- A.J. Pollock and David Peralta both left today’s Diamondbacks game with injuries, with Pollock suffering a right groin strain while running out a single. According to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic (Twitter link), Pollock “sounded very frustrated” speaking with media after the game, which could hint at a significant absence. Pollock has battled problems with his left groin in Spring Training and at the end of last season; Pollock didn’t play after September 9 due to the injury, though he could’ve just been shut down since the D’Backs were well out of the race. Pollock entered today hitting .295/.331/.456 over 157 in his comeback season after appearing in only 12 games in 2016 due to a fractured elbow and the aforementioned late-season groin problem.
- Peralta was removed from the game with what the team described as tightness in his right glute. Peralta is also off to a good start for Arizona, carrying a .303/.354/.471 slash line into today’s action. The Diamondbacks have enough outfield roster depth in the outfield to handle going without both Pollock and Peralta for a game or even two, though obviously the team will be hard-pressed to sustain lengthy absences for both star outfielders.
- Carlos Gomez suffered a right hamstring strain while scoring a run (and awkwardly trying to avoid a bat while doing so) during today’s Rangers victory, and had to be removed from the game. The center fielder will undergo an MRI tomorrow, and he feels the injury is “not something I think is too serious,” comparing it to other hamstring problems he’s had in the past. (Hat tip to Stefan Stevenson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.) Gomez enjoyed a three-hit day before leaving the game, bumping his slash line up to .246/.331/.423 over 164 plate appearances.
- The Rangers had another regular out of action when Shin-Soo Choo was scratched from the lineup due to back spasms. Choo told Stevenson and other reporters that he wasn’t sure if he’ll be ready for Texas’ next game on Tuesday, though his back was feeling better later in the day than it did early Sunday. Lower back inflammation was the cause of one of Choo’s four separate trips to the DL in 2016, which limited him to just 48 games last season.
- Gregory Polanco is day-to-day after leaving today’s game with “left hamstring discomfort” while running out a grounder, as reported by MLB.com’s Adam Berry and others. The Pirates outfielder managed just a .671 OPS in April but has hit better in May as he tries to build on his breakout 2016 season. Polanco’s injury doesn’t sound particularly serious, which would be welcome news to a Bucs outfield that has already lost Starling Marte to a PED suspension.
- In some more positive injury news, Athletics left-hander Sean Manaea is scheduled to return from the DL and start tomorrow night’s game against the Mariners, A’s manager Bob Melvin told reporters (including MLB.com’s Dave Sessions) on Friday. Manaea hasn’t pitched since April 27 due to a strain in his throwing shoulder. The promising young hurler has a 5.18 ERA, 10.0 K/9 and a 2.25 K/BB over 24 1/3 IP for Oakland this season.
Both Stephen Piscotty and Dexter Fowler left tonight’s Cardinals game with injuries, the team announced. Piscotty suffered a strained right hamstring while running out a grounder and came up lame after crossing the bag. Fowler, meanwhile, suffered his injury while diving for a ball in center field. The Cards have yet to make any announcements beyond the basic details, but Nate Latsch of MLB.com and AP Sports tweets that Tommy Pham was just pulled from the game with the Cardinals’ Triple-A affiliate, suggesting that he could be on his way to the Majors due to a DL stint for either Piscotty or Fowler.
Some more notable injury scenarios from around the game…
- MassLive.com’s Jen McCaffery writes that David Price threw 50 pitches in his second simulated game on Thursday. She adds that Red Sox president of baseball ops Dave Dombrowski said Price was working at 93 to 95 mph with his fastball, and he also utilized each of his other offerings during the workout. The lefty is set to throw another simulated game next Tuesday, after which Boston decision-makers will determine whether he requires one final sim game under club supervision or if he’s ready to embark on a minor league rehab assignment. Per McCaffery, Price could be ready to return to the Sox’ rotation in roughly a month’s time.
- Royals right-hander Ian Kennedy suffered a Grade 1 right medial hamstring strain in tonight’s game, per Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star. Kennedy could miss at least one start, and he’ll be reevaluated tomorrow in order to determine if a trip to the disabled list is needed. Manager Ned Yost declined to speculate on the possible outcomes, and Kennedy merely told reporters that the decision is up to Yost, the training staff and the front office. “And when it comes down to it tomorrow, I’ll tell them how I feel,” Kennedy said. “It doesn’t feel bad now. But we’ll see how it feels tomorrow.”
- Sean Manaea was scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Thursday but was instead limited to long toss due to some soreness in his ailing left shoulder, writes MLB.com’s Jane Lee. Manaea, who exited his most recent start after experiencing shoulder weakness and a sharp drop in velocity, won’t be activated from the DL when he’s first eligible, Lee notes. She also adds that when asked if Manaea was facing an extended absence, Athletics skipper Bob Melvin simply replied, “Could be.”
- Andy McCullough of the L.A. Times provides a pair of updates on some injured Dodgers (Twitter links). Second baseman Logan Forsythe was lifted from the most recent game on his rehab stint due to tightness in his hamstring and won’t be reinstated from the disabled list tomorrow, manager Dave Roberts told reporters. That could mean continued playing time at second base for the struggling Chase Utley, who is hitting just .104/.204/.125 through his first 54 plate appearances. Meanwhile, left-hander Scott Kazmir still needs at least another two weeks in extended Spring Training to build up his arm strength. That should push his timeline back at least into the month of June, even in a best-case scenario, as Kazmir would need further work on a minor league rehab assignment.
The Athletics have placed southpaw Sean Manaea on the 10-day disabled list, retroactive to April 27, with a left shoulder strain. Manaea left his start after two innings Wednesday against the Angels with shoulder stiffness, but there was hope that he’d avoid a DL stint.
In five starts and 24 1/3 innings this season, the 25-year-old Manaea has pitched to a 5.18 ERA, largely thanks to a 4.44 BB/9 and a 53.8 percent strand rate. Manaea doled out only 2.3 free passes per nine innings and stranded runners at a 75 percent clip last year, when he logged a 3.86 ERA during a 144 2/3-frame rookie campaign. Encouragingly, Manaea has experienced an uptick in strikeouts (9.99 K/9), ground-ball rate (63.9 percent, up from 44.2 in 2016) and swinging-strike percentage (13.8, an increase over last year’s 11.8) so far this season.
With Sonny Gray set to make his season debut Tuesday, the A’s rotation will simply swap him for Manaea for the time being. Kendall Graveman, Andrew Triggs, Jharel Cotton and Jesse Hahn will continue to comprise the rest of Oakland’s starting staff.
As the best player in baseball, and as a 25-year-old who’s signed through 2020 at a more-than-fair price, Angels center fielder Mike Trout is untradeable, opines Mark Feinsand of MLB.com. Unsurprisingly, Halos general manager Billy Eppler won’t even entertain dealing the two-time American League MVP, according to multiple GMs who spoke with Feinsand. “There’s no point to bringing up Trout, because it’s going nowhere,” one GM observed. “Teams will surely try, but it’s like running into a brick wall.” Another GM informed Feinsand that Trout is basically untouchable, but he did touch on what it might take for Eppler to consider an offer. “For a team to inspire Billy Eppler to even return the call, it would have to come to the table stocked with one of the best farm systems and young, upside Major Leaguers and be willing to not put any of those players off limits, because it will take a healthy blend from those two groups,” he said.
More from the AL:
- The Blue Jays offered center fielder Dexter Fowler a four-year, $64MM contract in free agency, reports ESPN’s Buster Olney. That proposal fell well short of the five-year, $82.5MM pact Fowler ended up signing with the Cardinals in December. By joining St. Louis, Fowler ensured he’d remain in center. The ex-Cub presumably would have had to play a corner with the Blue Jays, who have an elite defensive center fielder in Kevin Pillar, and it’s unclear whether they would have re-signed right fielder Jose Bautista for an $18.5MM guarantee in January had they committed significant money to Fowler.
- Red Sox southpaw David Price faced hitters Saturday for the first time since suffering an elbow injury in early March, writes Chad Jennings of the Boston Herald. Price tossed 30 pitches over two simulated innings, which represented “a quality workday for him,” said manager John Farrell. The plan is for the 31-year-old to throw a light bullpen session Monday and another sim game Thursday.
- Multiple pieces of good news for the Athletics’ rotation, courtesy of John Hickey of the Bay Area News Group: Right-hander Sonny Gray, who has missed the first few weeks of the 2017 campaign with a lat strain, will make his season debut Tuesday against the Twins. And one of Gray’s fellow A’s starters, left-hander Sean Manaea, likely won’t require a stint on the disabled list. Manaea left his start after two innings Wednesday on account of shoulder stiffness, but he’s “feeling great right now.” Barring a setback, Manaea’s next turn will probably come Saturday versus the Tigers, per Hickey.
A pair of struggling teams got the good news that they’ll have key hurlers taking the hill on Sunday. Noah Syndergaard is ready to go after some worry over his biceps, as Anthony DiComo of MLB.com reports on Twitter. Syndergaard is said to have denied a request that he undergo an MRI, saying he feels fully healthy. Also, Aaron Sanchez will return for the Blue Jays, as Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca tweets.
Here’s more on the injury front:
- First baseman Lucas Duda is also nearing a return for the Mets. He started a rehab assignment this evening and played for six innings. Given the fairly limited duration of his layoff for a hyperextended elbow, it seems reasonable to think he’ll be back up in just a few days.
- It seems there’s forward momentum for Tigers star Miguel Cabrera, as MLB.com’s Jason Beck reports on Twitter. Cabrera, who was forced to the DL with a groin strain, was able to jog and take batting practice today at the park.
- The Angels are assessing another injury for lefty Tyler Skaggs. Per a club announcement, he left his outing tonight with “right side tightness.” Just that means for the 25-year-old isn’t clear at this time. Heading into the current season, Skaggs had made only 41 starts since debuting in 2012. Over his five starts and 29 1/3 innings in 2017, Skaggs has pitched to a 3.99 ERA with a strong 29:9 K/BB ratio.
- Orioles closer Zach Britton may also be back Sunday — or, if not, then after the team’s off-day on Monday — per Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com (via Twitter). The southpaw is preparing to return rather quickly from an initially worrying forearm injury. He figures to step right back into the closer role for the O’s.
- The Rangers welcomed back Sam Dyson from his short DL stint. Though he jumped right back in and pitched in the ninth tonight, working a scoreless frame, that came in a losing effort. Unlike Britton, Dyson has likely been bypassed in the closer role, at least for the time being.
- While the Nationals are holding their breath over a new and potentially serious injury issue tonight, the team did get a bit of positive news earlier. An MRI came back clean for southpaw Sammy Solis, as Mark Zuckerman of MASNsports.com tweets. While there’s some inflammation present in his balky elbow, there’s no ligament issue.
- There are a few updates on some Reds hurlers who are working back from injury, as C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. Homer Bailey will throw a pen session early next week — his first since having bone spurs removed over the offseason. Fellow righty Anthony DeSclafani, meanwhile, is unfortunately still not ready to start throwing. Doctors will reassess his sprained UCL after allowing it a few more weeks of rest. And lefty Brandon Finnegan, who’s dealing with an oblique issue, is still a week away even from being examined again by physicians. The club is allowing him plenty of rest before taking stock of his path back tot he rotation.
- Dodgers skipper Dave Roberts provided the latest on a few of his team’s ailing players, as Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times was among those to report (links to Twitter). “Mechanical” issues are still holding back lefty Scott Kazmir, who still doesn’t seem to have a clear path back to the majors. The club will soon activate several position players, though, with Franklin Gutierrez likely to be followed within a week or so by Joc Pederson and Logan Forsythe. That’ll likely mean dropping top prospect Cody Bellinger back to Triple-A, McCullough notes.
- Athletics southpaw Sean Manaea is likely to miss a start and may hit the 10-day DL, as Joe Stiglich of NBC Sports Bay Area tweets. But the overall news is good. Manaea, who came down with some shoulder stiffness in his most recent outing, is not expected to require an extended absence.
Athletics lefty Sean Manaea exited yesterday’s game after just two innings due to left shoulder tightness, per Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. The departure of yet another of the Athletics’ top starters is troubling enough, but Slusser adds that Manaea’s velocity was topping out at 90 mph on Wednesday — a far cry from the 95 mph at which he usually tops out and from the 92.5 mph he’s averaged thus far in 2017. Slusser has since tweeted that Manaea did pass some initial strength tests with his shoulder today and hopes to try throwing tomorrow.
Oakland already has Sonny Gray and Kendall Graveman on the disabled list, though they’ll welcome Graveman back to the rotation tonight. If Manaea needs to miss time, I’d imagine that right-handers Cesar Valdez and Paul Blackburn would be options to step into his rotation spot. Each is already on the 40-man roster, and Valdez is presently serving as the team’s long reliever after making a spot start last week.
A few more injury notes from around the game…
- While the Rangers hoped at the time of Adrian Beltre’s most recent setback that he’d be able to join the club by the end of April, it’s now questionable whether he’ll even be ready to take the field at some point in May, according to MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan. “It’s at the point where we didn’t necessarily see the progress results we thought we would see,” manager Jeff Banister tells Sullivan. Banister said there’s still no timeline on Beltre, adding that the team is still trying to reduce the swelling and soreness in Beltre’s strained calf. Joey Gallo will continue to man third base in Beltre’s absence.
- Red Sox reliever Carson Smith has had a setback in his recovery from 2016 Tommy John surgery, as Jen McCaffrey of MassLive.com writes. Smith was throwing off a mound a couple of weeks ago but has “had to slow down,” manager John Farrell told reporters. Smith is long tossing from 110 feet but is now two weeks removed from his most recent mound session. Boston had been targeting a June return for Smith, but a July return is now more realistic, per McCaffrey. The Red Sox have had rough luck when trading for potential setup arms; in addition to losing Smith for more than a year due to Tommy John surgery just months after trading for him, the team has yet to reap any benefit from its trade to acquire Tyler Thornburg this offseason, as Thornburg has been sidelined all season by a right shoulder impingement. CSNNE.com’s Evan Drellich tweeted recently that Farrell said on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM that Thornburg essentially needs to progress through Spring Training all over again, which would normally consist of seven to 10 appearances.
- The initial MRI on Denard Span’s shoulder revealed no serious injuries to the Giants center fielder (Twitter links via Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle and Chris Haft of MLB.com). Span, who has already been placed on the 10-day disabled list, said that his shoulder was in too much pain yesterday to even get through the first attempt at an MRI (via Schulman). Manager Bruce Bochy told reporters earlier today that the expectation is that Span will miss more than the minimum 10 days on the disabled list (Twitter link via Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News).
Here’s the latest on some notable injury situations around the game. Be sure to check out Roster Resource to see how teams’ depth charts will be impacted by these injuries…
- Dexter Fowler exited Saturday’s game in the first inning after suffering a hamstring injury while running out a grounder. The Cubs haven’t yet made a decision on whether or not Fowler will need a DL stint, Joe Maddon told media (including MLB.com’s Cody Stavenhagen). Fowler has cooled off in June after a blistering start to the season, though he’s still hitting .290/.398/.483 with seven homers over 284 plate appearances. Jason Heyward is the most likely candidate to take over in center field should Fowler miss time, though with Jorge Soler and Tommy La Stella already on the DL, Fowler’s absence would be a big hit to the Cubs’ roster depth.
- The Athletics have shut down Henderson Alvarez and the righty has a visit scheduled with Dr. James Andrews, manager Bob Melvin told reporters (including MLB.com’s Jane Lee). Alvarez was pitching in what was supposed to be his final minor league rehab start on Saturday night when he left the game early due to discomfort in his throwing shoulder. He underwent surgery on that same shoulder last July and hasn’t thrown a Major League pitch since, which led to the Marlins non-tendering Alvarez over the winter and the A’s signing him to a one-year, $4.25MM contract.
- In better injury news out of Oakland, Melvin said that Rich Hill and Sean Manaea both threw bullpen sessions on Sunday and are on track for, respectively, a simulated game and another session later this week. Manaea is one of the Athletics’ top pitching prospects while Hill could be a major trade deadline chip if he proves he’s healthy after missing almost a month with a groin strain.
- Speedy Braves outfielder Mallex Smith suffered a broken left thumb after being hit by a pitch on Sunday and is sidelined indefinitely, David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. More will be known about Smith’s DL timeline when he visits a hand specialist tomorrow. Smith got off to a very slow start at the plate after making his MLB debut earlier this season and is still just hitting .241/.314/.386 , though he has displayed a good center field glove and is 8-for-8 in his last eight stolen base attempts.
6:38pm: The belief after an MRI is that the injury is “muscular and minor,” manager Bob Melvin told reporters including MLB.com’s Jane Lee (Twitter link). The hope is that Manaea will be back after the minimum (or close to it).
6:15pm: The Athletics have placed young southpaw Sean Manaea on the 15-day DL, per Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle (via Twitter). He has been diagnosed with a pronator strain in his left forearm.
Things could be worse, as it was scary to see the 24-year-old walk off with an apparent injury in his most recent start. Forearm troubles often precede more serious elbow issues, and it’s promising that there’s no current evidence of a problem further up the arm. On the other hand, as Carson Smith showed earlier this year, a preliminary assessment of a forearm injury doesn’t mean that the ulnar collateral ligament is safe.
Manaea represents an important part of Oakland’s present and future plans. He has struggled a bit early in his debut season, surrendering 33 earned runs and eight long balls in 49 1/3 innings. But Manaea has also shown promise, putting up 7.3 K/9 (with a 10.7% swinging strike rate) against 2.9 BB/9.
[Related: Updated Oakland Athletics depth chart]
It’s unclear at present how long the youngster will be out, but odds are that the club will take things slow. And it’s still possible that further assessment will reveal further cause for concern — or, at least, caution. For the time being, Erik Surkamp has been recalled to take Manaea’s spot on the active roster.
After giving Sean Manaea his first start tonight, the Athletics will recall right-hander Jesse Hahn from Triple-A Nashville to start tomorrow’s game against the Astros, reports Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. The 26-year-old spent much of the 2015 season in Oakland’s rotation after coming over from the Padres in the Derek Norris trade, but his season was cut short by an injured right flexor tendon and a woeful Spring Training landed him in Triple-A. Hahn has recorded a 2.04 ERA in four starts with Nashville this season, though he hasn’t been as dominant as that mark might initially suggest. Hahn has lasted a total of 17 2/3 innings in those four outings with a 13-to-9 K/BB ratio.
More from the American League…
- The Athletics’ rotation has struggled of late, and now right-hander Chris Bassitt is heading to the DL after seeing his velocity dip from 92-94 mph to 89-90 mph in his most recent start. He’s been diagnosed with an elbow sprain, Slusser tweets, but there are some worrying indications. As MLB.com’s Jane Lee reports, Bassitt says he’s struggling with more than just his velocity, and indicated that he’s been quietly dealing with elbow discomfort for some time. “I didn’t want to say anything because I’ve worked harder than I ever have this offseason,” Bassitt said. “I felt so excited and prepared going into this season, and for this to happen, it really sucks. The way I’m feeling right now, I can’t throw right now.”
- The Astros and Dodgers had the most notable scouting entourages on hand to watch Cuban righty Vladimir Gutierrez in what will likely be his final showcase, Baseball America’s Ben Badler reports. There were plenty of other organizations with eyes on Gutierrez, of course, so one shouldn’t read too much into that. Generally, says Badler, the interesting youngster showed a mid-90s fastball and impressive breaking ball, though his fastball command and other offerings still need work.
- Astros righty Lance McCullers Jr. is ready for a sixty to seventy-five pitch outing in his next extended spring work, Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle reports on Twitter. That certainly seems to indicate that he could be nearing a rehab stint, which would be good news for a Houston club that badly misses his high-octane arm in the rotation.
The Athletics have called up catcher/first baseman/outfielder Matt McBride in order to prevent the 30-year-old from signing with a club in Japan, reports Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. McBride received an offer from the Yokohama DeNa BayStars of Nippon Professional Baseball, Slusser reports, and his contract contains a clause that would’ve allowed him to opt out and pursue the deal. Rather than allow the versatile McBride to leave the organization, Oakland added him to its 25-man and 40-man roster (Felix Doubront was transferred to the 60-day DL). “I’m happy to be here,” McBride told Slusser following the promotion. “I knew it would be one or the other, and I think everyone wants to get the chance to play in the big leagues.” McBride does have some Major League experience, having spent parts of three seasons with the Rockies. In 158 plate appearances in the Majors, he’s batted .199/.228/.305. The A’s, then, will hope that his production can more closely resemble his lifetime .315/.351/.527 line at the Triple-A level (1418 PAs).
More from the division…
- Slusser also writes that lefty Sean Manaea has an “excellent shot” to stick in the Athletics’ rotation for the long haul if he can approach his numbers from Triple-A. The top prospect, acquired in last summer’s Ben Zobrist trade, could have an audition window of several weeks to impress the front office, as right-hander Henderson Alvarez still figures to be sidelined until mid-May. Should Manaea falter in his initial taste of the Majors, right-hander Jesse Hahn could re-emerge from Nashville, though he’s currently dealing with a blister that prevented him from getting the call on Friday. As Slusser notes, a strong early impression from Manaea will lead to a difficult decision for Oakland, who could have Manaea, Alvarez, Hahn, Sonny Gray, Rich Hill, Kendall Graveman and Chris Bassitt all in the rotation picture. And, for those looking for a bit of a scouting report on the exciting young lefty, Vince Lara-Cinisomo of Baseball America has posted just that, in addition to his thoughts on what to expect from Manaea in the Majors.
- Mike Zunino spoke with Larry Stone of the Seattle Times about the mechanical adjustments he’s made to his swing and the more relaxed mental approach he’s been able to adopt with the Mariners’ Triple-A affiliate this season. Triple-A hitting coach Scott Brosius and manager Pat Listach each weighed in on Zunino’s hot start as well, noting that he’s not only more mechanically sound but also showing greater strike-zone recognition, neglecting to chase sliders on the outer edge of the plate and high fastballs out of the zone. Zunino said to Stone that he doesn’t feel “on edge all the time” like he has in the past while struggling in the Majors, adding that he’s “not chasing base hits” by worrying about the outcome. Zunino has come around on recognizing that hard contact, such as a line drive that turns into an out, isn’t necessarily a bad outcome. Zunino was particularly heartened recently with some success hitting to the opposite field — a component of his game that he freely acknowledged has long been lacking.
- Angels lefty C.J. Wilson is now targeting a mid-June return, as Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register writes. The 35-year-old southpaw is slated for a bullpen session on May 9 and a simulated game on May 18, each of which would precede a minor league rehab assignment that is currently scheduled to begin on May 23. “It feels like it’s taking forever,” Wilson said. “I want to pitch. I always want to pitch. When you have a light at the end of the tunnel, it feels a little longer as opposed to ’I’m not going to pitch till next year.'” Wilson added that he’s experimenting with a new arm slot in an effort to maintain his health.
- Another Angels lefty, Andrew Heaney, hasn’t received as optimistic news as Wilson. As MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez tweets, the team said today that Heaney’s recovery “has slowed,” and the lefty will seek an “additional opinion” on his forearm strain. The club didn’t make any further comment on his health, but it’s now been several weeks since Heaney has thrown, and the continued uncertainty surrounding his recovery (or lack thereof) is discouraging for the team and for Angels fans.