NL Notes: Lane, D’Backs, Marlins, Phillies, Nationals

There was a great story today in San Diego, as former Astros outfielder Jason Lane re-emerged onto a big league diamond with the Padres after last appearing in 2007. Now, the 37-year-old is a pitcher, and his first-ever MLB relief outing was a good one: ten up, ten down. Tyler Kepner of the New York Times recently profiled Lane and his now-consummate attempt at a return to the bigs.

Here’s the latest out of the National League:

  • The Diamondbacks placed middle infielder Cliff Pennington on the DL and recalled young shortstop Didi Gregorius to take his active roster spot, the club announced via press release. Arizona’s mix of middle infielders — including those two players, current MLB starters Aaron Hill and Chris Owings, and prospect Nick Ahmed — has often been discussed as a source of depth from which the team could trade. For Gregorius, who entered the year with 1.033 days of MLB service, staying on the active roster for most of the remaining 115 days of the season could position him for an eventual Super Two candidacy.
  • Meanwhile, the D’backs learned that they would be without one of their top pitching prospects for the rest of the season, as Jose Martinez will need surgery for a stress fracture in his right elbow, reports Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic (via Twitter). Baseball America rated Martinez as the team’s sixth-best prospect heading into the year, saying that he throws a mid-90s heater and outstanding power curve. Given his last name, Dominican heritage, and slight build, BA notes that comparisons to Pedro Martinez and Carlos Martinez are inevitable.
  • The Marlins‘ recent series of transactions are a sad reflection on owner Jeffrey Loria, opines Dave Cameron of Fangraphs. Even putting aside the question whether it made sense for Miami to target the relievers it did (Bryan Morris and Kevin Gregg), Cameron says that there is no reason the team couldn’t have found the money without giving up a significant future asset in the 39th overall choice in the upcoming draft.
  • A fire sale is looming for the Phillies, writes Todd Zolecki of, who says that the club has far too many holes to do anything but sell. Zolecki raises the point that GM Ruben Amaro Jr. has seemingly done rather poorly in generating returns when it has dealt veterans in the past. Having shipped out players like Cliff Lee, Hunter Pence, Shane Victorino, Jim Thome, Michael Young, and Joe Blanton in recent years, the return has been headlined by names such as Phillippe Aumont, Tommy Joseph, and Ethan Martin.
  • Ryan Zimmerman had a strong game in an interesting return to the Nationals tonight, appearing comfortable in his first ever appearance in left field and hitting the ball hard several times. As Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post reports, Zimmerman willingly moved off of his customary hot corner without complaint. “Our window is now,” he said. “This team’s good enough to win a World Series, I think. But you just never know. Realistically, we’re only going to be together for this year and next year.” Those comment seemed related, in particular, to the contractual status of Ian Desmond and Jordan Zimmermann, each of whom is set to reach free agency after 2015. “Guys like Desi, guys like Jordan — I don’t doubt that they want to stay here,” he said, “but baseball’s a business. You never know.”

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