D.J. Short

Baseball Daily Dose

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Daily Dose: Howard Hurting

Tuesday, July 09, 2013


Hobbled by left knee soreness for most of the season, Ryan Howard was finally placed on the 15-day disabled list over the weekend. And his next stop is the operating table.

Howard was diagnosed with a meniscus tear in his knee on Monday and will require surgery. The 33-year-old first baseman is expected to be sidelined for 6-8 weeks, which places his return in late August or early September. There might not be much to play for at that point of the season, as there's a chance that some familiar faces (Chase Utley, Jonathan Papelbon, Cliff Lee, Michael Young, and Carlos Ruiz, just to name a few possibilities) could be on the move in the coming weeks.

Howard, who is in the second year of a five-year, $125 million extension, is batting .266/.319/.465 with 11 home runs, 43 RBI, and a .784 OPS in 80 games this season. He has a .752 OPS in 151 games dating back to last July, when he made his return from Achilles surgery.

While the Phillies are stuck with Howard's contract, they plan to give Darin Ruf the bulk of the playing time at first base over the next few weeks. The 26-year-old was hitting .266 with seven home runs and a .752 OPS in 82 games this season at the Triple-A level, a far cry from what he did last season in Double-A, but there's enough power in his bat for him to be a person of interest in NL-only leagues. Most mixed leaguers can afford to wait and see.

Read Matthew Pouliot's thoughts on Manny Ramirez and the Rangers in this week's Strike Zone column. And be sure to follow @Rotoworld_BB if you're on Twitter.

Bye Bye Bonderman, Hello Erasmo

Mentioned as a potential sleeper in fantasy leagues over the winter, Mariners right-hander Erasmo Ramirez was slated to begin the season in the minors before he ended up missing the first two months of the season with a triceps strain. Back to full health for a few weeks now, he finally appears primed to deliver on that preseason hype.

The Mariners designated Jeremy Bonderman for assignment Monday after he posted a 4.93 ERA and 16/17 K/BB ratio in 38 1/3 innings over seven starts. While it was quite an accomplishment to make it back to the majors for the first time since 2010, the 30-year-old right-hander never appeared to be more than a stopgap option in the rotation. The Mariners called up Lucas Lutege from Triple-A Tacoma to replace him on the active roster, but Ramirez is the logical candidate to take his rotation spot Thursday against the Red Sox.

Ramirez hasn't pitched all that well in his most recent outings, but he has a 2.96 ERA and 45/16 K/BB ratio in 48 2/3 innings in eight starts between Double-A Jackson and Triple-A Tacoma. After posting a 3.36 ERA and 48/12 K/BB ratio in 59 innings in his first taste of the big leagues last year, the 23-year-old is well worth the gamble in most mixed fantasy leagues. While he's not going to blow batters away, he has excellent control and his changeup is a legitimate weapon.

Kemp's Nightmare Season Continues

This just isn't Matt Kemp's year. After he finally showed signs of progress last week by homering in back-to-back games, he aggravated his surgically-repaired left shoulder on a swing on Friday. The Dodgers gave him a cortisone shot in hopes that the pain would dissipate, but a trip to the disabled list was deemed necessary Monday after he felt continued discomfort while attempting to swing a bat.

The Dodgers have diagnosed Kemp with left AC joint inflammation. He had surgery on his labrum last October, so the source of his pain is in a different area. While this would appear to be good news, we should know more on his status after he is reevaluated in Los Angeles. For now, the Dodgers will move forward with Andre Ethier, Carl Crawford, and Yasiel Puig in their outfield. If someone in your fantasy league dropped Ethier out of fear of him losing playing time in the Dodgers' outfield logjam, be sure to pick him up.

NL Quick Hits: Ryan Braun (thumb) was activated from the disabled list Monday, but wasn't in the starting lineup … Carlos Gonzalez (finger) didn't start Monday, but hopes to return to the lineup Tuesday… Troy Tulowitzki (rib) went 1-for-2 with a single and a run scored Monday in his first rehab game with Triple-A Colorado Springs and could return from the disabled list this weekend … Matt Harvey allowed three runs over seven innings and struck out six in a no-decision against the Giants on Monday … Aramis Ramirez was placed on the 15-day disabled list Monday after he aggravated his left knee over the weekend … The speedy Ben Revere is hitting .404 since June 11 and has pulled his batting average up to an even .300 for the year … Justin Upton had a go-ahead two-run double in Monday's win over the Marlins in 14 innings … Zack Greinke allowed two hits over seven scoreless innings (and went 3-for-3 at the plate) in a win over the Diamondbacks on Monday … Jeff Locke was handed his first loss since April 7 on Monday by allowing two runs in seven innings against the A's … Dexter Fowler (wrist) went 0-for-3 with a walk Monday in his first rehab game with Triple-A Colorado Springs and is expected to be activated Thursday … Jonathan Lucroy went deep in his third straight game Monday and now has 11 home runs and 48 RBI on the year … Amid rumors of a trade or even a possible contract extension, Matt Garza allowed two runs (one earned) over seven innings Monday in a win over the Pirates … Neil Walker (side) was held out of the Pirates' lineup for the second straight game Monday … Trevor Cahill (hip) tweaked his shoulder while throwing last week … Tim Lincecum allowed three runs over seven innings and struck out a season-high 11 in a no-decision against the Mets on Monday … Yonder Alonso (hand) was hitless in three at-bats Monday in his first rehab game with Triple-A Tucson … Jon Niese (shoulder) has been cleared to resume throwing … Yasmani Grandal needs reconstructive surgery to repair the ACL in his right knee and will likely miss 9-12 months … Dan Haren (shoulder) allowed two runs on seven hits and three walks over five innings Monday against the Phillies in his return from the disabled list … Shaun Marcum (back, hand) will have his next turn skipped in the Mets' rotation … John Lannan spun eight scoreless innings Monday in a win over the Nationals … The Rockies placed right-hander Roy Oswalt on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left hamstring … Ryan Hanigan was scratched from Monday's lineup due to irritation in his left wrist, but X-rays came back negative … Stephen Fife was placed on the 15-day disabled list with right shoulder bursitis while Chris Capuano will start in his place Thursday against the Rockies …

AL Quick Hits: Derek Jeter (ankle) went 0-for-2 with a walk and played five innings at shortstop Monday in his latest rehab game. Yankees manager Joe Girardi said "there's always a chance" he could be activated this weekend … Jacoby Ellsbury was held out of Monday's lineup due to a sore left wrist … Ian Kinsler knocked in four runs in Monday's win over the Orioles … Felix Hernandez allowed two runs over seven innings in Monday's win over the Red Sox and now sits at 9-4 with a 2.69 ERA on the year ... Bartolo Colon improved to 12-3 by tossing seven innings of one-run ball Monday against the Pirates … Alex Cobb (concussion) threw another bullpen session Monday … Curtis Granderson (finger) remains limited to swinging a bat underwater … Victor Martinez delivered a go-ahead two-run double in an extra-inning win over the Indians on Monday … Raul Ibanez hit his 22nd home run in Monday's win over the Red Sox … Shane Victorino (hamstring) missed his second straight game Monday … Jake Peavy (rib) could make his first minor league rehab start on Sunday … Michael Morse (quad) ran the bases again Monday and appears close to beginning a rehab assignment … Wei-Yin Chen (oblique) will return from the disabled list to start Wednesday against the Rangers … Jeremy Guthrie held a light-hitting Yankees lineup to one run in 6 1/3 innings Monday for his eighth win ... Making his second start with the Orioles, Scott Feldman was knocked around for seven runs over 5 1/3 innings Monday against the Rangers ... Alexi Ogando (shoulder) is scheduled to make two more rehab starts before rejoining the Rangers' rotation … Grant Green went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts Monday in his major league debut against the Pirates … White Sox rookie catcher Josh Phegley homered in his second straight game Monday … Zach McAllister (finger) threw 50 pitches over three innings Monday in a simulated game … Colby Lewis (elbow) will throw live batting practice Tuesday and is getting closer to resuming a minor league rehab stint … Matt Harrison (back) hopes to begin throwing off a mound right after the All-Star break … Joakim Soria has back-to-back scoreless appearances since joining the Rangers' bullpen ... Andrew Miller needs surgery to repair ligament damage in his left foot and is expected to miss the rest of the season … Aaron Hicks had four hits and two runs scored in Monday's loss to the Rays …



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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