Daily Dose: Second opinion for Beltran

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Placed on the disabled list last week with a bone bruise in his right
knee, Carlos Beltran is currently in Colorado being examined by the
same doctor who did Alex Rodriguez’s hip surgery. Assistant general
manager John Ricco denied Monday that surgery has been discussed as an
option for Beltran, but also described the injury as “a bruise that
gets bigger” and “could develop into a microfracture.”

Coincidentally, microfracture surgery happens to be Dr. Richard
Steadman’s big specialty, which has the media in New York speculating
that surgery is indeed an option for Beltran. For now at least the trip
to Colorado is merely Beltran seeking a second opinion and the Mets
don’t think that the injury has progressed that far, but there’s plenty
of reason to be concerned and he’s not close to returning.

While the Mets lose their fourth game in a row to fall below .500, here are some other notes from around baseball …

* Gordon Beckham began his big-league career by going 0-for-13, at which point one of the Chicago-area newspapers amusingly quoted an anonymous scout
as saying that “he’s got to change his swing.” In other words, never
mind the terrific college career and rapid rise through the minors, he
failed to get a hit in his first four games!

Beckham has predictably gotten on track since then, singling in each
of his three at-bats Monday to make him 15-for-43 (.349) with a homer
and three doubles in his last 14 games. It remains to be seen if
Beckham will develop significant pop, but everything in his track
record suggests that he’ll hit for a nice batting average and control
the strike zone while posting a strong on-base percentage.

* Ricky Nolasco was demoted to Triple-A last month after going 2-5
with a 9.07 ERA through nine starts, but his 37/13 K/BB ratio in 44
innings suggested that he wasn’t pitching as badly as the bloated ERA
showed. Sure enough he’s had six solid starts in a row since rejoining
the Marlins, including eight innings of two-run ball Monday. He’s now
3-1 with a 1.91 ERA and 33/5 K/BB ratio since returning.

* Gavin Floyd was one of my “bust” picks coming into the season and
seemed to be headed down that path as he went 2-4 with a 7.71 ERA
through eight outings. However, he’s turned things around in a big way
since then and after tossing 7.2 shutout innings Monday now has a 1.28
ERA and 30/11 K/BB ratio in 42 innings this month. Looking beyond ERA,
he’s actually pitching better than last season.

AL Quick Hits: Josh Outman will miss the remainder of this
season and possibly much of 2010 following elbow surgery Tuesday …
Alexei Ramirez left Monday’s game after being hit on the helmet by a
Chris Perez pitch, but said afterward that he should be fine … Roy
Halladay came off the disabled list with six solid innings Monday, but
lost his matchup to Jeff Niemann … Carl Crawford went 2-for-3 with a
homer and swiped his 40th base Monday … Josh Hamilton (abdomen) began a
rehab assignment Monday at Double-A, going 1-for-4 with a steal … Gil
Meche (arm) threw a bullpen session Monday and declared himself fit to
make his start Wednesday … Jon Lester shut out the Orioles for seven
innings Monday, striking out eight and walking zero … Luke Hochevar
tossed seven shut innings Monday and has sliced his ERA from 10.80 to
4.96 this month … Jed Lowrie’s bruised knee continues to stall his
recovery from wrist surgery.

NL Quick Hits: Tim Lincecum allowed two hits and walked zero in
his third career complete-game shutout Monday … Aramis Ramirez
(shoulder) is slated to begin rehabbing Thursday in the hopes of
rejoining the Cubs after 20-25 at-bats … J.J. Hardy went 4-for-4 with a
homer and two doubles Monday … Colby Rasmus was scratched from Monday’s
game with a stomach ailment … Roy Oswalt used just 110 pitches for a
complete-game win Monday … Manny Ramirez will complete his minor-league
stint Tuesday before returning from suspension Friday … Antonio
Bastardo (shoulder) landed on the disabled list Monday, but there’s no
timetable yet for his return … Rich Harden scattered nine hits while
giving up one run over seven innings Monday, striking out nine …. Scott
Olsen returned to the rotation Monday with seven innings of two-run
ball … Fernando Nieve took his first loss Monday while giving up 11
hits in 3.1 innings … Raul Ibanez (groin) is unlikely to come off the
DL when eligible Friday.

Twins’ top prospect Nick Burdi will undergo Tommy John surgery

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Twins’ right-hander Nick Burdi is set to undergo Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, the team announced on Friday. Burdi made 14 appearances for Double-A Chattanooga before succumbing to a torn ulnar collateral ligament and is not expected to make his major league debut until mid-2018 at the earliest. A UCL tear doesn’t always require Tommy John surgery — less severe cases can be treated with platelet-rich plasma injections, for example — but Twins’ chief baseball officer Derek Falvey told the press that surgery was unavoidable as Burdi had sustained a “full thickness tear” in his elbow.

Entering the 2016 season, Burdi was widely considered a top ten prospect in the Twins’ system. His exceptional velocity and potent fastball-slider combo made him a fearsome relief option as he came off of his first season in Double-A Chattanooga in 2015. During the 2016 season, however, the 24-year-old experienced a significant setback after a bone bruise cut his season short in late July. Prior to Friday’s diagnosis, he appeared to be staging an impressive comeback with the Chattanooga Lookouts this spring, decorating his efforts with a sparkling 0.53 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 10.6 SO/9 over 17 innings.

It’s a tough break for the Twins, whose farm system was ranked 21st in the league by Baseball America. “Obviously he’s proven when he’s healthy he’s an absolute premium prospect, and the Twins are treating him that way,” Burdi’s agent, Matt Sosnick, told Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press. “We just want to make sure everything we do ultimately leads to the goal of getting him back on the field as quickly as he can.”

Brock Holt has been shut down from game activity

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Things have gone from bad to worse for Red Sox’ outfielder Brock Holt, who was shut down “for the foreseeable future” on Friday after meeting with head trauma specialist Michael Collins. The Red Sox placed Holt on the 10-day disabled list in April after he began experiencing vertigo, the latest in a series of head injuries he’s sustained since last spring.

According to the Boston Herald’s Jason Mastrodonato, the outfielder was initially advised to attempt playing through his symptoms, but it quickly became apparent that the strategy wasn’t going to work. Now, the plan is to shut him down from any game activity in the hopes that he’ll be able to recover from all lingering symptoms before returning to the roster. Club manager John Farrell told reporters that the 28-year-old is still cleared to take batting practice and work on his defense, but won’t continue his rehab starts in Triple-A Pawtucket for the time being.

Holt had been making regular appearances for the Pawtucket Red Sox and was batting .209/.292/.372 with two home runs through 14 games this spring. This season marks his fifth run within the Red Sox’ organization. He experienced a bit of a slump at the plate in 2016 and slashed .255/.322/.383 after breaking out during his first All-Star year in 2015.

Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe suggests that the team’s concern for Holt extends past his setbacks at the plate. It’s still a long road to a full recovery, and while Farrell told reporters he believes the outfielder is on track to make a return sometime in 2017, he’ll need to make sure that Holt is both physically and mentally prepared to do so.