A few weeks ago, Huston Street reminded us that he's "good at baseball, when (he's) healthy."
It's the caveat, then, that's proving to be a problem.
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After a 2016 season marred by injuries, Street once again appears destined to miss time this year after being diagnosed Saturday with a Grade 1 lat strain. Street won't throw for the next three to four weeks before being re-evaluated, almost certainly ruling him out for the start of the season.
“There’s a reason I didn’t throw that next pitch, because I felt enough to know that I shouldn’t throw another pitch,” Street said. “I’m extremely thankful I didn’t throw another pitch, let me just put it that way. When you have something wrong with your muscle tissue and you’re gonna throw another pitch at full speed, it’s just way more damage.”
Street struggled to a 6.45 ERA in 22 1/3 innings last year, but even before injury, he was quickly sliding downhill from the dominant reliever he once was. His sinker velocity has decreased in each of the past four seasons, bottoming out at 88.2 mph last year.
Street's injury may actually help the Angels save themselves from themselves. Seniority may have led Angels manager Mike Scioscia to go with the 33-year-old Street as the team's closer, but Cam Bedrosian is almost certainly the Angels' best reliever. The 25-year-old struck out 31.5 percent of the batters he faced in 2016 en route to posting a 1.12 ERA and 1.09 WHIP.
Bedrosian was part of a camp competition with Street and Andrew Bailey, and with Street bowing out Scioscia said the race is still wide open.
“We’re not gonna start handicapping this thing,” Scioscia said. “But we’ve got real good arms that we’re excited about. We’ll just see how things play out as we go through the spring.”
Either pitcher would be a must-own if he wins the closer job, but Bedrosian is now worth a speculative grab late in drafts with hopes that he can secure the gig.
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Carpenter (Back) Withdraws From WBC
Matt Carpenter is turning his back -- his lower back, specifically -- on his country.
OK, so maybe it's not that dire, but Carpenter on Friday withdrew from the upcoming World Baseball Classic due to lingering lower back tightness. Carpenter was expected to be in a reserve role for the United States club.
Despite pulling out of the event, Carpenter said he doesn't think the injury is overly serious.
"If this was the regular season or the postseason, I could play," Carpenter said Saturday. "But I don’t want to play at an 80 percent level when I don’t have to.
“There’s nothing saying that I have to be ready for the season right now. For me to put myself into a tough situation by trying to ramp it before the Classic wasn’t a smart idea.”
Carpenter has missed a handful of games as the tightness has lingered, but with a month left before Opening Day it's not time to panic as it relates to his outlook. Carpenter is still slated to be the Cardinals' everyday first baseman, and after hitting .271/.380/.505 with 21 homers, 68 RBI and 81 runs scored last season, he should once again be a productive fantasy asset.
The Price Is Alright
David Price's arm has long been revered as special, and now his elbow is being hailed as well.
After experiencing elbow soreness after a simulated game Tuesday, Price visited elbow specialists Drs. James Andrews and Neal ElAttrache for an opinion. The doctors not only recommended that Price avoid surgery, they told the southpaw that his elbow is "unique."
“Everything they said, honestly, couldn’t have went any better, really. It was almost like I paid them to tell me the stuff I wanted to hear,” Price said on Saturday.
Price said the doctors were impressed with his elbow's ability to heal itself, what Price termed a "bionic elbow."
Whatever it is, it's good news for the 31-year-old. Price will rest and be re-evaluated this week for the mild strain of a flexor muscle and some bone spurs, as reported by the Boston Globe.
Price now becomes an opportunity for shrewd drafters. With his draft stock taking a hit in the wake of the initial news, the lefty may be a buy-low candidate -- or rather, buy-lower-than-usual candidate, since he's not likely to fall too far -- in the coming weeks until he proves his health. There's still some risk there, but if the best elbow doctors in the world aren't concerned, neither am I.
Quick Hits: Corey Seager (back) remained out of the Dodgers' lineup Sunday. Seager returned to action Friday after missing time with a sore shin, but he tweaked his upper back in that game and has now sat out two straight. There's been no indication to this point that the ailment is more than a day-to-day thing, so it's likely that the Dodgers are just being cautious here with their young slugger. He could play as early as Tuesday ... Zach Britton (oblique) will throw off a half-mound Monday and a regular mound likely on Wednesday. Assuming all goes well, Britton will be ready to pitch in games after that ... Jim Bowden of ESPN and SiriusXM reports that the Royals, Blue Jays, Mets and Rays are among the teams interested in Brett Lawrie. Cast off from the lowly White Sox, Lawrie might have to settle for a part-time role wherever his winds up ... Kevin Kiermaier (neck) was back in the Rays' lineup Sunday. Kiermaier was actually ready to return from his stiff neck on Saturday, but the Rays wanted to give him an extra day just to be safe ... Reds manager Bryan Price said Sunday that it's unlikely Anthony DeSclafani (elbow) will have enough time to get stretched out by Opening Day. DeSclafani could be ready to pitch in a Cactus League game in about a week, but evidently that's not going to be enough time to build up his endurance sufficiently so that he can face the Phillies on April 3 ... Chris Tillman (shoulder) threw a successful bullpen session on Sunday. Tillman is behind schedule and will not be ready for Opening Day after receiving a platelet-rich plasma injection his right shoulder in December. He's making progress, though, and should be ready for game action after one more bullpen session ... Tyson Ross (thoracic outlet syndrome) will throw a 15-pitch bullpen session on Monday. Ross threw 21 pitches off a half-mound on Friday, but Monday will be his first time throwing off a regular mound since he had thoracic outlet syndrome surgery last October. The Rangers aren't counting on Ross making his season debut until at least late April, and in all likelihood it will probably be quite a bit later than that ... Andrew Cashner (biceps) has played catch two days in a row without any issues. Cashner was shut down for a bit after developing some inflammation in his right biceps, but he said Sunday that he's had "no pain for three days in a row." The righty should be fine come Opening Day as long as he doesn't have a setback ... Garrett Richards surrendered three earned runs in two innings Sunday in his Cactus League debut against the Reds. He has been eased into action this spring after spending much of the 2016 season rehabbing a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow ... Making his spring debut, Matt Harvey yielded four runs in 1 2/3 innings Sunday against the Cardinals ... Manuel Margot departed Sunday's game versus the Indians with left knee soreness. The speedy 22-year-old is trying this spring to win San Diego's Opening Day center field job ... Hyun-Jin Ryu (shoulder, elbow, leg) will make his Cactus League debut on Tuesday or Wednesday. Ryu was eased into things this spring following multiple shoulder and elbow issues, and he had a setback recently when he tweaked his left adductor muscles. However, he got through a simulated game Saturday with no issues and is now ready to test things out in a Cactus League contest ... Michael Fulmer has been scratched from a scheduled start Monday after spraining his right ankle during agility drills. It's a Grade 1 sprain, so Fulmer should ultimately be fine. However, it could be enough to prevent him from pitching for the United States in the World Baseball Classic.