stadiums that fall in the bottom half of ESPN's Park Factors with regards to runs scored.
With a deal seemingly imminent -- the where still to be decided -- Nolasco is a prospective add in deeper mixed leagues and a must-own in NL-only if he isn't already.
National League Quick Hits: Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said Carl Crawford (hamstring) is "getting closer" to a rehab assignment. Crawford hasn't played since June 1 ... Troy Tulowitzki (rib) has begun light throwing. He's still on schedule to return shortly after the All-Star break ... Josh Beckett (arm) began playing catch on Wednesday, the first work he's done since being shut down a month ago. He's still hopeful he can return to pitch this season ... Adam Eaton (elbow) resumed his minor league rehab assignment on Wednesday. It was his first game since suffering a setback in his recovery on May 20 ... Drew Pomeranz will take Juan Nicasio's spot in the Rockies' rotation. Nicasio had a 5.31 ERA and 1.46 WHIP in 16 starts ... Juan Francisco hit a home run in his third straight game on Thursday. He also struck out three times in four at-bats ... Ted Lilly (neck) could begin a rehab assignment this weekend. There's still a chance he returns before the All-Star break ... Mike Adams will not undergo shoulder surgery to repair two tears in his right labrum and one in his rotator cuff. Even with rest, Adams likely won't be back until much later this season.
American League Quick Hits: An MRI of Clay Buchholz's right shoulder showed inflammation of the bursa sac. Although the lack of structural damage is promising, he won't even begin throwing until the inflammation subsides ... Buchholz's teammate Jon Lester left his start Thursday with a jammed right hip. The Red Sox are hopeful he won't miss a start due to the injury ... Anibal Sanchez (shoulder) completed a three-inning simulated game on Thursday. He is expected to make a minor league rehab start on Monday ... Melky Cabrera landed on the disabled list with left knee tendinitis. Fan and player favorite Munenori Kawasaki was recalled to take his roster spot ... Jose Valverde accepted his assignment to Triple-A Toledo. The move came just days after the Tigers finally accepted reality ... Brian Roberts (hamstring) is expected to return to the Orioles on Sunday. The team is hurting for a second baseman, so Roberts will be handed the starting role upon his return ... Dylan Bundy underwent successful Tommy John surgery. The recovery process for the injury is generally around a year for pitchers ... Tommy Hanson was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a right forearm strain. He sustained the injury shortly before his scheduled Wednesday start ... Nolan Reimold (hamstring) will likely be activated from the disabled list next week. He hasn't played since May 11 ... Derek Holland threw a 92-pitch, complete-game shutout in Yankee Stadium.