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.

Video: Willson Contreras blasts first postseason home run off of Kershaw

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 22:  Willson Contreras #40 of the Chicago Cubs celebrates after hitting a solo home run in the fourth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers during game six of the National League Championship Series at Wrigley Field on October 22, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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So much for Clayton Kershaw posing a threat tonight. The Cubs got their knocks in early and often against the Dodgers’ ace during Game 6 of the NLCS, racking up three runs in the first three innings before rookie catcher Willson Contreras unleashed his first postseason home run in the bottom of the fourth inning.

According to MLB.com’s Phil Rogers, Contreras became the 10th Cub to homer in the 2016 playoffs, following big hits by Addison Russell, Anthony Rizzo, Dexter Fowler, Miguel Montero, David Ross, Jake Arrieta, Kris Bryant, Travis Wood, and Javier Baez. Of the ten home run hitters, Contreras joins catchers David Ross and Miguel Montero as yet another backstop capable of driving the long ball (and, less importantly, as another player capable of a sweet, sweet bat flip).

Rizzo, whose last homer was a deep drive to right field off of Los Angeles right-hander Pedro Baez in Game 4 of the NLCS, piled on Kershaw’s five-run outing with another home run in the bottom of the fifth inning. Kershaw called it a night after five frames, and the Cubs currently lead the Dodgers 5-0 in the sixth inning.

Pirates’ Nick Leyva selected as senior advisor of baseball ops

BRADENTON, FL - FEBRUARY 17:  Coach Nick Leyva #16 of the Pittsburgh Pirates poses for a photo during photo day at Pirate City on February 17, 2013 in Bradenton, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
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Former first base and infield coach Nick Leyva was promoted to senior advisor of baseball operations on Saturday, per a report by Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. The Pirates also fired third base coach Rick Sofield, with no named successor as of yet.

Leyva joined the Pirates’ organization in the 2011 offseason as a third base coach under manager Clint Hurdle. He shifted to his role as the first base coach and infield coach in 2014, when first base coach Rick Sofield was reassigned to third base prior to the 2015 season. According to Biertempfel, the swap was made in order to optimize the team’s baserunning strategies, all of which appeared to fall flat during the 2015 and 2016 seasons:

The results this season were awful. The Pirates ranked 13th in the National League with a minus-7.0 BsR — a FanGraphs.com metric that measures how many runs above or below league average a team gets via its baserunning.

In 2013 and 2014, the Pirates had one of the top five BsR ratings in the NL. In 2015, they were seventh with a 2.8 BsR.

This season, the Pirates made the second-most outs at third base in the league and were last in taking extra bases on singles and doubles. Their baserunners went from first to third base on hits a league-low 63 times.

Sofield, in particular, highlighted the Pirates’ poor baserunning choices in games like this one, when he sent Sean Rodriguez home too early during the last vestige of a ninth inning rally against the Phillies.

Following the announcement, Pirates’ GM Neal Huntington issued a statement elaborating on Leyva’s role within the organization:

We have great respect and appreciation for both men. We thank them for their time and effort as part of our Major League team and the Pirates organization. It was a difficult decision, but we felt it was the right time to make this change on our Major League staff. We look forward to Nick’s continued impact in his future role with the Pirates. Nick has held nearly every coaching position at the major league level and at the minor league level, including Major League manager, in his extensive career and will be a quality mentor for our minor league managers, coaches and players.