Even though he’s facing a six- to nine-month recovery from his torn left ACL, Nationals center fielder Adam Eaton isn’t abandoning hope on playing again this season. “I’m going to work my butt off and give myself the best-case scenario to play,” Eaton told reporters, including Jamal Collier of MLB.com. “This year would be great, and if that is the case, that means we are playing in October, that is for sure.” Cubs left fielder/catcher Kyle Schwarber suffered multiple torn knee ligaments last April but was able to suit up again in late October for the World Series, of course, so it’s not impossible to imagine Eaton returning if the Nats get that far. However, Schwarber got hurt in early April, giving him a three-week head start on Eaton; further, unlike Eaton’s game, Schwarber’s isn’t predicated largely on either speed or defense. It’s also worth noting that Schwarber was not healthy enough to play the field during the Fall Classic, instead serving as a pinch-hitter in Chicago and a designated hitter in Cleveland.
When announcing Eaton’s injury Sunday, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo mentioned that he’s confident in the team’s in-house center field options. Right fielder Bryce Harper and shortstop Trea Turner, both of whom have center field experience, are not among the possibilities to grab the reins from Eaton, according to manager Dusty Baker. When asked Sunday if he’d consider using either Harper or Turner in center, Baker responded (via Eddie Matz of ESPN.com): “No. Leave my team alone.”
For Washington on Sunday, life without Eaton began with a 23-5 drubbing of the NL East rival Mets. Harper hit a home run and reached base four times, but his performance paled in comparison to Anthony Rendon’s. The third baseman had an afternoon for the ages, going 6 for 6 with three homers and 10 RBI. In the process, Rendon became the 13th player in major league history to knock in double-digit runs in a single game.
Here’s more from the NL:
- The Diamondbacks project Archie Bradley as a long-term starter, but the right-hander won’t go back to the rotation in the wake of Shelby Miller’s season-ending elbow injury, manager Torey Lovullo announced Sunday (via Barry M. Bloom of MLB.com). “He will remain in our bullpen,” Lovullo said of Bradley. “The way we look at it is he’s been pretty dominant in the bullpen.” With a 1.20 ERA, 10.8 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9 in 15 innings, the 24-year-old Bradley has indeed been almost untouchable as a reliever this season. Bradley wasn’t nearly as good as a starter from 2015-16, a 177 1/3-inning stretch in which he recorded a 5.18 ERA, 8.42 K/9 and 4.52 BB/9. While it’s a certainty that he’ll stay in the bullpen, it’s unclear who will take Miller’s spot in the rotation. “Those are the discussions we’re having,” Lovullo stated. “And within the system there are a variety of options for us. So, we’ll hammer that out. That’s a discussion we’ll be having as a group over the next few days.”
- Dodgers outfielders Joc Pederson and Franklin Gutierrez are nearing returns from the disabled list, relays Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times (Twitter links here). Pederson, who hit the DL with a groin injury this past Monday, will begin a rehab assignment at Single-A on Wednesday. The Dodgers’ hope is that he’ll be ready for activation Friday. Gutierrez, down since April 12 with a hamstring strain, started a rehab assignment of his own at Class-A on Saturday. With those two coming back, top prospect Cody Bellinger will likely return to Triple-A. The 21-year-old homered twice in the Dodgers’ improbable win over the Phillies on Saturday, contributing significantly to the excellent .316/.409/.632 line he has posted across his first 22 major league plate appearances.
- It seems Cardinals third baseman Jhonny Peralta’s DL stint is largely the result of a bad reaction to medication, as Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes. Peralta began taking pills toward the end of spring training in an effort to combat an upper respiratory infection, but they only worsened his condition and left him feeling “dizzy” and lethargic. Manager Mike Matheny took notice. “We watched him throughout most of spring and it was, ‘Hey, he’s really moving well, he looks strong.’ And then something hit a point and I started asking the medical guys, ‘Is there anything going on?’ Yeah, he has some upper respiratory stuff. But let’s look into this. It just doesn’t look right. Jhonny was really good about being honest about how he was feeling and not doing the, ‘I’m just going to grind and go.’” Peralta is now on the right track, fortunately, having stopped taking the medication. He could rejoin the Cardinals as early as May 8, per Goold.