Drew Silva

Baseball Daily Dose

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Daily Dose: Zuninooooo

Friday, July 6, 2018


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Mariners catcher Mike Zunino missed the first three weeks of the season because of a strained right oblique muscle, and now he can be ruled out for another couple weeks due to a left ankle bruise.


Zunino was placed on the 10-day disabled list Thursday after injuring his ankle while running the bases in the ninth inning of Wednesday night’s loss to the Angels. Zunino hit a leadoff single to open the bottom of the ninth, went first to third on a Denard Span double, and then was ultimately thrown out at home plate while attempting to score on a Jean Segura infield grounder. The injury happened at some point during that trek around the bags.


It’s not believed to be overly serious, but the Mariners didn’t want to play a catcher short for the next three or four days, or however long it would take for Zunino to get back on his feet and back behind the plate.


With the All-Star break coming in 11 days, and Zunino having to sit out for at least 10 of them, it’s very possible that we won’t see him again until the Mariners resume play for the second half on Friday, July 20 against the White Sox. David Freitas has been recalled from Triple-A Tacoma and will share playing time at catcher with Chris Herrmann in the meantime. Herrmann entered play Thursday with a .202/.280/.341 career batting line before slugging his first home run of the year off Angels reliever Miguel Almonte. Freitas is a .221/.286/.299 career hitter in the bigs. There’s no fantasy upside with either of those two.


Zunino hasn’t been able to build on -- or even come close to repeating -- the career-high .840 OPS that he generated in 2017, but the 27-year-old backstop had slugged 12 home runs through 60 games this season for a surprise Mariners team. In this current fantasy baseball landscape, where it’s hard to get anything positive from the catcher position, Zunino’s raw power does carry quite a bit of value.


If you’re a Zunino owner and looking for a catcher to plug in off the waiver wire, consider Max Stassi. He has taken over as the Astros’ starter with Brian McCann lost until September following arthroscopic knee surgery. Stassi, 27, owns an .815 OPS with seven home runs, 22 RBI, and 21 runs scored in 50 games (40 starts) this season and is currently owned in just seven percent of Yahoo leagues.



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Cueto Struggles in Return


The excitement about Johnny Cueto’s activation from the 60-day disabled list didn’t last very long into his return start Thursday night at AT&T Park against the visiting Cardinals.


Making his first appearance in the majors since April 28, the veteran right-hander surrendered five earned runs on 10 hits and two walks over five innings. St. Louis scored four of those runs in the top of the first, with Jedd Gyorko launching a three-run blast. Matt Carpenter added a solo shot in the top of the second.


Cueto mostly sat 85-88 mph with his fastball, at times touching 89 mph. That’s a pitch that averaged 91.3 mph last season. He also had trouble commanding his off-speed stuff on Thursday.


The next time Cueto takes the mound will be next Tuesday versus the Cubs, a team that ranks fourth in the majors in runs scored (430 in 84 games) and third in the majors in team OPS (.777). That’s looking like a start to avoid for fantasy purposes, given what we saw from the 32-year-old against the Cardinals, who rank in the lower-half of the league in just about every offensive category.


Cueto was 3-0 with a 0.84 ERA, 0.69 WHIP, and 26/6 K/BB ratio in 32 innings (five starts) to open the season, but he just missed over two months with a right elbow injury and he’s clearly not back to 100 percent.



Souza’s Back; Back Again


It’s been a frustrating year for Diamondbacks outfielder Steven Souza, who carried a good amount of fantasy hype into the spring after posting career-highs in OPS (.810), home runs (30), RBI (78), stolen bases (16), and runs scored (78) last season with Tampa Bay. He was placed on the disabled list just before Opening Day on March 27 -- about a month after Arizona acquired him from the Rays -- because of a right pectoral strain that he suffered in a Cactus League game.


Souza wound up missing all of April and then felt renewed discomfort in his right pectoral muscle less than three weeks after returning in early May. He went back on the DL on May 22, having appeared in only 14 games for the Snakes and slashing just .163/.234/.186 with zero home runs across 47 plate appearances.


At this point here on July 6, his ownership on Yahoo is down to 22 percent, and that of course includes rosters that haven’t been tended to in months. Souza was activated on Thursday after another six weeks off and is worth a second (or third) look in most mixed formats after proving his health on a six-game minor league rehab assignment in which he batted .400 with a 1.424 OPS, three home runs, two triples, a double, seven RBI, two stolen bases, and six runs scored.


Souza hit fifth for Arizona on Thursday night against the Padres, right behind Paul Goldschmidt and A.J. Pollock. That should be an advantageous spot for the accumulation of counting stats.



National League Quick Hits: Cubs manager Joe Maddon said he is unsure when Yu Darvish (triceps, elbow) will resume throwing … Trea Turner had himself a night Thursday, going 3-for-5 with a pair of homers -- including a grand slam -- and eight RBI to help the Nationals come back to beat the Marlins … Francisco Cervelli began a minor league rehab assignment Thursday with Double-A Altoona … First-round pick RHP J.T. Ginn plans to attend Mississippi State instead of signing with the Dodgers … Max Fried left his start Thursday against the Brewers with a blister. … Nationals placed starter Erick Fedde on the 10-day disabled list with right shoulder inflammation … Hernan Perez went 3-for-4 with a triple, a two-run home run and two runs scored to help lead the Brewers past the Braves on Thursday … Luke Weaver held the Giants to two runs over eight innings Thursday for just his second win since May 11 … Nationals manager Davey Martinez said Ryan Zimmerman (oblique) could begin a rehab assignment on Sunday or Monday … Jedd Gyorko went 3-for-5 with a three-run home run, a two-run double, and five total RBI in the Cardinals’ rout of the Giants on Thursday … Matt Wieters (hamstring) could begin a rehab assignment as soon as Friday … Marlins placed reliever Tayron Guerrero on the 10-day disabled list with a left lumbar strain … Cardinals acquired minor league left-hander Elniery Garcia from the Phillies for international bonus pool money … Brewers designated infielder Eric Sogard for assignment … Randall Delgado (shoulder) will be activated from the disabled list on Friday … Marlins designated outfielder J.B. Shuck for assignment … Giants released right-hander Roberto Gomez.


American League Quick Hits: Twins closer Fernando Rodney struck out two Orioles in a scoreless inning of work Thursday to earn his 18th save of the season … Mitch Haniger was scratched from the Mariners’ lineup Thursday due to a bruised right knee … Tim Anderson left Thursday's game against the Astros with a sore left forearm … Yuli Gurriel hit a walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the ninth inning Thursday as the Astros earned a comeback victory over the White Sox … Aaron Slegers limited the Orioles to one run over six innings Thursday to earn his first MLB win … Felix Hernandez is dealing with a stiff back but is still expected to make his scheduled start Friday against the Angels … Joey Gallo hit a 453-foot, two-run home run Thursday as the Rangers topped the Tigers … Jonathan Schoop hit a pair of homers in a loss to the Twins on Thursday … Darren O'Day's hamstring surgery is scheduled for next Thursday … Nick Tropeano (shoulder) will make a rehab start for High-A Inland Empire on Saturday … Joakim Soria suffered a blown save and took the loss Thursday against the Astros, allowing two runs on three hits and two walks while recording just one out … Matt Shoemaker (forearm) is scheduled to resume throwing next week … Chris Tillman (back) surrendered nine hits and four runs over six innings Thursday in a rehab start for Triple-A Norfolk … The Yankees will recall infielder Tyler Wade from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Friday … Rangers placed reliever Chris Martin on the 10-day disabled list with a left groin strain … Indians re-signed outfielder Melky Cabrera to a minor league contract; assigned him to Triple-A Columbus … Angels manager Mike Scioscia said Jim Johnson (back) is close to beginning a rehab assignment … Mariners released left-hander Ariel Miranda … Royals claimed left-hander Enny Romero off waivers from the Pirates … White Sox released right-hander Donn Roach.




Drew Silva is a baseball editor for Rotoworld and also contributes on NBC Sports' Hardball Talk. He can be found on Twitter.
Email :Drew Silva



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