Nathan Grimm

Baseball Daily Dose

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Daily Dose: Is Matt Cain Able?

Thursday, July 11, 2013


Matt Cain was already slated to get some extra rest after Wednesday's start due to next week's All-Star break.

Just how long that rest will be is still undetermined.

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After lasting just two-thirds of an inning in a loss to the Mets on Wednesday, there were some whispers in San Francisco that Cain's health may have played a role in his recent struggles. Cain denied any health issues after the game, and Giants manager Bruce Bochy said the opposite was actually true with regards to his workhorse.

"I didn't want it to become a health issue," Bochy told the San Jose Mercury News. "I was being cautious. He's fine. I just had some concern there. I thought he was a little bit off, and that's why I went to get him. I've got to make a call there. I thought we'd be cautious with him. I don't want this to become a health issue, so I pulled him."

Cain's case is a curious one. He's been miserable in his past two starts, but nothing in his peripherals suggests he's playing through an injury. Per FanGraphs, his fastball velocity remains constant, and despite some bad luck in his ability to strand runners he has generally been the same pitcher this year that he's always been. Those numbers, paired with the team's insistence that Cain is alright physically, lead me to think it's not an injury that's at the heart of his issues.

With the break approaching, the Giants don't need to make a move with Cain right now. A 10-day break might be all that's necessary to get Cain back on track -- prior to his last two starts Cain had thrown five straight quality starts, so it's not as though he's been hopelessly lost the entire year. Though it's rough sailing of late, Cain owners should hold tight and see what the second half brings for the Giants' ace.


The Captain Comes Home

 Derek Jeter couldn't wait another day to get back home.

The Yankees' captain was supposed to play in back-to-back games at shortstop during his stay with Triple-A Scranton before being elevated to the big club, but Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported late Wednesday that Jeter would be activated by the club on Thursday instead.

It's not completely unexpected -- a report earlier in the day noted that Jeter's equipment bypassed Scranton and went straight to Yankees Stadium, a sign that Jeter's stay would be short. Even so, nobody expected Jeter back before the weekend.

Jeter isn't being recalled so quickly to ease back into the lineup. Rosenthal said the expectation is that Jeter will be immediately inserted into the lineup at either shortstop or designated hitter. The 39-year-old isn't the player he once was, but he still scored 99 runs while hitting .316 in 2012. A similar run total, prorated for half a season of course, shouldn't be expected -- this Yankees lineup doesn't pack nearly the same punch, and a surgically repaired ankle won't be Jeter's friend -- but it's fair to expect Jeter to hit for a respectable average and score enough runs to be useful.

That said, he's still a mixed league commodity and should be owned as such.

Disabled List For Yu

While speculation flies about a possible trip to the disabled list for one ace, another hit the DL with less confusion on Wednesday.

The Rangers placed Yu Darvish on the disabled list on Wednesday, a move that is retroactive to July 7, with a slight strain of his right trapezius muscle. It was reported that he felt some fatigue in the muscle during his bullpen session Monday, and after throwing again Wednesday he and the team decided it would be best to skip his Thursday start.

While DL stints are rarely viewed as a good thing, the Rangers don't seem too concerned about their stud.

"I think it's a move of prudence," Rangers assistant GM Thad Levine told the Dallas News. "It's a chance to get him some rest, have him miss only one start, catch his breath and be ready to hit the ground running in the second half."

With the All-Star break approaching and Darvish only lined up for one more start before the break, it makes sense that the Rangers could use this as an opportunity to rest the 26-year-old. Darvish has thrown 119 1/3 innings this season after throwing 191 1/3 in his first MLB season last year.

Owners should view this as nothing more than a skipped start, with Darvish likely to come off and start when first eligible on July 22.

Mixed League Quick Hits: Chris Carpenter (shoulder, back) will make his first rehab start at Double-A Springfield on Monday. He could be back with the Cardinals by early-to-mid August ... Zach McAllister (finger) will begin a rehab assignment with Double-A Akron on Friday. He's on pace to be activated after the All-Star break ... Blue Jays manager John Gibbons is considering playing Brett Lawrie at second base when Lawrie returns from the disabled list ... Salvador Perez missed Wednesday's game with tightness in his lower right leg. It's the second time in four games he's sat due to the injury ... Yankees Brett Gardner (leg) and Travis Hafner (foot) left Wednesday's game with lower body bruises. X-rays on both came back negative ... Jarred Cosart will make his major league debut Friday. The right-hander will start for the Astros against the Rays ... the Pirates may option Gerrit Cole to the minors over the All-Star break. He's a near certainty to return in time to start the second half, though ... Stephen Pryor (lat) will throw another simulated game on Saturday. He hasn't pitched since mid-April ... Tommy Hanson (forearm) pitched at full effort in a 35-pitch bullpen session. He could be looking at a rehab assignment soon ... Anthony Rendon hit his third home run in eight games. The 23-year-old is hitting .303/.354/.461 through 40 games ... Mariners outfielders Michael Morse (quad) and Franklin Gutierrez (hamstring) still aren't ready to begin rehab assignments ... Chris Dickerson sustained a left shoulder strain before Wednesday's game. No word yet on the severity of the injury ... Zack Wheeler held his former organization to one run on three hits over seven innings ... Ross Wolf has been tabbed to replace Yu Darvish for Thursday's start.



Nathan Grimm is a baseball writer for Rotoworld. He can also be found on Twitter (@Nate_Grimm).
Email :Nathan Grimm



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