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.

Orioles are eying Welington Castillo as their primary catcher target

BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 25: Welington Castillo #7 of the Arizona Diamondbacks warms up prior to taking an at bat against the Baltimore Orioles in the second inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 25, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Matt Hazlett/Getty Images)
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A report from the Baltimore Sun’s Dan Connolly suggests that free agent catcher Welington Castillo currently tops the Orioles’ list of potential backstop targets for the 2017 season. With Matt Wieters on the market, the Orioles lack a suitable platoon partner for Caleb Joseph behind the dish, and Connolly adds that the club has been discussing a multi-year deal with Castillo’s representatives since the Winter Meetings.

Castillo batted .264/.322/.423 with the Diamondbacks in 2016, racking up 14 home runs and driving in a career-high 68 RBI in 457 PA. His bat provides much of his upside, and Connolly quoted an anonymous National League scout who believes that the 29-year-old’s defensive profile has fallen short of his potential in recent years.

For better or worse, both the Orioles and Castillo appear far from locking in a deal for 2017. Both the Rays and Braves have expressed interest in the veteran catcher during the past week, while the Orioles are reportedly considering Wieters, Nick Hundley and Chris Iannetta as alternatives behind the plate.

Report: Phillies agree to minor league deal with Daniel Nava

KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 12:  Daniel Nava #12 of the Kansas City Royals bats during the game against the Oakland Athletics at Kauffman Stadium on September 12, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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The Phillies reportedly signed veteran outfielder Daniel Nava to a minor league contract, according to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Nava began the season on a one-year contract with the Angels, during which he slashed .235/.309/.303 through 136 PA in the first half of 2016. He was flipped to the Royals in late August for a player to be named later and saw the remainder of his year go down the drain on an .091 average through 12 PA in Anaheim. After getting the boot from the Angels’ 40-man roster in November, the 33-year-old outfielder elected free agency.

Nava is expected to compete for a bench role on the Phillies’ roster in the spring. As it currently stands, the club’s projected 2017 outfield features Howie Kendrick and Odubel Herrera, with precious little depth behind them. Nava’s bat is underwhelming, but at the very least he offers the Phillies a warm body in left field and a potential platoon partner for one of their younger options, a la Tyler Goeddel or Roman Quinn.