AL Central Notes: Ausmus, Tigers, Kluber

Tigers manager Brad Ausmus’ job “appears to be” in jeopardy, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Some that are familiar with the team’s thinking are wondering if the players have “stopped playing” for Ausmus in light of the team’s recent skid. He adds that Ausmus was a Dave Dombrowski hire, and while new GM Al Avila supported the decision, the Ilitch family (the Tigers’ owners) was far more skeptical on the idea of a rookie manager succeeding legend Jim Leyland. If he does get dismissed from Detroit, Ausmus would “have to wait about eight minutes for another job,” a rival GM tells Heyman.

More from the division…

  • Speaking of the Tigers, MLive.com’s Chris Iott writes that Detroit’s recent six-game road trip perfectly illustrates what a difficult task Avila will have in his first offseason as he attempts to rebuild the pitching staff. Detroit allowed 61 runs and scored just 20 on their recent six-game road trip, and there aren’t even three locks for the 2016 rotation at this point. Veterans Justin Verlander and Anibal Sanchez will be in, and there are young options beyond that duo (most notably, perhaps, Daniel Norris). However, Iott writes that the Tigers will likely add two starters from outside the organization. As far as the bullpen is concerned, there’s perhaps less certainty there, with only three — possibly four — certainties headed into next year. Neftali Feliz is an obvious non-tender candidate, as Iott notes.
  • The Indians announced today that they’ve scratched ace Corey Kluber from his start due to a strained right hamstring. Kluber will be sidelined for one or two starts, but Cleveland expects him to pitch again in 2015. Nonetheless, the injury is notable for a team that is on the outskirts of the AL Wild Card race at six games back and will play its next nine games against teams with sub-.500 records (the White Sox and Tigers).

New York Notes: Teixeira, Harvey, Bullpens

The Yankees and Mets are both firmly in the playoff picture, with the Yanks currently occupying a Wild Card spot and the Mets holding a six-game lead over the Nationals in the NL East. Here’s the latest on each club…

  • Though the Yankees had to put Mark Teixeira on the DL and will be without him for a week, the team isn’t planning to pursue any outside help at first base, GM Brian Cashman tells Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Astros slugger Chris Carter and the MarlinsCasey McGehee have cleared waivers, Sherman reports, and while neither wouldn’t be eligible for the postseason roster if acquired, either could pair with Greg Bird at first base in Teixeira’s absence. However, Cashman doesn’t think the Yankees can find a definitive improvement over their internal options, suggesting that he doesn’t think too highly of either right-handed corner option mentioned by Sherman.
  • Agent Scott Boras feels that the Mets are putting Matt Harvey in danger by not strictly adhering to Dr. James Andrews’ recommended limit of 180 innings. “Any club that chooses to defy a surgeon’s wishes is putting the player in peril,” Boras tells CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman. GM Sandy Alderson contends that he’s consulted with doctors all year and considered any innings limit placed on Harvey to be “soft” in nature. Boras disagrees: “Expert opinion by medical practitioners is not a soft number. There are no soft numbers. These are medical practitioners providing opinions about when a pitcher is at risk, and when a pitcher isn’t at risk.” The Mets plan to skip one of Harvey’s starts in advance of the playoffs, but the righty has still totaled 166 1/3 innings this season, so he’s on pace to pitch far more than 180, especially if the Mets make a deep postseason run. In that scenario, Alderson said that Harvey would be monitored on a “case by case” basis.
  • Bullpen workload is a challenge for both Joe Girardi and Terry Collins down the stretch, writes the Post’s Ken Davidoff. Each skipper has a pair of late-inning weapons (Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances for Girardi; Jeurys Familia and Tyler Clippard for Collins), but each has had a heavy workload that will need to be monitored heading into October. As Davidoff notes, the presence of Clippard has been a godsend for the Mets, who had hoped to rely on a quartet of power arms — Vic Black, Bobby Parnell, Jenrry Mejia and Familia — only to see all but Familia work their way out of the team’s late-inning plans in one way or another.

Minor MLB Transactions: 9/4/15

Here are Friday’s minor moves from around the league…

  • The Phillies announced that they’ve selected the contract of outfielder Brian Bogusevic and transferred left-hander Elvis Araujo to the 60-day disabled list in order to clear a spot for him on the 40-man roster. Bogusevic, 31, has had a nice season at the Triple-A level with Philadelphia, hitting .296/.359/.424 with 12 homers and 24 steals. He has a fair amount of MLB experience under his belt — most recently with the Cubs in 2013, when he slashed .273/.323/.462 in 155 plate appearances. Araujo strained his groin and landed on the 15-day DL late last month, so by transferring him to the 60-day DL, the Phils have effectively ended his season.


NL West Notes: Lincecum, Myers, Castillo, D-Backs

The Giants aren’t ruling out the possibility of a reunion with Tim Lincecum following the 2015 season, CEO Larry Baer and manager Bruce Bochy told John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle“I don’t think Timmy is ruling it out, and I don’t think we’re ruling it out,” said Baer. Bochy added: “My door will always be open for Tim Lincecum. That’s how much I think of him. That’s a decision that’s made on the baseball side, obviously with everybody. I appreciate what he’s done and the time I’ve had to this point with him. It doesn’t mean that won’t continue.” Baer called Lincecum’s contributions to the Giants franchise “endless.” The 31-year-old underwent season-ending hip surgery yesterday that will require about five months of recovery time. A free agent at season’s end, it’s possible that Lincecum’s days with the Giants are done.

Elsewhere in the division…

  • Padres outfielder Wil Myers spoke with ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick about the frustration of the past two season’s wrist injuries and the accumulation of the “injury-prone” reputation that’s now become attached to his name. “It’s the worst,” said Myers of the label. “I see it on Twitter and I hear it all the time. Everybody is like, ‘He’s too injury-prone,’ but it’s not like I have a hamstring injury where every time I run, I’m cautious about it. I had a bone spur taken out, and once this heals I won’t have to deal with this injury anymore.” Myers is confident in his ability to rebound once the wrist injury is fully healed, but as Crasnick notes, there’s a question as to where he will play. Myers was probably miscast as a center fielder this season, so he could slide over to left field if Justin Upton departs via free agency. Another possibility is first base, if the Padres are looking for an upgrade over Yonder Alonso’s low power numbers. One NL scout told Crasnick he feels Myers could be a Gold Glove caliber first baseman, based purely on his athleticism.
  • Welington Castillo has positioned himself as the Diamondbacks‘ catcher of the future, but as Zach Buchanan of the Arizona Repbulic writes, Castillo nearly gave up baseball at the age of 16 when faced with the realization that his future was behind the plate. Castillo grew up playing shortstop but lacked the speed or quickness to play there at a high level as he grew. When a Phillies scout asked for a private workout based on Castillo’s bat and then asked him to make some throws from behind the plate, Castillo was impressive but also uninterested. He walked away from the game for three months before being coerced into returning, only to receive an offer of just $10K after another Phillies scout deemed him “too short to catch.” Castillo eventually signed with the Cubs for a meager $22K bonus — a number that, in hindsight, looks like a considerable bargain for Chicago.
  • Buchanan’s colleague, Nick Piecoro, examines the budding logjam in the D-Backs infield. Chris Owings, Nick Ahmed and Jake Lamb have all shown flashes of potential but lack consistency, Piecoro writes, and now the progress of second baseman/third baseman Brandon Drury has muddied the picture. Manager Chip Hale told Piecoro that teams frequently ask about Lamb in trades, and they’ve also received inquiries on Drury and Owings. The presence of multiple seemingly big-league-ready infielders will give Arizona GM Dave Stewart some options as he navigates the trade market this offseason.

Quick Hits: Hart, Phillies, Davis

CJ Nitkowski of FOX Sports takes a look at the upcoming generation of MLB managerial candidates. He provides some interesting notes on five names to watch: D’Backs scout and special assistant Todd Greene, White Sox third base coach Joe McEwing, Dodgers director of player development Gabe Kapler, and Alex Cora and Raul Ibanez, each of whom currently work in the media.

Here are some more scattered notes from around the league:

  • The Pirates announced today that first baseman Corey Hart is finished playing this year. Hart, who signed a one-year, $2.5MM deal with Pittsburgh over the offseason, had been attempting to make a late-season return, but his health and productivity have been lacking all year. He’ll return to the free agent market after the season, but he hasn’t been a significant contributor since 2012 and his future looks murky.
  • While the Phillies possess an ugly win-loss record, as had been expected, the organization has shown real progress this year, CSNPhilly.com’s Jim Salisbury writes. Rival scouts have looked favorably upon the young players acquired in Philadelphia’s numerous recent trades, says Salisbury, and the team’s best higher-level talent has transitioned well thus far to the majors. There’s more to be done, of course, but it isn’t hard to see a promising path forward — especially given that the big-budget Phils now have less than $100MM in total future commitments on their books.
  • Slugger Chris Davis means more to the Orioles than his home run tallies, writes Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun. Of course, bringing him back in free agency will require a sizable commitment, particularly now that Davis — who has yet to turn 30 — is closing in on 40 home runs with a 138 wRC+. It doesn’t hurt that Davis has shown the ability to play a serviceable corner outfield (UZR views him as a slight positive, DRS as a slight negative) in addition to a solid first base. He’ll hold appeal to a variety of teams this winter.

Front Office Notes: Dipoto, Hazen, Cherington, Angels

The Mariners plan to interview current Red Sox consultant and former Angels GM Jerry Dipoto, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports on Twitter. Seattle recently parted with former GM Jack Zduriencik and is on the hunt for a replacement. Seattle appears likely to choose a baseball operations leader with prior experience in a general manager role, though it’s also said to be considering internal options.

Here are more notes on the front office and managerial changes expected to take place this fall and winter:

  • Red Sox assistant GM Mike Hazen is a candidate for the Brewers‘ general manager position, Rosenthal and colleague Jon Morosi report (Twitter links). Milwaukee has not yet begun a formal interview process, he adds. The Brewers say they’ll take their time in finding a new GM, but could be leaning toward a young, analytically-minded candidate.
  • Outgoing Red Sox GM Ben Cherington, meanwhile, may not be in a rush to reclaim that position with a new team, according to another tweet from Rosenthal. Cherington has received interest from clubs in unspecified opportunities, and he’s “in listening mode” rather than actively pursuing another GM post.
  • MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez discusses the Angels‘ GM search, which as recently reported is expected to move quickly. The club has stayed quiet on its thinking thus far, says Gonzalez, but it seems reasonably likely that it will look to go with a first-time GM from another organization. Gonzalez lists a wide number of theoretical candidates.
  • Bob Nightengale of USA Today provides an overview of the actual and potential front office openings around the game. He breaks down the latest rumblings among all of the clubs that seem reasonably likely to pursue change.

Minor MLB Transactions: 9/3/15

Here are today’s minor moves from around the league…

  • Two recently-designated Padres lefties have cleared waivers and received outright assignments, per Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune (via Twitter). Caleb Thielbar and Chris Rearick will both remain in the San Diego organization. The 28-year-old Thielbar has not received many innings at the big league level after two strong campaigns with the Twins. And Rearick will, it appears, end up back where he started before a recent flurry of claims, DFAs, and outrights.
  • Another left-handed reliever, James Russell of the Cubs, has also been outrighted, per MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat (via Twitter). Russell’s return to Chicago has not gone quite as well as hoped, as he’s worked to a 5.29 ERA in 34 frames with 5.3 K/9 against 2.4 BB/9.
  • The Yankees announced today that they have outrighted infielder Cole Figueroa to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The Yanks designated Figueroa, 28, for assignment earlier this week to make room for a series of September call-ups. He went 2-for-8 in a pair of games with New York at the big league level in 2015 but has spent most of the season at Scranton, where he’s batted .291/.361/.368 in 492 PAs. Figueroa can elect minor league free agency this winter.

East Notes: Bradley, Bour, Sabathia

The Red Sox‘ patience with Jackie Bradley Jr. is finally paying dividends, as Rob Bradford of WEEI.com writes. As Bradford explains, it’s not just about the results on the field. Bradley has, of course, been producing at a remarkable rate since his most recent call-up, but he’s also presented a different kind of demeanor, coachability, and comfort. Always a highly-regarded defender and a consistent offensive producer in the minors, Bradley seems to be putting it all together at the big league level in his age-25 season.

A few more notes out of the game’s eastern divisions …

  • The Marlins are giving an extended look at first baseman Justin Bour to see if he could play an expanded role in the future, MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro writes in a fan Q&A. The left-handed-hitting Bour is getting more plate appearances against southpaws at present. He owns a strong .252/.321/.449 slash with 15 home runs over 336 plate appearances, though he really has yet to be exposed to left-handed pitching at all to date. Another matter that could need addressing is the fact that defensive metrics are not fans of his efforts with the glove thus far.
  • Yankees lefty CC Sabathia says he’s feeling good about his progress as he works to return to the mound, as George A. King III of the New York Post reports“No pain, I’m excited,” Sabathia said of this right knee. GM Brian Cashman said recently that Sabathia will be utilized as a starter when he is activated. There had been some indication that the club was considering utilizing the high-priced former ace in a relief role.

Tim Lincecum Undergoes Season-Ending Hip Surgery

7:04pm: Club trainer Dave Groeschner says that Lincecum is expected to require about five months to recover from the procedure, as Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News reports (Twitter links). Lincecum underwent both a labrum repair and a shaving of bone to address an impingement. “The doctor was pretty confident this will help him, and help him return to pitching next season,” said Groeschner.

11:43am: Giants right-hander Tim Lincecum underwent season-ending hip surgery this morning, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Giants GM Bobby Evans said Thursday in a KNBR radio appearance that Lincecum is out for the season, though he did not definitively mention Lincecum’s surgical procedure (hat tip: Hank Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle). Said Evans:

“He won’t be able to come back this season. That’s evident. He went to Colorado to see a specialist and get a second opinion and get an evaluation with the prospect that he will have surgery. The next step for him is to do everything he can and get back and get well, but it’s going to take him out for the season. What that leads to in terms of his progression healthwise will dictate what opportunities he has with us or elsewhere.”

As Schulman notes, the injury may very well bring to a close Lincecum’s historic career as a member of the Giants.

Selected with the 10th overall pick in the 2006 draft, Lincecum debuted in 2007 as a hard-throwing 23-year-old, tossing 146 1/3 innings of 4.00 ERA ball and averaging better than a strikeout per inning with initially shaky control. The control woes quickly dissipated, however, as Lincecum won consecutive Cy Young Awards in his next two seasons. From 2008-11, there were few pitchers in the game that were decisively better than “The Freak,” whose unorthodox delivery and dominant results won the hearts of Giants fans. Over that four-year stretch, Lincecum posted a 2.81 ERA with 10.0 K/9 against 3.2 BB/9 in 881 2/3 innings, earning All-Star honors each year.

Since that time, though, Lincecum’s career has gone in the opposite direction. He’s lost the mid-90s fastball that he had in his early to mid-20s, and he averaged just 87.2 mph on his vastly diminished heater this year. Lincecum inked a two-year, $35MM extension after the 2013 season despite marginal bottom-line results (sabermetric stats pegged him in a more optimistic light), but he hasn’t lived up to that deal. In the end, he’ll have pitched just 232 innings with a 4.54 ERA to show for it under that contract.

Schulman writes that Lincecum “surely will not get a Major League deal” from the Giants this offseason, and if that’s the case, it does seem likely that his days with San Francisco are coming to a close. Barring an exorbitant recovery timetable from this operation, it’s tough to imagine that no team would give Lincecum a big league deal, his lack of recent results notwithstanding.

Heyman wrote earlier this week that Lincecum was seeing renowned hip specialist Marc Philippon in Vail, Colo. Per Heyman’s report, surgery would most likely have Lincecum ready in time for Spring Training, and there’s a belief among some doctors that the dip in velocity is partially tied to his hip troubles.


Dodgers Designate Andy Wilkins

The Dodgers have designated first baseman Andy Wilkins for assignment, the club announced. His 40-man spot was needed for the activation of top prospect Corey Seager, who’ll start tonight at shortstop.

Wilkins, 26, was acquired from the Blue Jays back in early May. He received a brief call-up last year with the White Sox, but has spent most of his time over the last several seasons in the upper minors. Since coming to the Los Angeles organization, Wilkins has slashed .249/.307/.472 while contributing 18 home runs at the Triple-A level.


Injury Notes: Johnson, Scribner, Blanks

Let’s check in on a few injury situations around the league:

  • Padres righty Josh Johnson says he’s ready for a rehab assignment, as Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. Johnson has dealt with a variety of health issues, most recently undergoing Tommy John surgery and experiencing several setbacks in his return, and is currently taking part in simulated games. The former top-of-the-rotation hurler is aiming to make it back to the big leagues this year in a relief capacity. Johnson is still just 31, though he’s now far removed from his last effective big league action — a 191 1/3-frame, 3.81 ERA campaign back in 2012. Given his age and ceiling, Johnson will once again be an interesting name to keep an eye on this coming offseason.
  • Righty Evan Scribner will miss the rest of the year for the Athletics after being diagnosed with a torn lat muscle, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets. Scribner, 30, was in the midst of an interesting — albeit ultimately disappointing — 2015 campaign. Though he maintains a stellar strikeout-to-walk ratio of 9.6 K/9 against 0.6 BB/9, he’s been touched for 14 home runs (22.6% HR/9) in his 60 innings of work. He’s likely to qualify for arbitration as a Super Two after the season, as he’ll have 2.142 years of service on his clock, but could be a non-tender candidate for Oakland.
  • Another player who’ll be out the rest of the way due to surgery is Rangers outfielder Kyle Blanks, who will undergo procedures on both of his Achilles tendons, ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick reports on Twitter. The 28-year-old has had quite a tough time staying on the field. That’s especially unfortunate since he could have a productive role on a surprising Texas club that could use his right-handed bat. Blanks slashed a strong .313/.352/.522 in 71 plate appearances earlier this year at the major league level. Signed as a minor league free agent after he was non-tendered last winter by the A’s, Blanks will actually be arb-eligible once again. He entered the season having accumulated 5.005 seasons of service, and has added just 159 more since his contract was purchased on April 29th. (Players must reach 172 days to tack on a new season, so Blanks will still be just shy of six total years of service.) Given his injury issues, of course, it seems unlikely that the Rangers will tender him a contract.

AL Central Notes: Perkins, Ramirez, Almonte, Indians

Twins closer Glen Perkins told reporters today that he can “barely walk” due to back spasms, per La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune (Twitter links). Perkins will not accompany the team to Houston for its weekend series and will instead remain in Minneapolis for treatment. Per the Pioneer Press’ Jace Frederick and MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger (Twitter links), Perkins says he is “baffled” by the recurrence of back pain, as he felt fine after recording a save on Tuesday and believed himself to be 90 to 95 percent healed. Instead, he awoke Wednesday to the realization that he could barely get out of bed. It’s not known how long Perkins will be sidelined, but the injury makes the Twins’ acquisitions of Kevin Jepsen and Neal Cotts look that much more important. That duo, along with Trevor May, who has temporarily converted to a reliever (with strong results), will figure to play a key role as the Twins hope to remain in Wild Card contention.

Here’s more from their division…

  • Alexei Ramirez hopes to return to the White Sox in 2016, he tells Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune“This was the team that gave me the opportunity to play in the big leagues and I want to spend the rest of my career here,” said Ramirez via interpreter. Chicago holds a $10MM option with a $1MM buyout on the 33-year-old Ramirez, essentially making it a $9MM decision for the Sox. Ramirez’s .243/.273/.345 batting line would make that seem like an easy call, Ramirez has made things tougher on GM Rick Hahn and his staff by hitting .285/.324/.435 with six homers and seven steals in 53 games dating back to July 1.
  • Zack Meisel of Cleveland.com chronicles Abraham Almonte‘s long journey to the Indians, including his battle with alcohol abuse along the way. Almonte admits that a shoulder injury suffered in 2010 as a minor leaguer with the Yankees led him to drinking nearly every day and candidly recounts the story of how he overcame his problems. Now with the Indians after being traded three times in three seasons, Almonte says he’s having the most fun of his career, and he’s drawing praise from teammates and coaches alike. Almonte, still just 26 years old, is hitting .274/.326/.536 with three homers and three steals in 92 plate appearances as Cleveland’s primary center fielder. His defense, characteristically, has been outstanding according to metrics such as Ultimate Zone Rating and Defensive Runs Saved.
  • The Indians will likely promote left-hander Giovanni Soto and infielder Michael Martinez tomorrow, tweets MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian. However, neither is on the team’s 40-man roster, meaning they’ll have to make a pair of 40-man moves in order to accommodate the duo. This is my speculation, but moving T.J. House to the 60-day disabled list would clear one spot, but there’s no injury-related move that could free up a second spot (unless the team decides Carlos Carrasco is done for the year), making a DFA seem probable.

Tigers Outright Josh Zeid

The Tigers announced today that they’ve outrighted pitcher Josh Zeid off the 40-man roster in order to clear space for left-hander Kyle Lobstein, who has been activated from the 60-day disabled list (Twitter link).

Zeid, a 28-year-old right-hander, was initially a 10th-round draft pick of the Phillies back in 2009. He went from Philadelphia to Houston in the initial Hunter Pence trade (alongside Domingo Santana, Jarred Cosart and Jon Singleton) and was ultimately picked up by the Tigers on waivers from Houston.

In 65 innings at Triple-A this season, Zeid has worked to a 4.71 ERA with a 57-to-39 K/BB ratio in 65 innings. His overall Triple-A track record is better than that, however, as he has a lifetime 3.96 ERA in 127 1/3 innings there. Zeid also has a fair amount of MLB experience as well, having tallied a 5.21 ERA with 7.8 K/9 against 3.5 BB/9 in 48 1/3 innings from 2013-14 as a member of the Astros.


Dodgers To Promote Corey Seager

10:15am: Part of the reason for Seager’s recall is that fellow shortstop option Jose Peraza is dealing with a sore hamstring that will sideline him for three to five games, leaving the team with no backup shortstop, tweets Rosenthal. Kiké Hernandez, another option, is still on the disabled list with his own hamstring injury.

9:05am: The Dodgers are calling up top infield prospect Corey Seager, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Seager is ranked by many as the game’s top overall prospect.

Corey Seager

The 21-year-old Seager is the younger brother of Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager and is a former first-round pick (18th overall in 2012). Seager has steadily risen up prospect charts over the course of his pro career and currently ranks No. 1 overall per Baseball America, ESPN’s Keith Law and Fangraphs’ Kiley McDaniel. MLB.com ranks him second in the game, placing him behind only Minnesota’s Byron Buxton.

Seager has split the 2015 season between Double-A and Triple-A, where he has accumulated a combined .292/.343/.486 batting line with 18 homers, 36 doubles and three triples on the season. Though he’s spent much of his career at shortstop, Seager has played some third base this season, and all of the prospect rankings above mention that he seems likely to eventually transition to the hot corner due to his size (6’4″, 215 pounds). MLB.com notes that he has the arm and instincts to handle shortstop but lacks the quickness one would typically expect out of a shortstop.

For the remainder of the 2015 season, however, Seager could get looks at both shortstop and third base. Jimmy Rollins has struggled with the bat for most of the season (though he’s been better of late, slashing .262/.313/.436 over an admittedly arbitrary sample of his past 37 games), and Justin Turner is presently dealing with an injured finger. As Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets, the Dodgers’ previous mentality had been that they wouldn’t promote Seager unless he had a spot to play, so perhaps Turner’s hand is worse than they’ve let on, or the team simply had a change of heart.

From a service time standpoint, Seager currently would project to be a free agent after the 2021 season and would not be in line to achieve Super Two designation along the way. Of course, that assumes that the Dodgers will keep him in the Major Leagues from this point forth. Seager could certainly struggle in the Majors in his first cup of coffee, prompting further minor league time. The Dodgers could see long-term benefit from keeping him in the minors a bit longer, as delaying his 2015 debut into mid-May would buy the team an additional year of control over Seager by delaying his free agency until after the 2022 campaign.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


NL East Notes: Brown, Nats, Black, Murphy

Domonic Brown‘s career with the Phillies may be over, writes Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com. Brown tumbled over the right field wall while trying to make a catch in last night’s game and exited the contest to be tested for concussion symptoms. He’s not traveling with the team to Boston and will instead meet with a specialist today. Brown has had concussions in the past, and if he’s determined to have one now, it could spell the end of his season and his Phillies tenure alike, as the 28-year-old former top prospect is due a raise on his $2.5MM salary this winter via the arbitration process. Brown is batting .228/.284/.349 in 63 games this season and hasn’t produced since a May surge back in 2013 that led him to an All-Star berth.

Here’s more from the NL East…

  • The Nationals added another pair of arms to a beleaguered bullpen by calling up Matt Grace and Rafael Martin, and James Wagner of the Washington Post writes that additional arms, including A.J. Cole, could be on the way. The Nats could’ve used the extra bullpen help earlier this week, but GM Mike Rizzo explained to Wagner that the team felt OK about its bullpen depth, not expecting Joe Ross to last just 2 2/3 innings in the shortest start of his career.
  • Right-hander Vic Black will be a minor league free agent this offseason after being outrighted by the Mets, but the hard-throwing reliever told NJ.com’s Mike Vorkunov that he hopes to return to the Mets. Black, 27, has been slowed by injuries this season but entered the year expected to be a big contributor in the bullpen. He’s planning to pitch in winter ball to make up for some of the lost innings from 2015. Black admits that his emotions have ranged “from angry to confused to frustrated to bewildered” but says he can’t imagine playing elsewhere: “I love the guys, I love the city and I certainly don’t want to go anywhere else. … Loyalty is a big part of who I am.”
  • Daniel Murphy exited the Mets‘ Wednesday contest due to quadriceps discomfort and won’t travel with the team to Miami for its weekend series, writes MLB.com’s Jamal Collier. He’ll be examined by a specialist on today’s off-day, though the team, for now, is calling the move precautionary.