Quick Hits: Bruce, Lueke, Phillies, Roberts

The Reds will spend the next three to four weeks without right fielder Jay Bruce, who needs surgery to fix a partially torn meniscus in his knee, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick tweets. The Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Fay initially tweeted that Bruce might need surgery. Here are notes from around the big leagues.

  • The slow start by Curtis Granderson of the Mets is worthy of panic, whereas Brian McCann‘s slow start with the Yankees is not, Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports writes in a piece about stars, and teams, who have struggled in 2014 so far. Passan cites the holes in Granderson’s swing, which could end up making his four-year, $52MM deal a poor one. Meanwhile, Passan suggests there isn’t anything glaringly wrong with McCann’s game — he has walked less than usual and swung at more pitches outside the zone, but Passan thinks those issues are correctable.
  • Joe Maddon says the Rays decided to designate Heath Bell for assignment rather than Josh Lueke because they like Lueke’s potential, Bill Chastain of MLB.com reports. “From a scouting perspective, we still see a really big upside with [Lueke],” Maddon says. “At times, you have to be more patient with a more youthful player … We still think if he gets everything together that we’re going to be rewarded by that patience.” In 18 2/3 innings so far this season, Lueke has a 4.82 ERA with 5.3 K/9 and 1.9 BB/9.
  • Phillies GM Ruben Amaro’s moves down the stretch last season and this offseason have helped the team in 2014, Bob Brookover of the Inquirer argues. A.J. Burnett has pitched well so far, and Roberto Hernandez has been at least moderately helpful. Also, Amaro didn’t break up the team’s veteran core, and Chase Utley, Carlos Ruiz, Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard have all hit well so far. Jonathan Papelbon has gotten good results as well. (Of course, the Phillies are still just 15-14, so they’re only performing modestly ahead of expectations.)
  • Ryan Roberts of the Red Sox could have declined his outright assignment and become a free agent two weeks ago, but he opted to stay in the organization in order to get regular playing time at Triple-A Pawtucket, Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal writes. “I didn’t need to go wait for another team to pick me up and go somewhere else,” says Roberts. “I didn’t have time to do any of that stuff. What I needed to do was start playing baseball. Sitting at home for a couple of weeks was enough for me.” Roberts spent most of the last three seasons in the big leagues with the Diamondbacks and Rays, but did spend a chunk of 2013 at the Triple-A level.

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