While Padres ace Tyson Ross has moved onto the next phase of his rehab from shoulder inflammation and is doing stabilization exercises (with strengthening exercises around the corner), there’s still no timetable for his return, writes MLB.com’s A.J. Cassavell. Ross has yet to resume throwing, and manager Andy Green tells Cassavell that not only is there no timetable for a return to the Majors, there’s not even a timetable for when Ross will pick up a ball. Green somewhat vaguely says that Ross has reported feeling good, but the lack of definitive updates on his return continues to represent an ominous scenario for the Padres.
More from the NL West…
- The D-backs’ lineup at the big league level is fairly crowded, especially when it comes to positions that could theoretically be manned by prospect Peter O’Brien, but manager Chip Hale said recently in an appearance on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM (Twitter link), “If you can swing it as well as Peter has, we’ll find a place for him, if he continues to do this — force our hand.” O’Brien is indeed off to another monstrous start at the Triple-A level, hitting .340 with eight homers through his first 97 plate appearances. Of course, O’Brien has also drawn just one walk against 26 strikeouts, and the matter of where on the diamond he plays is an ongoing conundrum. Formerly a catching prospect, Arizona moved O’Brien from behind the plate early last year due to defensive questions (most notably, he developed a case of the yips even throwing the ball back to the pitcher). He’s seen time at first base and in the outfield corners, but the D-backs have Paul Goldschmidt at first base with David Peralta, Yasmany Tomas and Brandon Drury all serving as corner options. Defense and a lack of walks will continue to be a question for O’Brien, but he’s a .293/.333/.570 hitter with 34 homers in 154 Triple-A games, so the Snakes are understandably intrigued by his bat.
- D-backs GM Stewart also appeared on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM this week with Jim Bowden and Jim Duquette (audio link) to discuss Shelby Miller’s early struggles. Said Stewart: “Shelby Miller, I think, it’s more really just he’s feeling some pressure of the trade: the players that we traded for him, trying to fit in, I think the whole ordeal has just been different for him leaving St. Louis going to Atlanta. … I think he’s feeling some of the pressure of [Arizona’s expectations to win].” Stewart says he had a conversation with Miller explaining that “there is no pressure here, on him,” instead conveying that Miller need only go out and throw as he has in the past with the Cardinals and Braves. It’s somewhat of a tough sell, in my mind, to cite the players that surrendered for Miller as a source of pressure, considering he was recently flipped for Jason Heyward. And, coming up through a competitive Cardinals organization, expectations of winning aren’t a new phenomenon for Miller, either. The 25-year-old has struggled to an 8.49 ERA with as many walks (19) as strikeouts through 23 1/3 innings this year.
- Early struggles from Matt Cain and Jake Peavy (who tied a career-worst by allowing four homers in his most recent start) have many Giants fans wondering about Tim Lincecum, but manager Bruce Bochy has continued to stand behind his struggling starters, writes Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News. Bochy reiterated on Wednesday what GM Bobby Evans said earlier in the week: the club has interest in Lincecum in a relief role — more specifically, a long relief role, per Bochy. Lincecum seems intent on attempting to break back into a rotation, though, making a reunion with the Giants difficult to envision. And, as Baggarly notes, Lincecum wouldn’t even be ready to join the rotation immediately, so he doesn’t represent a short-term fix for San Francisco’s ills. Moreover, it remains to be seen if Lincecum is even capable of performing as a quality big league starter on the heels of September hip surgery. While it wouldn’t take much to outperform Peavy (9.00 ERA, 4.96 FIP, 4.72 xFIP in 29 innings) or Cain (7.00 ERA, 4.66 FIP, 4.79 xFIP in 27 innings), I’d imagine that the Giants would want a more definitive upgrade were they to unseat one of their current starters with an external option.