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.

Erik Johnson likely to open 2016 in the White Sox rotation

DENVER, CO - APRIL 09:  Starting pitcher Erik Johnson #45 of the Chicago White Sox delivers against the Colorado Rockies during Interleague play at Coors Field on April 9, 2014 in Denver, Colorado. The Rockies defeated the White Sox 10-4.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
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With the White Sox losing Jeff Samardzija to free agency, Erik Johnson will likely get a shot to contribute out of the rotation to open up the 2016 season, GM Rick Hahn said in a conference call on Wednesday, per a report from MLB.com’s Scott Merkin.

“As we sit here today, I think it will be an opportunity for Erik Johnson to convert on sort of the return to form he showed back in 2015 when he was International League pitcher of the year for [Triple-A] Charlotte,” Hahn said. “Obviously, he got some starts in September and continued to show the progress in Chicago he had shown in the Minor Leagues over the course of the last season.

“So if Opening Day were today, then I think Johnson is penciled in to that spot in the rotation right now. In all probability, once we get closer to spring, there will be some competition for him to earn that spot. But if we were strictly looking at today, then I would think Johnson has the inside track on filling Samardzija’s innings.”

Johnson was called up from Triple-A Charlotte in September and made six starts, allowing 14 runs (13 earned) on 32 hits and 17 walks with 30 strikeouts in 35 innings. That followed up an impressive five months in the minors where he compiled a 2.37 ERA and a 136/41 K/BB ratio across 132 2/3 innings.

Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, and MLB.com each included Johnson on their top-100 prospect lists, ranking him 63rd, 67th, and 70th, respectively. The right-hander was selected by the White Sox in the second round of the 2011 draft.

Major League Baseball will investigate Yasiel Puig for his role in Miami nightclub brawl

Yasiel Puig
AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi

It was reported on Friday afternoon that Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig was involved in a brawl at a Miami nightclub. Details were scant at the time, but he reportedly left with a bruise on his face.

Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times reports that Major League Baseball plans to investigate Puig under the league’s new domestic violence policy for his role in the brawl. Citing a report from TMZ, Hernandez notes that Puig shoved his sister, “brutally sucker-punched” the manager of the bar, and instigated the brawl.

The Dodgers and Puig’s agent have thus far refused to comment on the situation.

Rockies shortstop Jose Reyes was the first player to be investigated under the league’s new domestic violence policy earlier this month, as he allegedly assaulted his wife. Reyes has pleaded not guilty after he was charged with domestic abuse in Hawaii.

As our own Craig Calcaterra pointed out, commissioner Rob Manfred does not need to wait for Puig to plead guilty or to be found guilty to levy a punishment.

Dayan Viciedo close to signing with Japan’s Chunichi Dragons

Dayan Viciedo
AP Photo/Carlos Osorio
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Patrick Newman is reporting that the Chunichi Dragons of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball and outfielder Dayan Viciedo are close to an agreement on a contract. Newman notes that the Dragons are close to signing pitcher Jordan Norberto as well.

Viciedo, 26, has struggled since making his major league debut in 2010 with the White Sox, batting an aggregate .254/.298/.424 with 66 home runs and 211 RBI in 1,798 plate appearances. He spent the 2015 season with Triple-A Charlotte (White Sox) and Nashville (Athletics), hitting a composite .287/.348/.450. While Viciedo can hit the occasional home run, he hasn’t shown the ability to do much else at the big league level. Given his age, he could prove himself in Japan and parlay that into a renewed shot in the majors in the future.

The White Sox signed Viciedo out of Cuba in December 2008, agreeing to a four-year, $10 million deal. The club re-signed him to one-year deals in 2013 and ’14 for $2.8 million each and $4.4 million ahead of the 2015 season.

Blue Jays sign J.A. Happ to a three-year, $36 million contract

J.A. Happ
AP Photo/David Zalubowski

Update (8:45 PM EST): Per Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi, Happ will get $10 million in 2016 and $13 million each in 2017 and ’18.


MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm reports that the Blue Jays have signed lefty J.A. Happ to a three-year deal worth $36 million.

Happ, 33, had a rebirth as a member of the Pirates last season after starting the season with 20 subpar starts with the Mariners. He made 11 starts for the Buccos, boasting a 1.85 ERA with a 69/13 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings.

Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported this past August that Happ’s newfound success had to do with a delivery tweak suggested by Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage. The Blue Jays are certainly hoping that adjustment is the full explanation for his success.

The Jays’ signing of Happ most likely signifies they won’t be pursuing free agent lefty David Price.

This will be Happ’s second stint with the Blue Jays. The Astros dealt him to Toronto in a July 2012 trade. He posted a 4.39 ERA with a 256/113 K/BB ratio in 291 innings with the Jays, then went to the Mariners in a trade this past December that brought outfielder Michael Saunders to the Jays.