Royals center fielder Lorenzo Cain left last night’s game with a hamstring injury suffered when attempting to beat out an infield single and will be further evaluated by doctors in Kansas City today, writes Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star. Manager Ned Yost said after the game that the early diagnosis is a hamstring strain, but there’s not yet an indication as to whether Cain will require a trip to the disabled list. Cain becomes the latest core player for the Royals to sustain an injury this season, as Mike Moustakas is out for the season with a torn ACL, while Alex Gordon missed more than a month due to a broken wrist (suffered in a collision that resulted in Moustakas’ ACL tear). The Royals’ loss to the Cardinals last night dropped them to six games out of the lead for the AL Central.
More from the game’s Central divisions…
- Billy Hamilton was removed from the Reds game against today after he was struck in the face by a ball off the bat of Anthony Rizzo that deflected off the glove of left fielder Adam Duvall (video link). Hamilton was down for several minutes but ultimately walked to the Reds’ bullpen with the team’s training staff but under his own power. Tyler Holt replaced Hamilton in center field, and there’s been no update from the team at this time, but one would imagine that Hamilton will undergo testing for concussion symptoms following an injury of that nature.
- Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review opines that the Pirates should make closer Mark Melancon available in trades this summer, as the club looks increasingly unlikely to fight its way back into contention. The Bucs have dropped 18 of their 26 contests in June and are currently sitting 14 back in the NL Central and 4.5 games back of the second Wild Card spot in the National League, and Melancon is a free agent at season’s end.
- I’d take Rossi’s argument a step further, though, as I feel that the Bucs should shop Melancon even if they turn things around with a strong showing in July and position themselves for a Wild Card berth. There very little chance that Pirates will take the financial risk of making Melancon a qualifying offer following the season, meaning that they presently stand to lose him for nothing if he signs elsewhere. The Pirates could turn to either Tony Watson or a resurgent Neftali Feliz to handle ninth-inning duties, and Melancon could help fetch a piece that could address another roster need in 2016 (and possibly beyond). The back of the rotation, in particular, could use some help. While moving him unquestionably thins out the bullpen, Pittsburgh will eventually need to limit Jameson Taillon’s innings in 2016, and placing him in the bullpen for the balance of the season following a Melancon trade would accomplish just that.
- Tigers right-hander Bruce Rondon is embracing a new role in the Detroit bullpen, writes MLB.com’s Jason Beck. Rondon has been entering games mid-inning and often working more than one inning and is thriving without the label of “future closer” being associated with him for the time being. Rondon was sent home early last season due to his “effort level” and questions surrounding his maturity, but manager Brad Ausmus sees a completely different person in 2016. “He’s definitely matured since the end of last year, no question,” said Ausmus. “He seems to have a better focus. At this point, really, when he’s asked to pitch, he takes the ball, doesn’t complain. He’s been a model citizen so far.” It’s a small sample, but Rondon is averaging 98.5 mph on his fastball and has allowed just one run with a 7-to-2 K/BB ratio in seven innings since being recalled from Triple-A. Even if his stellar results don’t continue, the gains he’s made in terms of maturity seem to bode well for his future with the club.