Nathan Grimm

Baseball Daily Dose

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Daily Dose: Tanaka Out 'Weeks'

Sunday, June 10, 2018


It will be weeks, not days, before we see Masahiro Tanaka again.

 

That revelation came Saturday, a day after the right-hander left his start against the Mets due to tightness in both his hamstrings. The injury was later diagnosed as low-grade strains of both hamstrings, sustained while running the bases during the interleague series being placed at Citi Field.

 

"Obviously, it's very disappointing," Tanaka said through an interpreter. "You understand that it's part of baseball and that injuries are part of it, but it is disappointing that this happened. It's something that already happened and it's not something that you can take back."

 

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Despite the diagnosis, Yankees manager Aaron Boone said he believes it's very possible Tanaka comes back before the All-Star break, and no parties were ruling out an earlier return, even if everyone was being pragmatic about the situation.

 

Filling the Tanaka-sized hole will be tough for the Yanks, especially with Jordan Montgomery recently being lost for the season. Tanaka has a mildly disappointing 4.58 ERA but is 7-2 with a 1.09 WHIP and 73 strikeouts in 72 2/3 innings on the year.

 

"It's certainly unfortunate, but it creates an opportunity for others," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. "We're forced to find some other things out in some other areas with some other personnel. That's always healthy, too."

 

Among the possible fill-in options are David Hale, Jonathan Loaisiga and Luis Cessa. Cessa is working back from a strained left oblique sustained in mid-April and will require at least a couple rehab outings before returning. Loaisiga is having a sensational year in the minors, posting a 2.30 ERA and 1.09 WHIP with 54 strikeouts in 43 innings, but he's pitched just five games at Double-A and has yet to make a start above that level in his professional career.

 

For fantasy purposes, owners would be better served to look elsewhere. Some potentially available options include Nick Pivetta (59 percent owned in Yahoo leagues), Trevor Cahill (35 percent owned, but dealing with his own bumps and bruises) and the criminally underowned Andrew Heaney (49 percent owned).

 

Astros Facing Closer Controversy

 

The writing was on the wall before Saturday, and after Saturday it's written in ink, at least the part where the Astros have a situation at closer.

 

What it means going forward is less clear.

 

With a rested, healthy Ken Giles at his disposal, Astros manager A.J. Hinch instead turned to Hector Rondon to hold a one-run lead. Rondon gave up a leadoff single and issued a one-out walk but got Adrian Beltre to ground into a game-ending double play to end the threat.

 

Asked after the game if the move signaled a changing of the guard, Hinch was noncommittal.

 

"You guys know how I feel about the closer distinction in general," Hinch said. "[Rondon's] pretty hot. He's pitching very well. Kenny's had a hard time having clean innings. I wanted to give him a little bit of a breather. The ebb and flow of the season's always going to have a number of guys -- we might set a record on how many guys close out games for us, at least an Astros record."

 

Giles opened the door for the controversy a few weeks ago when he allowed three runs without recording an out in a loss to the Indians. Since then, he's earned a save and had two scoreless innings, but he's also been scored upon in two consecutive appearances. On Thursday, Giles pitched the ninth inning of a four-run game.

 

Rondon, meanwhile, has now been called upon in each of the Astros' last two save opportunities, converting both. He's got a microscopic 1.57 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and 26/5 K/BB ratio over 23 innings of work this year, and of course has some closing experience from his time with the Cubs.

 

The combination of Giles' shakiness and Rondon's effectiveness makes the latter a worthwhile speculative add for those owners in need of saves. Even if, as Hinch alluded to, the team picks and chooses its spots for saves, Rondon appears to be the first choice at the moment and could hold that distinction until he does something to lose it.

 

Cespedes Sees Rehab Assignment Paused

 

A rehab assignment may have brought more bad news for Yoenis Cespedes.

 

The outfielder, playing with Double-A Binghamton as he recovers from a right hip flexor strain, was removed from Saturday's rehab appearance because of tightness in his right quadriceps. The organization said the move was mostly precautionary, and that Cespedes will be re-evaluated Sunday.

 

Although the possibility exists the setback is a very minor one and that the team is indeed being overly cautious, leg issues are never to be taken lightly in regards to Cespedes. The outfielder has been plagued by leg problems in recent years, including his quadriceps, which have sidelined him for periods in both 2016 and 2017.

 

“We just need to make sure he can go out there and run a ball down in the gap,” manager Mickey Callaway said before Saturday's Mets game. “Put a good swing on the ball and run out a ball to first and stay healthy so he doesn’t get injured again, because we need him back for the rest of the year, not just for the next week, so we are going to make sure he is in a good spot.”

 

Stay tuned.

 

National League Quick Hits: Nationals activated OF Adam Eaton from the 60-day disabled list. Eaton has been on the shelf since undergoing ankle surgery in early May but was thrown right back into the action, batting leadoff and playing right field for the Nats Saturday. He finished 1-for-4 with a pair of runs scored ... Stephen Strasburg (shoulder) will be placed on the 10-day disabled list, Nationals manager Dave Martinez said Saturday. "He’s going to go on the DL, but we don’t know what we’re going to do yet," Martinez said. "And there’s no timetable. I mean, right now just let him rest until we get that inflammation out of there. We’re going to let him rest" ... Rich Hill (blister) threw a 60-pitch simulated game Saturday without issue. Hill threw without a cover on his left middle finger, another step in the path to a return. It was believed that if Saturday went well he might be cleared for a return to the Dodgers without a rehab assignment, but now it sounds as though he'll throw a bullpen session in a few days before it's decided whether his next start will be with the Dodgers or one of their minor league affiliates. Either way, he's progressing toward a mid-June return ... Phillies activated OF Rhys Hoskins from the 10-day disabled list. Hoskins made it back much quicker than anticipated from a fractured jaw and showed that he's just fine, going 2-for-4 with a home run and three RBI against the Brewers on Saturday ... Carlos Gonzalez (back) is doubtful for Sunday's game against the Diamondbacks, manager Bud Black said. CarGo was a late scratch from Saturday's lineup after back spasms forced him to the sidelines, and it seems as though they're somewhat serious. Noel Cuevas started in place of Gonzalez on Saturday and may draw the start Sunday as well ... Mike Soroka (shoulder) will be activated from the disabled list and start Wednesday, Braves manager Brian Snitker said Saturday. Soroka hit the disabled list with a right shoulder strain in mid-May, making his first rehab start this past Thursday. And it was apparently an effective one, as it was all the Braves needed to see to dub him ready to return. Soroka put up a 3.68 ERA through 14 2/3 innings before the injury ... Paul Goldschmidt homered twice, driving in four, to help lead the Diamondbacks to a 12-7 win over the Rockies on Saturday. Goldschmidt finished 3-for-4 with three runs scored, which, somewhat incredibly, is the fourth game in a row that he's had three or more hits. It was also the second consecutive game that he's homered twice, suddenly giving him 12 homers on the year. Reports of his death were greatly exaggerated ... Jon Lester allowed just one base hit while firing seven shutout frames to beat the Pirates on Saturday. A third-inning triple by rookie Austin Meadows was the only mark in the hit column for the Pirates in the ballgame. Lester struck out five and walked two as he improved his record to 7-2 with a 2.22 ERA and 1.09 WHIP through 13 starts ... Trevor Story went 3-for-4 with a pair of two-run home runs in a loss to the Diamondbacks on Saturday. Story twice gave the Rockies early leads, taking D'backs starter Matt Koch deep in the first and third innings. The homers gave him 14 on the year and a National League-leading 47 RBI ...Ivan Nova (finger) will be activated from the 10-day disabled list and start Sunday's game against the Cubs, manager Clint Hurdle said Saturday. Nova has been sidelined since May 25 with a sprained right ring finger, and he's been throwing bullpen sessions and simulated games as he worked toward a return.

 

American League Quick Hits: J.D. Martinez (back) returned to the Red Sox' starting lineup on Saturday. Martinez was pulled from Thursday's game due to renewed tightness in his back and sat out Friday's game as a precautionary measure. He certainly didn't show any ill effects, going 2-for-4 with his league-leading 21st home run of the year in Saturday's win ... Albert Pujols went 2-for-4 with a solo home run in Saturday's 2-1 win over the Twins. His blast off starter Kyle Gibson tied him with Stan Musial for seventh on the career RBI list with 1951. Next up is Lou Gehrig with 1995 and Barry Bonds with 1996. For the season, the 38-year-old first baseman has a .252 batting average with nine home runs and 33 RBI. He is also seventh all-time in home runs with 623 ... Jorge Soler was held out of the Royals lineup on Saturday with a bruised big toe. Soler sustained the injury when he fouled a ball off of his foot on Friday. He's considered day-to-day ... Jeimer Candelario went 1-for-6 with a walk-off two-run home run in the 12th inning of Saturday's 4-2 win over the Indians. On the whole, Candelario is slashing .263/.352/.512 with 10 home runs and 29 RBI over the course of 205 at-bats this season ... Danny Duffy registered 10 strikeouts while rattling off seven shutout innings in a 2-0 win over the Athletics on Saturday. The Athletics managed just three singles and three walks against Duffy without putting up much of a fight. Duffy's numbers for the season are not good but he is on a bit of a roll -- he has allowed one run or less in three of his last four starts. The outing boosts his record to 3-6 with a 5.28 ERA and 1.54 WHIP across 14 starts ... Trevor Cahill was scratched from his scheduled start against the Royals on Saturday due to a minor Achilles injury. The issue isn't believed to be major, and he won't require a trip to the disabled list. Chris Bassitt was recalled from Triple-A to start in his place.



Nathan Grimm is a baseball writer for Rotoworld. He can also be found on Twitter (@Nate_Grimm).
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