Daily Dose: Beltran joins teammates on DL

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Carlos Beltran had been hoping to play through the bone bruise in his
right knee, but instead joined the Mets’ crowded disabled list after
undergoing an MRI exam Monday. General manager Omar Minaya indicated
that the DL stint may last just two weeks, but there’s no official
diagnosis yet. Beltran has been playing through various injuries all
season, yet never slowed down while hitting .336/.425/.527.

Jeremy Reed started in Beltran’s place Monday night, but went
0-for-4 as his line dropped to .278/.307/.347 on the year, and the Mets
could give an extended shot to Fernando Martinez after recalling him
from Triple-A. Martinez has hit .291 with a strong .885 OPS in 44 games
at Triple-A, but looked overmatched while going 12-for-62 (.194) with
the Mets and the 20-year-old likely isn’t ready to thrive yet.

While the Mets close to 1.5 games in the NL East despite running out
of healthy players, here are some other notes from around baseball …

* Speaking of Mets on the shelf, Oliver Perez and John Maine
rehabbed together at Single-A by each starting one game of a
doubleheader Monday. Maine tossed six innings of one-run ball as he
comes back from shoulder soreness, but Perez allowed six runs in three
innings in his recovery from a knee injury. Neither looks ready to
rejoin the rotation, but Maine could be back after one more rehab

* Having oddly decided to start him in 38 straight games fresh off
hip surgery the Yankees have apparently now concluded that Alex
Rodriguez needs rest. He sat out Friday and Saturday and the team
announced Monday that he’s scheduled to receive one day off per week
through the All-Star break. He’s a career .304 hitter who’s never
batted under .285, so much is being made of his lowly .213 average.

However, with nine homers, six doubles, and 30 walks in 170 plate
appearances his power and patience have been just fine and Rodriguez is
actually striking out less often than he has in any season since 1998.
He’s in a 9-for-59 (.153) slump this month and giving him regular days
off should have always been in the plans, but much of his struggles can
be traced to some singles not falling in. Be patient.

* Ervin Santana felt soreness in his forearm while throwing a
bullpen session this weekend, so the Angels scratched him from his
scheduled Tuesday start against the Rockies and put him on the disabled
list. While clearly a setback, the move is retroactive to June 12 and
would allow Santana to return from the DL as soon as this Friday.
However, that seems unlikely given his ugly 7.47 ERA in six outings.

Note: As the first half comes to a close, we’re now offering a “Midseason Report” that includes all the outstanding content from our “Season Pass” product plus a ton of new articles, rankings, and projections tailored for the second half.

AL Quick Hits: Grady Sizemore (elbow) is planning to come off
the disabled list Tuesday, but remains one setback from season-ending
surgery … Scott Kazmir (elbow) tossed six innings of one-run ball in a
rehab outing Monday at Triple-A, striking out five and walking zero …
Angels general manager Tony Reagins said Monday that the team isn’t
interested in Pedro Martinez … Out since April with a partially torn
elbow ligament, Xavier Nady is set to start a rehab stint Wednesday at
Triple-A … Akinori Iwamura tore his ACL last month, but is now hoping
to play again this season after undergoing surgery Monday … Josh Outman
is expected to miss Wednesday’s start because of elbow soreness … CC
Sabathia (biceps) remains optimistic about not missing a start, but the
Yankees won’t make a call until after his bullpen session Wednesday …
Asdrubal Cabrera (shoulder) began what’s slated to be a three-week
rehab assignment Monday at Double-A.

NL Quick Hits: Out since last month, Joey Votto has reportedly
joined the Reds in Toronto and is expected to be in the lineup Tuesday
night … Ryan Howard’s status remains unclear after being diagnosed with
acute sinusitis … Albert Pujols reportedly “called his shot” before
blasting a game-breaking grand slam Sunday, which apparently surprised no one
… Alfonso Soriano is just 12-for-73 (.164) this month, so he got Monday
off while the Cubs were shut out … Manny Ramirez is expected to begin
playing in minor-league games Tuesday in preparation for his July 3
return from suspension … Yunel Escobar was scratched from Monday’s
lineup with a strained hip, which is the same injury that sidelined him
for a week last month … Javier Vazquez worked around 11 base runners
while throwing 6.2 shutout innings Monday … Alex Gonzalez will miss 4-6
weeks following surgery Monday to remove bone chips from his elbow.

Yasiel Puig might be more of a bench guy in the NLDS

Yasiel Puig
AP Photo/Danny Moloshok
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Yasiel Puig appeared in just 79 games during the regular season and missed all of September with a right hamstring strain. He returned on October 3 and appeared in the Dodgers’ final two regular-season games, but that doesn’t mean he is anywhere close to 100 percent heading into the NLDS.

Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles says the Dodgers are unlikely to start Puig over Andre Ethier or Carl Crawford against right-handers in the best-of-five Division Series. And the Mets are scheduled to throw three righties in the first three games: Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, and Matt Harvey. The only left-hander in the Mets’ postseason rotation is Steven Matz, and he is somewhat questionable with a back injury.

Would it make sense to leave Puig off the NLDS roster entirely? If he does aggravate the hamstring injury, which seems possible even in a limited role, that would put him out of the mix for the NLCS.

They could send Puig to Arizona and have him face live pitching for the next 8-10 days.

But that’s just a suggestion. It doesn’t sound like it’s actually a consideration.

Who should you root for in the playoffs?

Mets Fans

If you are a fan of the Yankees, Astros, Blue Jays, Royals, Rangers, Pirates, Cubs, Cardinals, Mets or Dodgers, your life is pretty easy. Your team is in the playoffs and you thus have someone to root for. Enjoy!

But what if your team isn’t in the playoffs? Then what do you do?

Well, the first thing you do is go to SI and follow the great Emma Span’s flowchart which picks a rooting interest for you. It has important considerations for you there which feed into this data-driven solution. Things like how you feel about underdogs, what kind of monster movies you like, your beard preferences and where you fall on the bunting/shifting/irritation scale. Go run your own preferences through the flowchat, but in the meantime know that it gave me the Royals, which is 100% baloney, but let’s not blame Emma for that. She does God’s work most of the time.

If I’m being less scientific, when my Braves are not in the playoffs I generally choose based on my gut, and my gut tends to like (a) individual players more than teams; (b) pitching more than hitting; and (c) newer playoff faces instead of ones who are there every damn year. These aren’t hard and fast rules — I want to see the Dodgers do well because I like Kershaw, Greinke and Puig, but they aren’t new faces and big payroll teams can get bent —  but in generally they hold.

Here are some pros and cons of your potential rooting interests:


Pro: They’re actually underdogs this year, at least according to the oddmakers. Rooting for A-Rod is always a good thing because he is all that is right and just in baseball.

Con: They’re still the friggin’ Yankees and who, besides Yankees fans, roots for the Yankees?


Pro: They’re young and plucky and were supposed to be years away from contention and worst-to-first stories are grand.

Con: If you don’t like sabermetrics and stuff this club might annoy you. Of course if that’s a basis for annoyance for you, you’re probably not reading this blog too often.


Pro: If you dig the longball, these are your huckleberries. Rogers Centre is going to be rocking like crazy, and that’s fun to see.

Con: You’re such a Trump supporter that you’re worried about the NORTHERN border too and you’d feel way more comfortable if there weren’t reasons for foreigners to travel here. Also: the more they advance, the more likely it is that you’re gonna hear Rush music as bumpers between innings.


Pro: Good defense is great. Teams with lots of contributors instead of a couple of megastars are great. They came so close last year and seeing those finally-got-over-the-mountain teams break through is pretty neat. At least it was back when the Bulls followed the Pistons who followed the Celtics. Torch-passing is cool.

Con: Baseball writers online telling you all about their barbecue experiences. Those guys are the worst.


Pro: They came outta nowhere and, the longer they play, the more likely it is we’ll get to see Prince Fielder leg out extra bases. If Josh Hamilton makes the World Series it’ll be even more of an eff you to Arte Moreno, who really deserves an eff you over how he handled the Josh Hamilton situation.

Con: With games in Dallas broadcast by Fox, we’ll almost certainly get some gimmicky double-broadcast stunts from Joe Buck.


Pro: Andrew McCutchen is fun to watch and it would be a shame if, like the early 90s, they had a megastar on the Pirates who just never quite made it to the World Series.

Con: Everyone’s gonna be mad at ’em if they eliminate the Cubs, who are likely going to be every bandwagon fan’s choice this year. Or maybe that’s a pro. Depends on how angry you like everyone to be.


Pro: A lotta fun players on this club and, for as much of a joke and sense of identity it has become, you have to be pretty hard hearted to not at least be somewhat happy for a team breaking a 107-year World Series championship drought.

Con: I think Joe Maddon is a great manager, but the way the media treats him when his teams are doing well is pretty insufferable. The entire World Series broadcast will be people lauding his singular wisdom for bringing the Cubs back to life and forgetting that a multi-year rebuild has just gone down.


Pro: I’ll get back to you on this one. I honestly can’t think of a single reason why a non-Cards fans would root for the Cardinals. They’re not underdogs. They’re in it every year, it seems. People say I hate the Cardinals and that’s not true, but I am very weary of the Cardinals and their storylines much the same way so many people were tied of seeing the Red Sox and Yankees deep into the playoffs every season.

Cons: Pick any number of things. I would venture to say that, if one could measure such a thing, the Cards will have fewer non-Cards fans rooting for them this month than any other team will have non-fans rooting for them.


Pro: Lots of pros here. Perpetual underdogs and sad sacks. Great pitching. They’ve been out of it for years. Cool players like Cespedes and Bartolo and deGrom and Harvey and everyone. Far fewer annoying celebrity fans than the Yankees have. Just a solid, solid choice for a rent-a-root situation, and I say that even as a guy who normally hates the Mets because they’re in my team’s division. Just go with it.

Cons: If they do go far it may get exhausting. Aligning yourself with Mets fans is to align yourself with misery. They could be up 5-0 in Game 7 of the World Series and Mets fans will be worrying about the bullpen and bitching about how they didn’t close it out in five. It’s just always like that with them.


Pro: Fun players in Greinke, Kershaw and Puig. Nice camera shots of the L.A. sunset after they come back from commercial. Good vibes for Vin Scully.

Cons: They are the anti-underdog given their payroll and three straight division titles. I have heard rumors that some people don’t like Yasiel Puig as much as I do, though I have discounted them as slander. Fox’s “spot a celebrity from an upcoming Fox show who just happens to be in the crowd here tonight” game will go into overdrive.

So there are the metrics. Choose wisely.