In waving at a Will Smith slider for strike three in his only plate appearance Sunday, Jay Bruce looked bad.
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Things went from bad to worse after the game, though, when ESPN's Jerry Crasnick reported that Bruce needs surgery on his left knee -- his knee being the reason he wasn't in the game to begin with -- and will miss 3-to-4 weeks after the operation. The surgery will be to repair a partially torn meniscus in the knee.
The blow is huge for fantasy owners of the 27-year-old. Bruce was universally viewed as a top-20 outfielder heading into the season, and he cost a lot of owners a high pick with little production to show for it thus far. Bruce was hitting just .216/.352/.363 with three home runs and 14 RBI before the injury.
His absence opens the door for Chris Heisey to find regular at-bats in the Reds outfield. Heisey has seen part-time duty backing up all three outfield spots, hitting .254/.313/.339 in 59 at-bats. One area in which he's excelled is stolen bases, as he's a perfect 4-for-4 thus far. Heisey turned heads with a productive spring and with Reds manager Bryan Price's stated goal of being aggressive on the basepaths, Heisey has a lot of ways in which he could aid a fantasy team over the next few weeks. He's a must-own in NL-only leagues, and Heisey is a speculative add in mixed leagues as well.
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Wheel Of Fortune
The closer carousel was in full effect over the weekend.
A number of situations became clearer, with Hector Rondon, Jim Johnson and Ernesto Frieri taking steps toward gaining -- or, regaining -- the closer role for their respective teams.
Rondon appeared to emerge as the closer of choice in recent weeks, but that was solidified when he successfully closed out the Cardinals in Friday's 6-5 win. Rondon followed that up with another, slightly more stressful save Saturday, but a save nonetheless. The 26-year-old did take the loss in Sunday night's game with a less than impressive showing, but it was his third straight day pitching. The money still seems to be on Rondon as the closer for the near future.
Like Rondon, all Johnson needs at this point is an opportunity to show that he's ready to regain the job. Johnson has thrown 10 1/3 scoreless innings over his last eight appearances, and he's gained A's manager Bob Melvin's confidence with each successful outing. Johnson saved his own win Sunday, throwing 1 2/3 innings in a 3-2 win over the Red Sox. Melvin has already said he'd have used Johnson in save situations had they arisen; the next time one does, expect the sinkerballer to be in there.
Since being taken out of the closer role, Frieri has thrown 3 2/3 innings of scoreless baseball. The right-hander hasn't allowed a baserunner while striking out two in that span. Joe Smith has been serviceable in the role since taking over, but Angels manager Mike Scioscia has already begun to talk about returning Frieri to the ninth inning. With his recent success, it wouldn't be surprising to see Frieri, not Smith, get the call the next time the Angels have a save situation.
Trending the opposite direction is the Blue Jays' bullpen. After imploding yet again on Friday, interim closer Sergio Santos was relieved of his duties by manager John Gibbons. He'll be replaced by a committee of Aaron Loup, Steve Delabar and Brett Cecil, none of whom are dominant enough or right-handed enough to run away with the gig.
Instead, the Jays will bide their time and hope they can get by until Casey Janssen returns. Janssen is still a few weeks away as he works back from an oblique injury. In the meantime, all of the Jays' committee members can remain on the waiver wire.
Stroman Up, Morrow Out
Brandon Morrow's pain could be Marcus Stroman's gain in Toronto.
Morrow had a poor outing against the Pirates on Friday, and a pop he felt in his right hand during the start turned out to be a torn tendon sheath. The Blue Jays placed Morrow on the 60-day disabled list, and it's unclear how much more of Morrow we'll see this season. Surgery may still be an option, in which case Morrow's season will be finished.
In his place, the Jays purchased the contract of Stroman, a 23-year-old right-hander who was their first-round pick in the 2012 MLB Draft. Stroman was rated as the 27th-best prospect in baseball by Baseball Prospectus prior to the season.
The right-hander will be used in relief in the early going, but his best chance to help the Jays and fantasy owners everywhere is as a starter. Stroman has a 3.03 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and 188/43 K/BB ratio over 157 2/3 career minor league innings, with 138 1/3 of those innings coming as a starter.
The Jays rotation is pedestrian enough that Stroman should break in sooner than later. Grab him now in deep mixed leagues so that you'll be ready when that time comes.
National League Quick Hits: Matt Cain landed on the 15-day disabled list with a lacerated right index finger. Cain cut the finger with a kitchen knife while making himself a sandwich last Tuesday ... Hyun-Jin Ryu will see a doctor Monday for an examination of his left shoulder. Ryu is on the 15-day disabled list, and it wasn't initially believed to be too serious. More light will be shed on the severity of the situation after the exam ... Cameron Maybin scored the game-winning run in Sunday's walk-off win over the Diamondbacks. The outfielder is batting .348/.400/.522 since returning from the disabled list ... The Braves reinstated Gavin Floyd from the disabled list. Without room in the rotation for the right-hander, the Braves will use Floyd in relief for the time being ... Wilin Rosario will also serve a 15-day disabled list stint due to a viral infection. He's expected to need the minimum stay to recover from the infection ... Taking Rosario's roster spot was Jhoulys Chacin, who made his first start of the season on Sunday. He gave up four runs in five innings in a loss to the Mets ... After much deliberating, Ryan Braun was placed on the 15-day DL. With the ability to backdate the stint, Braun should be off and ready to go by the end of next weekend.
American League Quick Hits: Jason Kipnis was placed on the DL by the Indians on Friday with a right oblique strain. Oblique strains don't heal as quickly as most other injuries, so it's tough to put a timetable on the second baseman's return ... Rajai Davis had three hits, three runs scored and two stolen bases in Sunday's win. The outfielder is hitting a cool .337 with 11 stolen bases on the season ... Angels placed David Freese on the 15-day disabled list with a fractured middle finger. Freese was just starting to heat up at the plate after an ice cold early April, too ... Brian Dozier stole two bases and scored twice in Sunday's action against the Orioles. The second baseman leads the AL in runs scored and stolen bases on May 5 ... Adam Eaton hit the shelf with a strained right hamstring. The outfielder has had his share of lower-body injuries thus far this season ... The Rays designated Heath Bell for assignment, effectively closing the Tampa location of #ClubHeath.