The Tigers moved to fortify a potent starting rotation at the July 31 trade deadline, a move that looks prescient in light of Sunday's developments.
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The club placed Anibal Sanchez on the disabled list with a Grade 2 strain of his right pectoral muscle on Sunday, an injury that will likely keep the right-hander out of action for 3-4 weeks. Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski said Sanchez' timeline won't truly be known until he is without pain in the muscle.
"It will depend on when he's asymptomatic," Dombrowski said of Sanchez' timetable. "That could be anywhere from seven days to two weeks. Really, nobody can give that answer yet."
The move comes just 10 days after the Tigers stunned the baseball world by trading for David Price to strengthen what was already a top-notch rotation. The team dealt away rotation member Drew Smyly and starting center fielder Austin Jackson in return for Price, adding him to a stable of starters that included Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander, Rick Porcello and Sanchez.
Without Sanchez for the foreseeable future, the club will turn to Robbie Ray. Ray made three starts with the Tigers earlier this season, going 1-1 with a 4.70 ERA. Ray has a 3.72 ERA with Triple-A Toledo this season and despite some early struggles, Dombrowski said he's shown improvement recently.
"We know he has good stuff. He's been pitching better," Dombrowski said. "He's not Sanchez, but it doesn't mean he can't go out there and pitch well for us."
Ray is worth a look in AL-only leagues and even some deeper mixed leagues.
Sanchez' injury wasn't the only impact the Tigers felt Sunday. The team also placed Joakim Soria on the disabled list with an oblique injury, and injury that threatens to linger into September. The Tigers acquired Soria in the weeks before the trade deadline to shore up a leaky bullpen.
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Liriano Headed To The Show
In a season marked with the promotions of high-profile outfielders such as Oscar Taveras and Gregory Polanco, the next toolsy outfielder is set to make his major league debut on Monday.
Rymer Liriano, a 23-year-old outfielder in the Padres system, will be recalled by the club in time for Monday's contest against the Rockies, according to MLB.com. Liriano is hitting .292/.364/.476 with 31 doubles, 14 home runs and 20 stolen bases between Double-A and Triple-A this season.
And despite his lower profile, Liriano has a pedigree similar to some of the more celebrated prospects promoted in recent months. Liriano was rated as the no. 55 prospect in baseball prior to the 2013 season by MLB.com; Baseball Prospectus had him even higher, at no. 39 overall. But reconstructive elbow surgery forced Liriano to miss the entire 2013 season, leaving him as a forgotten man of sorts, at least outside of the Padres organization.
Now healthy, the outfielder is showing why those publications were so high on him before his injury. Liriano's speed plays more than his power, but his .476 slugging percentage this year is his highest mark since his Rookie League days in 2009. He seems to be beyond whatever elbow issues troubled him.
With a 23-year-old top prospect and a team going nowhere in the standings, the Padres will certainly play Liriano early and often over the rest of the year. As Polanco and Taveras can attest, Liriano isn't likely to be a savior, but his speed and power combo makes him a worthy pickup in mixed leagues where an open roster spot presents itself.
More Disappointment For CarGo
A disappointing season for Carlos Gonzalez got worse on Sunday.
The outfielder, who has dealt with a laundry list of bumps, bruises and objects with tentacles this year, was placed on the 15-day disabled list Sunday with left knee tendinitis.
More than a knee or a finger, though, this trip to the disabled list is an all-encompassing attempt to get the outfielder right physically and mentally after a long year, Rockies head trainer Keith Dugger said Sunday.
"CarGo is dealing with a lot right now," Dugger told MLB.com. "It's multiple injuries. You can see mental stress on him. You can see physical stress. Basically there comes a point in time when he's not performing at the rate he wants to. He feels bad. Walt [Weiss, the manager] feels bad putting him in the lineup.
"We made the decision, not just me making the decision, that he needs to take time off. He's going back home. We're going to get that ankle right. We know he's got patella tendinitis he's been dealing with. We know that thing isn't going away overnight or even in a week, and we'll get other opinions. But, again, we don't need other opinions. We know how to handle this situation."
The Rockies and Gonzalez have resisted the idea of shutting him down for the rest of the year, but the team is sitting in last place in the NL West and their other star, Troy Tulowitzki, is sidelined as well. There seems to be little incentive for the team not to play it safe with the 28-year-old and send him home for the rest of season.
For now, though, the Rockies will make do without CarGo. With Corey Dickerson and Charlie Blackmon holding down two spots, the club will likely go with Drew Stubbs and Brandon Barnes for the third spot. Both players get a bump in NL-only leagues -- Stubbs' bump being a bit higher, as he's more likely to get the lion's share of playing time -- and Stubbs may even be a worthwhile flyer in deep mixed leagues for his ability to contribute in a few different categories.
National League Quick Hits: Hanley Ramirez landed on the 15-day disabled list Saturday with a strained right oblique. Obliques are notoriously tricky, and there's reason to believe we won't see HanRam back in the lineup until September at the earliest ... A return to the lineup at all may be in jeopardy for Troy Tulowitzki. The Rockies are trying to figure out whether Tulo might have a labrum issue in his left hip, a diagnosis that would surely spell the end to his season and may require surgery ... Alex Wood dominated the Nationals on Sunday, striking out a career-high 12 batters over 7 1/3 innings in a win. He allowed only a solo home run to Ian Desmond on the evening ... Clayton Kershaw earned his 14th win of the season Sunday, allowing one run over eight innings of work against the Brewers. He owns a silly 1.78 ERA and 163/19 K/BB ratio over his 136 1/3 innings this year ... Kolten Wong had a four-hit day in defeat of the Orioles. Wong has 12 hits in August, 10 of which have come over the course of three games ... Brett Anderson, another injury-prone member of the Rockies, is done for the year with a bulging disk in his back. He'll visit with a spine surgeon this week to determine if surgery will be necessary.
American League Quick Hits: Joe Mauer is expected to be activated from the disabled list on Monday. Mauer hasn't played since July 1 with a right oblique strain ... Yoenis Cespedes hit his first home run as a member of the Red Sox on Sunday. It was an important one, too, a three-run shot to give the Sox a 3-1 victory over the Angels ... The Indians recalled Zach Walters, their return in the Asdrubal Cabrera deal. The infielder has hit .310/.361/.619 with 17 home runs at Triple-A this season, and his power upside makes him worth a shot in AL-only leagues while he's up ... Adam Eaton hit the disabled list over the weekend with a strained right oblique. It's another blow in what's been a tough year for the 25-year-old, who has hit .304/.370/.401 when in the lineup ... Tyler Skaggs' season is finished, and it appears his 2015 season is over before it even started. The left-hander has been told not to expect to pitch until 2016 after it was decided he needed Tommy John surgery to repair a partial UCL tear in his left elbow ... Norichika Aoki and Jarrod Dyson each stole three bases against the Giants on Sunday. The club took advantage of Giants rookie Andrew Susac behind the dish.