Stephen Drew finally has a home, and his surroundings are going to look familiar.
The Red Sox re-signed Drew on Tuesday to a one-year, $10 million contract, which is a prorated amount of the $14.1 million qualifying offer he turned down over the winter. After waiting nearly two months into the season to sign, the shortstop is expected to need 7-10 days in the minor leagues to knock the rust off. He’ll take over at shortstop for Boston once ready, pushing Xander Bogaerts to third base.
"Provided everything works out [with the physical], we've added a very good player to improve this team," manager John Farrell told MLB.com. "That's the one thing that [general manager] Ben [Cherington] and ownership have repeatedly shown -- when a need exists, they'll do whatever is capable and available at a given time to improve the team. Stephen's return to us could very well do that. It'll add stability to the left side of the infield."
Drew hit .253/.333/.443 with 13 homers and 67 RBI over 124 games for the Red Sox last season, finishing as the 18th-most valuable fantasy shortstop. He should again be a solid middle infield option for fantasy leaguers but would be stretched a bit as a starter at the position. The Red Sox will enjoy the stability with the glove that he provides, as Bogaerts has looked a little shaky defensively at times. He made two errors Tuesday after finding out before the game that Drew was returning.
Bogaerts will still play regularly; it will just be at a different position. The future is less certain for Will Middlebrooks. The 25-year-old is currently on the disabled list with a fractured finger and, at best, will be looking at a platoon role once healthy. The Sox could also decide to send him to Triple-A to play regularly. With a .222/.277/.408 batting line since the beginning of last season, Middlebrooks certainly can’t be surprised that he’s being demoted.
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Elbow Injury Sends Lee to DL
Another day, another frontline starter heading to the disabled list with elbow problems.
The Phillies will place Cliff Lee on the disabled list Wednesday after an MRI revealed a Grade 1/2 strain of the flexor tendon in his left elbow. Lee originally felt soreness in the elbow during an April 16 start versus the Braves, and the discomfort returned during Sunday’s outing against the Reds. The MRI was ordered after he still felt sore while playing catch on Monday.
"We're going to be cautious with him, and there's no reason to try to push it," general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. told MLB.com. "Hopefully he's going to be ready by the time the DL's over."
While the Phillies are hopeful that Lee will be ready to go when his 15 days are up, it’s hardly a given. The veteran left-hander will be shut down for a week before attempting to resume a throwing program.
"I hope so," Lee said when asked if he could return after a minimum DL stint. "I've never had anything like this. [Doctors and trainers] seem to think that without throwing for a week it should be quite a bit better. I don't know if it's going to be gone. We don't really know till you get there."
The Phillies have not yet named a replacement starter for Saturday, when Lee’s next turn comes up. However, it’s worth noting that David Buchanan is currently scheduled to pitch that day for Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Buchanan impressed during spring training but has been underwhelming thus far for Lehigh Valley, posting a 3.98 ERA and 1.57 WHIP over nine starts.
Doolittle Seizes Closer Job for A’s
Sean Doolittle lost his 30-game walkless streak Tuesday, but he appears to have gained a new job.
After the left-hander closed out the Rays with a scoreless ninth inning to earn his third save of the season, Doolittle was, in effect, named the team’s closer by manager Bob Melvin.
“The way things are setting up,” Melvin told MLB.com, “there’s a good chance he will be in the closing role.”
The A’s have played musical chairs in the ninth inning since Jim Johnson lost the job, but Doolittle has more times than not looked like the club’s best reliever this season. The left-hander holds a 3.27 ERA, 0.86 WHIP and ridiculous 30/1 K/BB ratio over 22 innings. Four of the eight runs Doolittle has allowed came in an uncharacteristically poor showing on April 26, but he’s fired 10 1/3 scoreless frames since.
Former closer Johnson and his $10 million salary is facing an uncertain role after putting up a 7.00 ERA over his first 19 games. Johnson’s last appearance came in the sixth inning of Sunday’s blowout win over the Indians, and he gave up a run while walking three over two-thirds of an inning.
National League Quick Hits: Adam Wainwright surrendered only a Paul Goldschmidt double in a one-hit shutout of the D’Backs Tuesday, lowering his ERA to 1.85 ... Matt Harvey (elbow) told Tom Verducci of SI.com that he hopes to be pitching for the Mets in August ... Juan Uribe is likely headed to the disabled list after aggravating his right hamstring injury Tuesday ... Yovani Gallardo left Tuesday’s start with a sprained left ankle, but X-rays came back negative ... Denard Span went 5-for-5 with a pair of doubles in Tuesday’s win over the Reds ... Julio Teheran struck out eight while spinning a shutout in Tuesday’s victory over the Brewers ... Dillon Gee (lat) threw on flat ground Tuesday and is expected to throw off a mound later this week ... An X-ray Monday showed that Ryan Zimmerman's right thumb is still not fully healed, as he’s yet to be cleared to throw or hit ... Jason Grilli (oblique) is expected to be activated from the disabled list if a simulated game on Wednesday goes well ... Andrew Cashner (elbow) could play catch as soon as this weekend ... Michael Cuddyer was activated from the disabled list Tuesday after missing a month with a strained hamstring ... The Cardinals activated Jason Motte from the DL Tuesday ... Travis d'Arnaud is still experiencing concussion symptoms ...
American League Quick Hits: Chris Davis went 4-for-5 with three home runs and five RBI in Tuesday's win over the Pirates ... Chris Sale (elbow) could rejoin the White Sox' rotation this weekend against the Yankees ... Felix Doubront will undergo an MRI after leaving Tuesday’s start with left shoulder fatigue ... Alex Cobb will rejoin the Rays’ rotation Thursday, pushing Cesar Ramos to the bullpen ... Ronald Belisario earned his first save of the season in Tuesday's win over the Royals ... Masahiro Tanaka surrendered four runs -- three earned -- over six innings Tuesday to pick up his first professional loss since August of 2012 ... Drew Pomeranz threw five scoreless innings for the third straight start in Tuesday’s win over the Rays ... Edwin Encarnacion went 2-for-5 with a pair of two-run home runs in Tuesday's win over the Red Sox ... Trevor Bauer bested Justin Verlander Tuesday, allowing two runs over six frames in a victory over the Tigers ... Coco Crisp left Tuesday's game against the Rays after aggravating his neck injury ... Carlos Beltran (elbow) will try swinging a bat on Monday for the first time since landing on the disabled list ... Josh Hamilton (thumb) is hoping to be activated from the disabled list on May 26 ... Scott Baker has taken Robbie Ross’ spot in the Rangers’ rotation ... Corey Hart (hamstring) is expected to miss 4-6 weeks ...