Javier Baez’s major league debut Tuesday didn’t start off how it had been in his dreams, as he went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts in his first five plate appearances.
And then... BOOM.
Baez showed off his lightning-quick bat and fantastic power to all fields by drilling the first pitch of the 12th inning deep into the right-center field bullpen in the Cubs’ 6-5, extra-innings victory over the Rockies. The win was the Cubs’ sixth in their last eight games.
Ranked at midseason by Baseball America as the No. 7 prospect in the game, Baez showed both the tantalizing and the developing portions of his game Tuesday. The raw talent is undeniable, as he has Gary Sheffield-quick hands and the pop to hit the ball out of any park at any time. However, the 21-year-old often has an all-or-nothing approach, which resulted in a 350/88 K/BB ratio at the minor league level.
Is he ready to succeed in the majors right away? Time will tell, but it should be fun along the way.
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Wacha Cleared for Throwing Program
The Cardinals bolstered their rotation depth at the trade deadline with the acquisition of Justin Masterson and John Lackey, but their biggest addition could come about a month from now.
After an MRI Monday revealed sufficient healing in his right shoulder, Michael Wacha was cleared to begin a throwing program on Tuesday. It was just some light catch, but it was nonetheless a big step for a guy who has been sidelined since mid-June due to a stress reaction in his shoulder.
"The arm feels great, and it's good to get some positive results back," Wacha told MLB.com. "I don't feel anything in the shoulder. It definitely feels strong, and it feels alive. I'm excited about getting good news and getting started back up here."
Wacha will be limited to flat-ground throwing possibly for as long as two weeks before he undergoes another MRI to check on the shoulder. As long as it shows no issues, he’ll be cleared for mound work if he hasn’t already thrown from the bump by that point. Wacha obviously still has a ways to go, but so far things are trending in the right direction for him to rejoin the Cards’ rotation next month.
"As long as there is nothing that shows up [on the MRI] in two weeks ... we'll just keep moving forward," general manager John Mozeliak told MLB.com. "We'll take it day by day. Right now there is a lot of optimism."
Craig Hits DL; Victorino has Surgery
The Red Sox remade their roster before last week’s trade deadline more than anyone. They’ve made some more changes post-deadline, but not the kind they were hoping for.
Allen Craig lasted just one game with Boston before being placed on the disabled list Tuesday with a left foot injury. Yes, it’s the same foot that caused him to miss nearly two months of action last season before he made a gimpy return during the World Series. Craig seems confident that this injury is just a minor one, calling it a “little tweak,” but the Red Sox will proceed cautiously.
"There's the likelihood [we'll have] a second opinion with Dr. [Robert] Anderson," manager John Farrell told MLB.com. "The fact is, he reached for the bag the other night and turned his ankle, and we just want to be clear and get as much information to determine if there's no correlation between the previous injury and this one. So we're still in a fact-finding stage right now."
Craig’s absence will clear more playing time for Daniel Nava and possibly Mookie Betts, though the Red Sox haven’t shown much of a desire to play Betts regularly at the big league level. Brock Holt has maintained a regular job even after the recall of Will Middlebrooks, but he could see more time in the outfield now.
One guy who won’t be seen in the Red Sox’ outfield anytime soon is Shane Victorino. The Flyin’ Hawaiian’s injury-shortened 2014 campaign officially came to a close Tuesday, as he underwent surgery to repair a pair of bulging discs in his back. Boston didn’t say how long Victorino’s rehab would take, only declaring him out for the season but adding that he’s expected to be ready to go for spring training next year.
Victorino is under contract for $13 million next season and will surely play regularly as long as he’s healthy. The Red Sox will have some decisions to make with their outfield, as they will have roughly a half-dozen capable guys for three spots.
National League Quick Hits: Andrew McCutchen has a fractured rib and cartilage damage but will try to play through the injury ... Brett Anderson is expected to be placed on the disabled list after leaving Tuesday’s outing with back spasms ... Angel Pagan (back) is on pace to be activated from the disabled list on Thursday ... Troy Tulowitzki (hip) has yet to resume baseball activities ... Andrelton Simmons is expected to sit out until Friday after exiting Tuesday’s game with a sprained left ankle ... Nolan Arenado’s status is up in the air after he appeared to injure his leg Tuesday ... Ryan Howard had a solo homer and a walk-off RBI single in Tuesday’s win over the Astros ... Gerardo Parra hit a go-ahead solo home run in Tuesday's win over the Giants ... Michael Cuddyer (shoulder) will begin a rehab assignment on Wednesday ... Gerrit Cole’s (lat) velocity faded and he was rocked for five runs on 10 hits over 4 1/3 frames in a rehab start Tuesday ... Neil Walker left Tuesday's game against the Marlins after his back tightened up on him again ... Johnny Cueto limited the Indians to two runs in a complete game win on Tuesday ... Carlos Gonzalez (ankle) is likely to be back in the lineup on Wednesday ... Scooter Gennett missed Tuesday’s game due to lingering soreness in his quad ... The Nationals claimed Matt Thornton off waivers from the Yankees ... The Marlins designated Jacob Turner for assignment ...
American League Quick Hits: George Springer (quad) could be activated from the disabled list as soon as Thursday ... Brett Lawrie will undergo an MRI after exiting his first game back from the disabled list due to back spasms ... Joe Mauer (oblique) is expected to rejoin the Twins' active roster early next week ... Norichika Aoki hit a grand slam as part of a 12-run outburst for the Royals Tuesday ... Felix Hernandez pitched eight innings of one-run ball in a win over the Braves Tuesday ... David Price yielded three runs in 8 2/3 innings but took a no-decision in his Tigers’ debut Tuesday ... Colby Lewis threw a surprising six-hit shutout in a blowout win over the White Sox Tuesday ... Robinson Chirinos finished 3-for-5 with two home runs in Tuesday's victory over the White Sox ... CC Sabathia will receive a stem cell injection in a few weeks in his surgically-repaired right knee ... Coco Crisp had an RBI single in his return to action Tuesday ... The Tigers signed Jim Johnson to a minor league contract ... Masahiro Tanaka (elbow) made another 50 throws on Tuesday and felt good ... Edwin Encarnacion (quad) has resumed hitting and should resume running in a couple days ... Nick Swisher (wrist) sat out a second straight game Tuesday ... Eugenio Suarez (knee) could return to the lineup as soon as Wednesday ...