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.

Bruce Maxwell first MLB player to kneel during National Anthem

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Athletics’ rookie catcher Bruce Maxwell did not stand for the National Anthem on Saturday night. He’s the first MLB player to do so and, like other professional athletes before him, used the moment to send a message — not just to shed light on the lack of racial equality in the United States, but to specifically protest President Donald Trump’s suggestion that NFL owners fire any of their players who elect to protest the anthem by sitting or kneeling.

“Bruce’s father is a proud military lifer. Anyone who knows Bruce or his parents is well aware that the Maxwells’ love and appreciation for our country is indisputable,” Maxwell’s agent, Matt Sosnick, relayed to the San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser on Friday. He continued:

Bruce has made it clear that he is taking a stand about what he perceives as racial injustices in this country, and his personal disappointment with President Trump’s response to a number of professional athletes’ totally peaceful, non-violent protests.

Bruce has shared with both me and his teammates that his feelings have nothing to do with a lack of patriotism or a hatred of any man, but rather everything to do with equality for men, women and children regardless of race or religion.

While Maxwell didn’t make his own statement to the media, he took to Instagram earlier in the day to express his frustration against the recent opposition to the protests, criticizing the President for endorsing “division of man and rights.”

Despite Trump’s profanity-laced directive to NFL owners on Friday, however, it’s clear the Athletics don’t share his sentiments. “The Oakland A’s pride ourselves on being inclusive,” the team said in a statement released after Maxwell’s demonstration. “We respect and support all of our players’ constitutional rights and freedom of expression.”

Whatever the fallout, kudos to Maxwell for taking a stand. He may be the first to do so in this particular arena, but he likely won’t be the last.

Alex Wilson broke his leg on a 103-MPH comebacker

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This one is brutal. Tigers’ right-handed reliever Alex Wilson was diagnosed with a broken leg after taking a blistering 103.8-MPH line drive off of his right leg during Saturday’s game against the Twins. According to the Detroit News’ Chris McCosky, it’s a non-displaced fibular fracture, but will still warrant an extended recovery period and signal the end of Wilson’s season.

Wilson replaced Drew VerHagen to start the eighth inning and worked a full count against Joe Mauer. Mauer roped an 93.3-MPH fastball back up the middle, where it struck the pitcher on his right calf. While Mauer took first base, Wilson got to his feet and tried to toss a warm-up pitch, but was in too much pain to continue and had to be helped off the field.

Even in a season that isn’t going anywhere in particular, this isn’t how you want it to end. The Tigers have yet to announce a recovery timetable for the 30-year-old reliever, but he won’t return to the mound until 2018. He exited Saturday’s outing with a 4.35 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 6.3 SO/9 over 60 innings.

The Tigers currently trail the Twins 10-3 in the bottom of the ninth inning.