Daily Dose: McGowan's career in danger?

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Dustin McGowan emerged as one of the AL’s most promising young pitchers
by winning 14 games with a 3.62 ERA and 169 strikeouts in 32 starts
from mid-2007 to mid-2008, but began struggling following a 125-pitch
outing last June and had season-ending shoulder surgery a month later.
His recovery has gone poorly and general manager J.P. Ricciardi hinted
Wednesday that his career is in jeopardy.

“He’s not where he should be from a rehab standpoint,” Ricciardi
noted. “I don’t know if he’s never going to throw again, but right now
he’s struggling.” Toronto’s pitching staff has been wrecked by all
kinds of injuries during the past two years, but losing a young
right-hander with a mid-90s fastball who missed plenty of bats and
induced quite a few ground balls is perhaps the biggest long-term blow.

While the Blue Jays somehow become the fifth MLB team to win 40 games, here are some other notes from around baseball …

* Injuring his elbow in the World Baseball Classic didn’t stop Matt
Lindstrom from averaging the usual 96 miles per hour with his fastball,
but he hasn’t looked right since. Last season Lindstrom allowed 21 runs
and 26 walks in 57.1 innings. This year he gave up 22 runs and 20 walks
in just 29 innings before the Marlins stuck him on the disabled list
Wednesday with a sprained right elbow.

Florida worked Lindstrom awfully hard despite the WBC scare, using
him in both games of a doubleheader last month and on three straight
days twice in the past four weeks. Now he’s been shut down for at least
a month and most likely will be sidelined well into August. Leo Nunez
is the obvious choice to replace him in the ninth inning, assuming that
his current ankle injury doesn’t linger for very long.

* Edinson Volquez had been making steady progress in his recovery
from elbow tendinitis, but has been shut down after an MRI exam showed
inflammation. He’ll be examined again next week, but now seems highly
unlikely to return before the All-Star break. With his recovery
timetable being delayed the Reds now have an excuse to give Homer
Bailey an extended rotation tryout beginning Saturday.

Bailey was a mess in past stints with the Reds and his prospect
stock is nowhere near where it once was, but he’s still just 23 years
old and is 5-0 with a 0.81 ERA and 40/10 K/BB ratio in six starts since
his latest demotion to Triple-A. This is his third go-around at
Triple-A and he’s made 45 starts there, so it may be time to let him
sink or swim while praying that he throws strikes for once.

* There’s no official diagnosis yet on Brandon Webb’s injured shoulder
following two MRI exams and he’s expected to seek a second opinion
later this week, but the Arizona Republic
reported Wednesday that “surgery appears to be a strong possibility”
while specifically speculating that he may have a torn labrum. If
that’s indeed the case, Webb is done for 2009 and perhaps most of 2010.

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: Evan Longoria left Wednesday’s game with a
strained hamstring and missed time earlier this month with the same
injury … CC Sabathia (biceps) declared himself “good to go” following a
bullpen session Wednesday … Neftali Feliz has moved to the bullpen at
Triple-A in preparation for a second-half role
in Texas … Oakland placed Josh Outman (elbow) on the shelf Thursday,
calling up Gio Gonzalez to replace him in the rotation … Denard Span
(ear) is set to come off the disabled list Thursday … Jason Varitek has
been slumping this month, so manager Terry Francona explained Wednesday
that he’s been dealing with neck stiffness … Koji Uehera said Wednesday
that he’s in danger of missing his next start because of elbow soreness
… David Ortiz homered again Wednesday and is 18-for-55 (.327) with six
homers this month … Orlando Hernandez began his comeback by tossing a
scoreless inning out of the bullpen Tuesday at Triple-A.

NL Quick Hits: Oliver Perez (knee) estimated Wednesday that he
needs a couple more minor-league rehab starts before rejoining the Mets
… Manny Parra tossed seven innings of one-run ball in his second
Triple-A outing Tuesday, striking out Manny Ramirez … Brad Lidge (knee)
will return from the disabled list Thursday, according to general
manager Ruben Amaro Jr. … Gary Sheffield was out of the lineup for a
third straight game Wednesday after getting a cortisone shot for his
injured knee … Seth McClung has been tabbed to replace Dave Bush
(biceps) in the rotation and may have some short-term value in NL-only
leagues … Kenshin Kawakami exited Wednesday’s start after taking a Joba
Chamberlain liner off the side of his neck … General manager Neal
Huntington said Wednesday that Ian Snell will remain in the rotation
for at least one more start … David Wright stole his 19th base
Wednesday while going 4-for-4 with three runs.

Diamondbacks place Shelby Miller on the 10-day disabled list

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The Diamondbacks announced on Monday that starter Shelby Miller has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with right elbow inflammation. Miller will get a second opinion on his elbow on Tuesday, per MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert. Pitcher Silvino Bracho has been called up from Triple-A Reno to take Miller’s spot on the roster.

Miller, 26, left Sunday’s start with what was described at the time as forearm tightness. Through his first four starts, Miller is carrying a 4.09 ERA with a 20/12 K/BB ratio in 22 innings.

Bracho, 24, has pitched quite well in 6 2/3 innings of relief at Reno. He’s given up just one unearned run on four hits and a walk (intentional) with 12 strikeouts.

Archie Bradley figures to take Miller’s spot in the starting rotation as Bracho will work middle relief.

Eric Thames hit two more homers

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And John Lackey is livid.

The Brewers’ first baseman homered in each of his first two plate appearances against Reds starter Amir Garrett on Monday evening, helping his team to a 6-1 lead after two frames. The first was a solo blast in the first inning, and the second was a two-run shot to the opposite field in the second inning.

According to MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, Thames has tied the Brewers’ record for home runs in April with 10. Carlos Lee also hit 10 homers in April 2006.

Seven of Thames’ 10 home runs have come against the Reds. Including his first two at-bats on Monday night, Thames is hitting .379/.474/.924 with 17 RBI along with the 10 dingers. Not too shabby from a guy the Brewers signed to a three-year, $16 million contract during the offseason.

Lackey and Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio both recently implied Thames is using performance-enhancing drugs, but Thames was tested immediately after last Monday’s game against the Cubs.