The Red Sox placed right-hander Koji Uehara on the 15-day disabled list with a pectoral strain earlier today, and manager John Farrell told reporters tonight that due to the “unique” nature of the injury, it’s difficult to put a timetable on the 41-year-old’s return (link via WEEI’s Ryan Hannable). “At the time of the injury we knew it was significant and we put him on the DL before the MRI,” Farrell explained. “It obviously confirms a strain. To what extent? We’re still getting our arms around that. This is a unique injury for a pitcher. I guess the best thing I can tell you is the MRI does confirm the strain.” With Uehara now joining closer Craig Kimbrel and Junichi Tazawa on the shelf (as shown on their depth chart), Brad Ziegler will step into the ninth inning for the BoSox. However, one can imagine that poor news regarding Uehara could prompt Boston president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski to further explore a trade market which he has already frequented.
A few more notes from the AL East…
- The Orioles’ troubles with pitching prospects are seemingly continuing, as Rich Dubroff of CSN Mid-Atlantic writes that top pitching prospect Hunter Harvey is visiting Dr. James Andrews to have his right elbow/forearm examined after exiting a weekend start due to the aggravation of his previous flexor mass strain. As Dubroff notes, Harvey has made five appearances this season — his first action on a minor league mound in nearly two full calendar years. Harvey’s career has been dramatically slowed arm injuries — a familiar story for the Orioles, who have also seen Dylan Bundy and a number of other pitching prospects battle through arm injuries.
- The Blue Jays expect Jose Bautista to rejoin the club as soon as Monday of next week, according to skipper John Gibbons (via Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi). Bautista has been absent from the Jays’ lineup for more than a month now due to a toe/foot injury but is embarking on a rehab assignment and is expected to get up to speed quickly. The free-agent-to-be is having a down season but has still been an above-average bat for the Jays despite a .230 average thanks to his hefty .360 on-base percentage and .455 slugging percentage.
- Davidi also writes that the Blue Jays will make a decision on left-handed reliever Franklin Morales tomorrow. Wednesday marked the final day of Morales’ minor league rehab assignment, meaning the Jays will need to put him on the roster. However, there’s no clear spot for Morales at this time, Davidi notes, and Morales can refuse a minor league assignment by virtue of his service time. Morales has tossed just two-thirds of an inning this year for the Jays, but his $2MM salary became guaranteed when injury prevented the Jays from leveraging a 45-day advance consent clause early in the season. If he elects free agency, Toronto would still be on the hook for the remainder of his salary. Morales, for what it’s worth, has pitched pretty well on his rehab stint. He’s allowed two runs in 11 innings with a 9-to-6 K/BB ratio.
- In a second piece, Davidi writes that Aaron Sanchez is making the Blue Jays’ dilemma about whether to return him to the bullpen in an effort to conserve his arm more and more dilemma. The right-hander dominated the Diamondbacks over seven one-run innings yesterday but also boosted his innings total to 125 1/3 in the process. The plan for Sanchez was always to shift him to the ’pen midway through the season due to the fact that he threw only 102 total innings between the Majors and Minors last season, but manager John Gibbons acknowledged that it’s becoming more difficult to envision. Gibbons tells Davidi that he still thinks the move will happen at some point, though he recognized that it won’t be popular among fans or in the locker room. “I know it would upgrade the bullpen, that’s for damn sure,” said Gibbons, “but he’s one of the best young starters in the league, too. I don’t know when that’s going to happen.”
- The Rays have recalled Alex Cobb from his minor league rehab assignment due to fatigue and mechanical issues, per Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. Cobb, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery that he underwent last May, is now unlikely to return to a big league mound until at least mid-August, though it could be a bit later depending on when he gets back on a minor league mound. Topkin notes that the Rays aren’t concerned about a larger-scale injury, however.