Nathan Grimm

Baseball Daily Dose

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Daily Dose: Oblique Outlook

Monday, April 14, 2014


In the midst of a gem Saturday, Rays manager Joe Maddon inexplicably pulled starter Alex Cobb after seven shutout innings.

On Sunday, that reasoning became a little clearer.

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The Rays placed Cobb on the 15-day disabled list Sunday with a left oblique strain, an injury that will likely sideline the starter for four-to-six weeks. Cobb said he first felt the injury striking out Reds outfielder Billy Hamilton to start the game, making his performance even more impressive. After the dominant outing -- his second consecutive game going seven scoreless innings -- Cobb owns a 1.89 ERA and 0.89 WHIP through three starts.

"He swung over it for strike three and I just felt something grab right there," Cobb said of the injury. "Then basically throughout the game I was feeling it. I was hoping it was just a cramp or a slight pull maybe that would heal in a few days ... two or three at the most."

Instead, it will likely be late May before Cobb returns to the field. In the meantime, the Rays will call on Erik Bedard, who lost the battle for a rotation spot this spring. Bedard's contract was purchased from Triple-A Durham on Saturday and he pitched two innings in relief Sunday. His next start will come Thursday against the Yankees.

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Thumb Fracture Sidelines Zimmerman

In what will be a bad news-filled edition of the Dose, Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman wasn't exempt from the injury bug Saturday, either.

Zimmerman suffered a broken right thumb while diving back into second base on a pickoff play during Saturday's loss to the Braves. The Nationals placed him on the disabled list on Sunday, and the third baseman has been given a timetable of four-to-six weeks for his return.

“It was just a freak accident,” Zimmerman said. “There’s nothing you can really do. Hopefully we’ll get all this stuff out of the way and everybody will be healthy for the rest of the year.”

The timing of the injury is unfortunate, as Zimmerman was hitting .364 with two home runs and six RBI in the early going. In his absence, Anthony Rendon will return full-time to his native third base, while Danny Espinosa will get a long look at second base. Infielder Zach Walters, whom the club called up to take Zimmerman's roster spot, could also garner playing time if he impresses in limited action.

Latos Suffers Setback

It's been nothing but bad news for Mat Latos this season.

Early in spring, Latos sustained a tear of the meniscus in his left knee. The team had hopes he would only miss one or two starts before rejoining the club, but last week he was scratched from a rehab start with what the team characterized as elbow inflammation.

An MRI Saturday revealed that to instead be a flexor mass strain in his right forearm, an injury that will keep Latos on the shelf for likely another month at least. Latos will be shut down for 10-14 days before beginning to throw again.

While it's certainly concerning, the Reds and Latos were told his ulnar collateral ligament "looks strong," meaning major elbow surgery isn't on the table at this point. Instead, the team will try to treat the injury with rest and rehabilitation.

"It's a setback in his recovery, there's an issue with that flexor mass," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "It's some time off to let it simmer down, get the inflammation out and then start back up. I don't know how long it'll be before he'll throw, maybe 10-14 days and then he'll throw. He'll keep working hard in staying in shape and doing all the other things he's capable of doing. It's a setback, so his timetable will be pushed back somewhat significantly."

The injury means Alfredo Simon will have even more time to make an impression as a starting pitcher. After not starting a game since the 2011 season, Simon has been wonderful in two starts this year. The right-hander has allowed only two runs over 15 innings, posting a 0.73 WHIP and 10/2 K/BB ratio in that span. He'll have a shot to post another good line when the Reds visit the Cubs on Friday.

Beltre DL'ed Due To Quad

After a few days to think it over, the Rangers ended up placing Adrian Beltre on the disabled list after all Sunday.

Beltre hadn't played since Tuesday's game, and the Rangers finally decided to give him a full 15 days to recover from the Grade 1 left quad strain that's plaguing him. The move is retroactive to April 9, and the club hopes he'll be ready to come off the DL as soon as he's eligible.

The move means more playing time for Kevin Kouzmanoff, who's impressed early on in Beltre's stead. The third baseman, who nearly made the team out of spring, is 5-for-12 since being recalled, and he started all three of the team's games against the Astros over the weekend. The 32-year-old should continue to get the majority of the at-bats at the hot corner while Beltre is out of commission.

National League Quick Hits: Adrian Gonzalez homered in his fourth straight game and has a nine-game hitting streak, leading the NL in runs scored ... Brett Anderson also received some bad news Sunday, as he'll be sidelined four-to-six weeks due to a broken left index finger ... Trevor Cahill allowed six earned runs in Sunday's start, dropping him to 0-4 with a 9.17 ERA and 2.15 WHIP. Josh Collmenter is being readied to return to the starting rotation, and Cahill looks like a prime candidate to be manager Kirk Gibson's huckleberry ... In a tip of the cap to the Masters, Brandon Crawford found the water Sunday -- his 10th inning solo home run into McCovey Cove gave the Giants a 5-4 walk-off win.

American League Quick Hits: Alexei Ramirez hit a walk-off two-run homer Sunday, giving him a .420/.463/.680 line to start the year ... Scott Kazmir pitched six stellar innings of two-hit ball before leaving with triceps tightness Sunday, an injury that the left-hander said wouldn't prevent him from making his next scheduled start ... Koji Uehara (shoulder) threw off flat ground Sunday and is expected to rejoin the Red Sox on Tuesday following further tests Monday in Boston ... Mike Trout went 3-for-4 with his fourth homer of the year Sunday, a mark that ties him for second in the American League through Sunday's games ... Martin Perez threw eight scoreless innings in a win over the Astros ... Sean Doolittle earned his first save of the year for the Athletics, a sign he'll be part of manager Bob Melvin's dreaded closer-by-committee while Jim Johnson gets straightened out ... speaking of closers, both teams' closers blew a save opportunity in Sunday's White Sox-Indians matchup. Matt Lindstrom allowed two runs in the top of the ninth inning but vultured the victory after John Axford returned the favor in the bottom half.



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



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