- Dodgers left-handed reliever Tony Cingrani, who has yet to play this season, will likely see his season come to an end, per The Athletic’s Pedro Moura. Cingrani will undergo arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder, which “probably” marks the end of his season, manager Dave Roberts told Moura. Currently on the 10-day injured list with shoulder soreness, Cingrani suffered a setback during his rehab assignment that required the club to shut down the 29-year-old. After undergoing an MRI, it’s been determined that the injury will require surgery, a disappointing and frustrating development for both Cingrani and the Dodgers, who acquired the southpaw from the Reds at the 2017 trade deadline. He has thus far been able to pitch in just 52 games for the Dodgers, and with Cingrani eligible for free agency at season’s end, he may have already appeared in his last game in Los Angeles.
- Third baseman Justin Turner will return to the starting lineup for Monday’s game against the Diamondbacks, tweets J.P. Hoornstra of the Southern California Media Group. His absence from Sunday’s game marks the fourth consecutive game that Turner is out of the lineup thanks to right hamstring tightness, and Jorge Castillo of the Los Angeles Times reports that Turner’s injury is “a little more severe” than anticipated, but evidently the 34-year-old is healthy enough to play in tomorrow’s series opener in Phoenix.
- Catcher Austin Barnes, who recently landed on the injured list with a groin strain, is on track to return in time for Friday’s series opener against the Giants, tweets Castillo, who adds that Barnes is slated to make a pair of rehab appearances for the Dodgers’ Class A-Advanced affiliate before coming off the injured list late this week. Barnes has posted a solid .738 OPS in 40 games for the Dodgers this year, working in tandem with Russell Martin to form a serviceable catching combination for a first-place team.
Justin Turner and the Dodgers received a scare when the star third baseman was hit on his left hand and wrist area by a pitch in the third inning of today’s 17-4 win over the Cardinals. Fortunately for all parties, Turner remained in the game until the eighth inning, when he was removed just because the Dodgers had their big lead. Turner missed the first six weeks of the season after another hit-by-pitch fractured that same wrist during Spring Training, and he told Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register (Twitter links) and other media that today’s ball found the same spot on his body. “Could have been worse if I wasn’t wearing the pad,” Turner said, referring to the protective gear he has worn since the initial injury. X-rays were negative on Turner’s hand and wrist, so it looks like another injury has been avoided. After a bit of a slow start that might well have been caused by his DL stint, Turner has been on fire over the last several weeks and is now hitting .318/.415/.531 over 366 PA on the season.
Some more from around baseball…
- The Pirates have shut reliever Keone Kela down for the season, as per a statement released to media (including Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette). Kela, acquired from the Rangers at the July trade deadline, has a 2.93 ERA over 15 1/3 innings for the Bucs but he hasn’t taken the mound since September 3. He has thrown 52 total innings for Pittsburgh and Texas this season, which GM Neal Huntington cited as the reason for the shutdown. “This was primarily based on his high leverage workload this year compared to the previous two seasons,” Huntington said in the statement. The decision was made to give Kela “an optimal amount of rest and recovery to be ready in spring training 2019.“
- Michael Lorenzen will start the Reds’ game against the Brewers on Tuesday, interim manager Jim Riggleman told Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer and other media. Lorenzen has pitched exclusively as a reliever from 2016-18, posting solid numbers as a setup man and multi-inning reliever out of the Reds’ bullpen. He has often expressed an interest in returning to starting pitching, however, and was stretched out as a starter last Spring Training before some poor numbers and a shoulder injury necessitated a return to the bullpen. “But we are looking at ’19 and who is going to be our starters,” Riggleman said. “We have an idea who some of them will be, but we will look at Mike here a little bit. It’ll be a very small sample, but we’ll get a little feel for it.”
- In other Reds news, president of baseball operations Dick Williams confirmed to reporters (including John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer) that Riggleman will receive an interview for the full-time managerial position. Besides that, Williams was short on details about the managerial search, other than to say that no interviews have yet taken place, and the Reds wouldn’t be publicly commenting on which people were or weren’t candidates. Fay speculates that the team will stick with Riggleman if they want an experienced “traditional pick” of a manager, though it remains to be seen what sort of more outside-the-box names (if any) could be considered.
- “There could be a big market for” Christian Vazquez should the Red Sox make him available in trade talks, rival executives tell the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. This scenario would’ve been seemed unthinkable last March, when the Sox signed Vazquez to a three-year, $13.55MM extension that seemingly made him Boston’s long-term answer behind the plate. 2018 has been essentially a lost season for Vazquez, however, as he has hit only .213/.256/.298 over 239 PA and missed just under eight weeks with a fractured pinky finger on his throwing hand. Offense has never been a big plus for the defensively-stellar Vazquez, though with Sandy Leon and Blake Swihart behind the plate, Cafardo wonders if the Sox could move Vazquez to address other needs.
The Dodgers announced today that third baseman Justin Turner has been placed on the 10-day DL with a “right groin strain.” Top outfield prospect Alex Verdugo was recalled to take the open roster spot.
There’s no real indication at this point of the seriousness of the injury, but Turner had been nursing some problems in that region already and the organization will surely want to make sure the strain doesn’t get any worse. Skipper Dave Roberts indicated he’s not yet sure whether the veteran may be able to return after the minimum required absence. Obviously, Turner’s progress will in large part dictate the duration.
It’s a bit of a disappointing turn of events for the Dodgers, who just installed Manny Machado into an imposing infield alignment. Of course, the trade also boosted the team’s depth. Machado will slide over from short to the hot corner temporarily, with the pre-trade slate of options still available to handle the remaining open positions.
If there’s a real concern here for the Dodgers, it’s probably the toll of multiple injuries on Turner. He opened the year on the DL with a broken wrist and hasn’t been operating at peak capacity since returning. He’s still delivering outstanding plate discipline and carrying a 110 wRC+, but has seen a significant power drop-off. Plus, Turner is drawing below-average grades in the field and on the bases.
As for Verdugo, the ballyhooed 22-year-old has not produced much at the plate in brief MLB action to this point in his career. But he’s hitting the ball quite well at Triple-A, where he owns a .349/.396/.506 batting line with eight home runs over 283 plate appearances. Verdugo likely would have received a longer look by this point with quite a few other organizations, but he’s still largely blocked in L.A. and may still not be in line for a significant amount of playing time or a lengthy stay in the majors.
A right adductor strain had kept Justin Turner out of the Dodgers’ starting lineup since July 11, though his return to his regular third base spot today didn’t last long. Turner had to leave today’s 11-2 win over the Brewers in the middle of the third inning due to right groin tightness. Talking to media (including the Orange County Register’s Bill Plunkett) after the game, Turner said that his injury “definitely didn’t get worse but wasn’t as good as I’d hoped.” A DL stint could potentially be in the cards, though Turner will first receive further examination from the team’s medical staff.
Turner already missed the first six weeks of the season due to a fractured wrist, and it’s fair to say that his performance has suffered due to these injuries. He is still delivering above-average (110 wRC+) production, though his .259/.354/.398 slash line is below his usual standards, particularly in the power department. If he does hit the DL, Los Angeles likely already has enough infield depth that they wouldn’t look for any more help at the deadline, especially since the Dodgers already made a big infield addition in Manny Machado. It might be interesting to monitor if Machado gets any time at the hot corner if Turner if out, though it’s more likely that Machado will simply remain at shortstop.
Some more injury updates from around baseball…
- That same Dodgers/Brewers game also saw Milwaukee southpaw Brent Suter leave after three innings due to a forearm strain. Manager Craig Counsell told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Tom Haudricourt and other reporters that Suter would undergo an MRI, though Suter is expected to land on the disabled list. Suter had a brief DL stint earlier this month with tightness in that same forearm, so it isn’t surprising that the team would be cautious with such an injury even if the MRI doesn’t reveal anything serious. Milwaukee was already rumored to be looking for pitching at the deadline, and that search is likely to intensify with Suter out of action. Suter was rocked for six runs today to boost his season ERA to 4.80, though Suter has just a 1.64 BB/9 to go along with a 7.46 K/9 rate, and ERA predictors (such as a 4.04 xFIP) are generally more favorable about his performance.
- Yoenis Cespedes’ recent comments about considering surgery to fix calcification in his heels caught the Mets by surprise, assistant GM John Ricco told the New York Times’ James Wagner (Twitter links) and other reporters. Still, Ricco stressed that surgery would be Cespedes’ “last resort” to solve his ongoing leg problems, and that Cespedes’ comments could have been made out of simple frustration. The outfielder will visit doctors tomorrow, though Ricco said that an examination of Cespedes’ feet in June indicated that the injury could be managed without immediate need for surgery.
- Yankees outfielder Clint Frazier was placed on the seven-day concussion DL this weekend while playing at Triple-A, though his status has been changed to a 10-day stint on the Major League disabled list. (NJ.com’s Brendan Kuty was among those who had the news.) Beyond the specifics of his placement, Frazier’s injury could also impact his immediate future in the organization, as the prospect has often been cited as a popular trade chip for the Yankees at the deadline.
Walker Buehler left last night’s game before he was able to get through the sixth, but it wasn’t due to poor performance. The promising young right-hander left due to a side injury. Thankfully, Bill Shaikin of the LA Times reports that Buehler is describing his injury as “bruised ribs”. There’s no word yet as to whether he’ll need to land on the DL for a stint, but the news ought to bring a mild sigh of relief to Dodgers fans. Such a description would seem to eliminate the dread of an oblique or intercostal strain, if Buehler’s self-description holds up. Bruises seem far less likely to disrupt his excellent season thus far; Buehler’s been worth 1.7 fWAR across nine starts in part thanks to a 4.91 K/BB ratio and 54.5% ground ball rate.
Other items out of the NL West…
- The Dodgers have received news on Justin Turner that’s far less promising, however. Shaikin also reports that Turner’s performance could be diminished all season by lingering wrist issues. The slugger spent most of the season thus far on the DL after suffering a fractured wrist during a spring training game. Shaikin also points out that he’s been held out of the lineup in three of the last four games, and has managed just a .668 OPS since returning from the disabled list.
- AJ Cassavell of MLB.com revisits the Brad Hand extension in his recent piece, reminding readers that it significantly reduced the likelihood of the reliever being traded any time soon. Hand has been one of the best relievers in baseball in recent seasons by metrics such as WPA, fWAR and ERA, and though he’d certainly fetch a hefty price for the rebuilding Padres, they now control him through 2021. That’s a season in which they could feasibly be contending for a title. For his part, Hand certainly had that in mind. “”When I signed the contract, that was the big part of it,” he said. “I wanted to be here, I wanted to help the young guys come up, and I wanted to win a World Series here.”
- Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo believes Ketel Marte is “100% playable” in spite of a recent injury, says MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert. However, Lovullo adds that he “created some tenderness” with a headfirst slide into third base this past Sunday. He was held out of the lineup on Saturday, but the move seems to have been largely precautionary; his manager reportedly wanted to give him a day to get ahead of the injury. Marte has struggled to produce offensively throughout his career, sporting a .258/.313/.364 line since debuting in 2015. However, his excellent defense has played him to 2.6 wins above replacement, according to Fangraphs’ metric.
The Dodgers announced Tuesday that they’ve reinstated infielders Justin Turner and Logan Forsythe from the disabled list today. Fellow infielders Kyle Farmer and Tim Locastro were optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City to create room on the 40-man roster.
[Related: Updated Los Angeles Dodgers depth chart]
Turner will take the field for the Dodgers tonight for the first time this season after missing a quarter of the season due to a broken wrist suffered late in Spring Training. In his absence, Dodgers third basemen have combined to post a woeful .209/.291/.374 batting line in 158 plate appearances. Forsythe, Farmer, and Max Muncy have combined for all of the Dodgers’ activity at third base in lieu of Turner this season, and the largely futile results have played no small role in the team’s 16-24 start to the year.
Forsythe, meanwhile, will be returning to the club after landing on the disabled list exactly a month ago due to inflammation in his right shoulder. He’ll slot back into the mix at second base and share time with veteran Chase Utley there, though he’ll be looking to rebound from a slow start that saw him bat just .174/.224/.283 in 49 trips to the plate before his own placement on the disabled list.
In other Dodgers health-related news, Andy McCullough of the L.A. Times tweets that Clayton Kershaw played catch once again today, though it doesn’t sound as if the lefty is nearing a return to the active roster. Via McCullough, manager Dave Roberts indicated that Kershaw isn’t expected to pitch off a mound on the current road trip. It’s been reported that Kershaw will miss a matter of weeks rather than months, though a specific timeline hasn’t yet been put in place on his return to a Dodgers rotation that will also be without lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu until sometime after the All-Star break.
Barring setbacks, Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner and infielder Logan Forsythe are slated to come off the disabled list Tuesday, manager Dave Roberts told Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register and other reporters Saturday. They’re among a host of important Dodgers who have missed time this year during the reigning NL champs’ stunningly awful start (16-22), and Turner’s absence has been especially damaging. The superstar hasn’t played this season on account of the broken left wrist he suffered in late March. Forsythe, meanwhile, has been out since mid-April with right shoulder inflammation. He came out of the gates slowly before then, hitting just .174/.224/.283 in 49 plate appearances.
- Diamondbacks third baseman Jake Lamb will begin a rehab assignment at the Single-A level on Sunday, per an announcement from Arizona. Lamb has missed nearly the entire season to this point, having gone on the DL on April 3 with shoulder and elbow issues. The 24-15 Diamondbacks have still raced to the NL’s best record, though, in part because fill-in third baseman Daniel Descalso has slashed a terrific .263/.357/.516 with four home runs in 115 PAs.
- Astros outfielder George Springer is dealing with a left elbow contusion, which kept him out of the lineup Saturday, but manager A.J. Hinch expects him to avoid a DL stint (via Christian Boutwell of MLB.com). Springer suffered the injury Friday when Rangers left-hander Cole Hamels hit him with a 92 mph fastball. The reigning World Series MVP has perhaps been the Astros’ best offensive player in the early going, having slashed .296/.363/.506 with eight homers in 182 PAs.
- The Giants aren’t going to bring left fielder Hunter Pence off the DL during the upcoming week unless they’re convinced he’ll provide a boost to their offense, Kerry Crowley of the Bay Area News Group writes. The 35-year-old Pence was unable to help San Francisco before going on the DL three-plus weeks ago with a thumb issue, as he hit .172/.197/.190 and posted a minus-1 wRC+ across 61 trips to the plate. Now, thanks to his early season woes and manager Bruce Bochy’s desire to carry an extra pitcher, Pence’s return may be delayed.
Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig is slated to go on a rehab assignment Monday and come off the disabled list Wednesday, Ken Gurnick of MLB.com tweets. It has been a short stay on the DL for Puig, who suffered a hip pointer and a bruised foot on April 28. Meanwhile, third baseman Justin Turner took batting practice Sunday for the first time since suffering a broken left wrist on March 20, Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register was among those to report. Both the Puig and Turner updates are much-needed positive news for the Dodgers, who have been victimized by key injuries all year. Ace Clayton Kershaw became their latest cornerstone player to hit the DL on Sunday.
More from the National League…
- Mets left fielder Yoenis Cespedes exited the team’s game Sunday with a right quad issue, Tim Britton of The Athletic tweets. Cespedes has dealt with right quad problems in the past, but he’s optimistic this isn’t a serious issue. The 32-year-old said after the game that he might play the Mets’ series opener in Cincinnati on Monday.
- Braves third base prospect Austin Riley is getting closer to the majors. The Braves promoted the 21-year-old from Double-A to Triple-A on Sunday, according to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Riley, whom multiple outlets ranks as a top 100 prospect, slashed an incredible .333/.394/.677 (193 wRC+) with six home runs in 109 plate appearances at Double-A this year. He might push for the Braves’ starting third base job as early as next season, per O’Brien.
- Padres righty Bryan Mitchell could lose his starting job before he’s scheduled to take the hill again on Thursday, AJ Cassavell of MLB.com relays. “Going forward, we’ll sit down and talk about it,” Padres manager Andy Green said Saturday after Mitchell allowed three earned runs on five hits and three walks in 2 1/3 innings against the Dodgers. Although Mitchell’s ERA is now up to 6.47 across 32 frames, during which he has logged 4.5 K/9 against 7.31 BB/9, it doesn’t seem as if those struggles will cost him his roster spot. Rather, the Padres would move the out-of-options 27-year-old to the bullpen, Cassavell suggests. Mitchell’s output this year clearly isn’t what San Diego had in mind when it acquired him and third baseman Chase Headley (and $12.5MM of his $13MM salary) from the Yankees for outfielder Jabari Blash over the winter.
- Giants outfielder Mac Williamson’s return from the seven-day concussion DL isn’t imminent, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle suggests. Williamson, who suffered the injury April 24, will likely need a rehab assignment even when he’s healthy enough to play again, Schulman notes. As such, he might not suit up again for the Giants until mid-May or later.
Dodgers lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu exited tonight’s start with a groin strain after throwing a 64mph pitch that was the slowest pitch he’s ever thrown in the Majors (h/t: J.P. Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group, on Twitter). The Dodgers announced a left groin strain for Ryu, and manager Dave Roberts didn’t sound optimistic about the injury postgame, calling it a “pretty good strain” and adding that Ryu is headed for an MRI (Twitter link via Pedro Moura of The Athletic). A lengthy absence for Ryu would be a major blow for the Dodgers, who’ve no doubt relished watching the southpaw bounce back to peak form with a dominant 2.12 ERA, 10.9 K/9, 3.0 BB/9, 0.9 HR/9 and 56.7 percent ground-ball rate in 29 2/3 innings thus far in 2018.
The Dodgers have been hammered by injuries early this season, with Corey Seager done for the season due to Tommy John surgery and Justin Turner still yet to suit up after suffering a broken wrist in Spring Training. The Dodgers don’t sound especially optimistic on Turner at the moment, either, as Andy McCullough of the L.A. Times tweets that skipper Dave Roberts simply said tonight that he has “no idea” when Turner will be cleared to head out on a minor league rehab assignment.
A bit more out of Los Angeles…
- Seager, Roberts and GM Farhan Zaidi spoke with reporters at Chase Field following the announcement of Seager’s devastating injury (link via McCullough). While there was immediate speculation about the possibility of the Dodgers seeking out a trade, Zaidi suggested that for the time being, the Dodgers will look to in-house options, with Chris Taylor assuming responsibilities at shortstop. (Few teams, after all, are willing to part with a difference-making infielder at this point on the calendar.) Seager told the media that he felt his elbow give out over the weekend when making a relay throw on Sunday, explaining the feeling as a sudden bout of numbness in his elbow. The 23-year-old star dealt with bone chips and inflammation in the elbow last summer, according to McCullough, though extensive testing led medical experts to recommend against surgery at season’s end. It’s not clear how much, if any, ligament damage existed in Seager’s elbow following the 2017 season, of course, and undergoing a major surgery (especially Tommy John surgery) at that point still could very well have wiped him out for most, if not all of the 2018 season.
- In the wake of the Seager injury, Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times spoke to Manny Machado about the widespread speculation of the Dodgers potentially pursuing him on the trade market. Machado said he’s not had anyone reach out to him about the possibility, and Shaikin writes that the superstar infielder didn’t sound overly amenable to granting a potential trade partner a window to negotiate an extension. “Everyone has waited for the time to become a free agent,” said Machado. “You want to go out there and explore your options.” The 25-year-old did leave the door open a bit, adding that there’s “a price for everything” before stating that he hopes to remain with the Orioles at least through the 2018 season. Of course, as Machado also acknowledged, his future is largely out of his hands; he has no say over whether he’s traded or remains an Oriole. Per Shaikin, the O’s have no plans to accelerate their timeline for a potential Machado deal now that the Dodgers have a glaring need. Certainly, it’s possible that other clubs will join the pursuit later this year, thus driving up the price. And while the O’s had a dreadful start to the season, the organization undoubtedly is still holding out faint hope for a rebound in May and early June before conceding that the season is lost.
Although we’re only three weeks into the season, it’s nonetheless discouraging that Rockies first baseman/outfielder Ian Desmond is off to a horrific start after such a disappointing 2017. Desmond, whom the Rockies signed to a five-year, $70MM deal in December 2016, has batted an unsightly .153/.184/.333 and posted minus-0.5 fWAR over 76 plate appearances this month. The 32-year-old’s not panicking, however. “Even though it’s bad right now, I know (my process) works, I know it’s worked in the past, and I believe it,” said Desmond (via Kyle Newman of the Denver Post) “When you’re going through something like this right now is when you really have to believe it, because you can really get sideways if you don’t.” Desmond has the support of manager Bud Black, who stated that “He’ll find his timing, and when he does, he’ll be the Ian Desmond that we’ve seen for eight-plus seasons.” While Desmond has recorded an unappealing 73.1 percent groundball rate this season on the heels of logging a 62.7 percent figure last year, he’s not necessarily aiming to hit more balls in the air. “Looking at it throughout the course of my career, I’m a groundball hitter, I’m a line drive hitter — I don’t think I’m ever going to lead the league in launch angle,” said Desmond, even though he acknowledged that the altitude at Coors Field makes it an especially friendly place for fly ball hitters.
Here’s more from the NL West:
- Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner told reporters Saturday that he still hasn’t swung a bat since suffering a broken left wrist in late March (via Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register, on Twitter). As such, there’s still no timetable for Turner’s return, which is unfortunate for an LA team that has felt his absence during a slow start. Dodgers third basemen have only managed a .208/.274/.338 line in 84 PAs this season.
- Prior to their game Saturday, the Padres activated center fielder Manuel Margot from the disabled list and sent right fielder Hunter Renfroe to the DL (retroactive to April 18) with elbow inflammation. Margot, who suffered bruised ribs when he took a pitch to the chest, returned quickly after going on the DL on April 11. Renfroe, meanwhile, “played with one arm for about a week and a half,” manager Andy Green told Justin Toscano of MLB.com and other reporters Saturday. The 26-year-old power hitter got off to a .200/.281/.440 start with two home runs in 57 PAs before going on the shelf.
- The Giants expect left-handed reliever Will Smith back by May 1, manager Bruce Bochy announced Saturday (per Kerry Crowley of the Bay Area News Group, via Twitter). Smith underwent Tommy John surgery prior to last season, meaning he hasn’t pitched in a major league game since the Giants’ NLDS loss to the Cubs in October 2016. The 28-year-old was a well-regarded reliever before his injury, which led the Giants to trade a couple of prospects to Milwaukee for him in August 2016.