Daily Dose: Brandon Webb doesn't need shoulder surgery

Leave a comment

After being examined by three different doctors in three different
states this week Brandon Webb was told that he doesn’t need shoulder
surgery. However, he has also been advised not to throw for at least
another six weeks and is not expected to come off the disabled list
before September, if at all this year. Even if he’s not going to pitch
again this season Webb’s recovery is vital to his status for 2010.

Arizona holds an $8 million option on Webb for next year, along with
a $2 million buyout, so as long as he can avoid another setback while
making some progress the team seems almost certain to bring him back.
However, the Diamondbacks’ decision to pull a long-term contract offer
from the table in the middle of last year because of concerns about
Webb’s health now looks brilliant.

While one of the most durable pitchers of this era faces the
possibility of making just one start this season, here are some other
notes from around baseball …

* Fredi Gonzalez continues to say that the Marlins will use a
closer-by-committee approach with Matt Lindstrom sidelined, but Leo
Nunez picked up his fourth save Wednesday while Dan Meyer set him up by
working the eighth inning. Those are the only two real candidates for
ninth-inning duties at the moment, so Nunez has clearly taken over
primary closing duties until further notice.

* Koji Uehara was off to a nice start after coming over from Japan
this offseason, posting a 4.05 ERA and 48/12 K/BB ratio in 67 innings
before last week’s trip to the disabled list with an elbow strain.
After further tests he’s been diagnosed with a partially torn flexor
tendon, which is expected to sideline the 34-year-old for six weeks at
minimum. David Hernandez will replace him and has AL-only potential.

* On the heels of trading Lastings Milledge to the Pirates, the
Nationals demoted Elijah Dukes to Triple-A on Wednesday. Dukes is
similar to Milledge in that he’s disappointed offensively and
defensively while bringing various off-field issues to the table, but
also like Milledge he still has plenty of long-term upside and turned 25 years old last week. If the Nationals deal Dukes, they’ll be selling low again.

* Mike Aviles came out of nowhere to hit .325 as a 27-year-old rookie,
but hit just .183 through 36 games this season before being placed on
the disabled list with a strained forearm. His forearm soreness turned
out to be a torn elbow ligament and the Royals announced Wednesday that
he’ll undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery. Aviles now faces 9-12
months of recovery and an uncertain future.

AL Quick Hits: Alex Rodriguez homered Wednesday and has gone
deep in four of the past six games … Frank Francisco blew the save
Wednesday just hours after Ron Washington announced that he’d reclaimed
closer duties … Jason Bay struck out in all five of his at-bats
Wednesday and is in a 0-for-15 slump … Ervin Santana (triceps) is
scheduled to rejoin the rotation on Friday, according to Mike Scioscia
… Alexei Ramirez is headed for X-rays after exiting Wednesday’s game
with a finger injury … Brad Bergeson held Boston to one run over eight
innings Wednesday, but relievers blew a four-run lead … Initially set
to return Saturday, Erik Bedard (shoulder) is now due to come off the
disabled list Tuesday … Jered Weaver allowed a season-high seven runs
in a no-decision Wednesday … Jose Contreras threw eight innings of
two-run ball Wednesday, whiffing eight … Justin Morneau, Nick Punto,
and Mike Redmond left Wednesday’s game with injuries.

NL Quick Hits: Cole Hamels was knocked around for seven runs
Wednesday to leave his ERA at 4.98 … Adam Wainwright had a career-high
12 strikeouts and allowed one run in nine innings Wednesday, but took a
no-decision … Matt Diaz made a rare start Wednesday, going 3-for-5 with
a homer to put his OPS above .800 … Randy Wells induced a dozen
ground-ball outs while giving up one run in seven innings Wednesday,
giving him a 2.43 ERA in 10 starts … Jason Hammel took a complete-game
loss Wednesday despite allowing just one run because Clayton Kershaw
combined with three relievers for a shutout … Jair Jurrjens had seven
innings of one-run, one-hit ball Wednesday to even his mark at 6-6 …
San Diego is shopping Kevin Kouzmanoff, with Seattle said to be
interested … Colby Rasmus delivered a walk-off homer Wednesday after
Pablo Sandoval dropped a foul ball … Johnny Cueto tossed six shutout
innings in a 1-0 victory Wednesday.

Should Dave Roberts have taken Clayton Kershaw out of Sunday’s game?

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 29:  Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers delivers a pitch in the first inning against the New York Mets at Citi Field on May 29, 2016 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images
6 Comments

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts will likely be second-guessed heavily during tomorrow’s news cycle. Starter Clayton Kershaw had pitched a terrific ballgame, as is his tendency, but with 114 pitches to his name, Roberts decided to pull him from the game in the eighth inning with two outs and a runner on first base.

Roberts opted not for closer Kenley Jansen, who hasn’t pitched since Wednesday, but for another lefty in Adam Liberatore. He was playing the numbers, with the left-handed-hitting Curtis Granderson coming up. Liberatore, much to Roberts’ chagrin, served up what turned out to be a game-tying triple to Granderson, hitting a rocket to right-center just out of the reach of a leaping Yasiel Puig.

Jansen has, for six years, been one of the game’s elite relievers. Kershaw, though at a high pitch count, doesn’t seem to suffer from the times through the order penalty like most pitchers. Kershaw’s opponents’ OPS facing him for the first time was .525 coming into Sunday. Twice, .597. Three times, .587. Four times, .526 (but this suffers from survivorship bias so it’s not exactly representative).

Furthermore, Kershaw held lefties to a .546 OPS over his career. Liberatore, in 99 plate appearances against lefty hitters, gave up a .575 OPS. Jansen? .560. It seems that, faced with three decisions, Roberts arguably made the worst one. Playing conservative with Kershaw at 114 pitches is defensible, but only if Jansen comes in. If Roberts wanted the platoon advantage, Kershaw should have stayed in.

Luckily for the Dodgers, Mets closer Jeurys Familia didn’t have his best stuff. He loaded the bases with one out in the top of the ninth on a single and two walks, then gave up a two-run single to Adrian Gonzalez, giving the Dodgers a 4-2 lead. Jansen came on in the bottom half of the ninth and retired the side in order to pick up his 15th save of the season.

Royals sweep White Sox over the weekend on three late rallies

KANSAS CITY, MO - MAY 28:  Brett Eibner #12 of the Kansas City Royals celebrates his game-winning RBI single with teammates in the ninth inning against the Chicago White Sox at Kauffman Stadium on May 28, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. The Royals won 8-7. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
Ed Zurga/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Royals had themselves a pretty good weekend. The quickly fading White Sox, not so much.

On Friday, the Royals fell behind 5-1 after the top of the sixth. They would score once in the bottom of the sixth, four times in the seventh, and once in the eighth to steal a 7-5 win facing pitchers Miguel Gonzalez Dan Jennings, Matt Albers, Zach Duke and Nate Jones.

On Saturday, the Royals entered the bottom of the ninth down 7-1. They scored seven runs on closer David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle to win 8-7.

On Sunday, the Royals were down 4-2 after the top of the eighth. They plated three runs in the bottom half of the eighth against Jones and Albers, going on to win 5-4.

Coming into the weekend, the Royals were 24-22 in third place. The White Sox were 27-21, a half-game up in first place. Now the Royals are in first place by a game and a half, and the White Sox are in third place, two games out of first.

Here’s video of the Royals’ comeback on Saturday, since it was so unlikely:

Report: Ryan Braun is “the hot name out there”

ATLANTA, GA - MAY 24: Ryan Braun #8 of the Milwaukee Brewers waits to hit during the first inning against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on May 24, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
Scott Cunningham/Getty Images
8 Comments

In Saturday’s column for The Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo notes that, according to a scout, Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun is “the hot name out there.” Braun has been bothered by neck and back issues this year, missing on Sunday his eighth start out of the Brewers’ last 14 games, but he has still put up a quality .351/.424/.583 triple-slash line in 170 plate appearances this year.

More importantly for an acquiring team, Braun is in the first year of a five-year, $105 million contract. He’s earning $19 million this season and in the ensuing two seasons, and then his salary decreases slightly to $18 million in 2019, $16 million in 2020, and $15 million if both sides pick up his mutual option (else a $4 million buyout would be exercised).

Per Cafardo, the Astros, Cardinals, Red Sox, Phillies, Mets, Giants, and White Sox are potential landing spots for Braun.

Mets unhappy with Dodgers’ request to make outfield markings to position fielders

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 28:  The 1986 New York Mets are honored before the game between the New York Mets and the Los Angeles Dodgers at Citi Field on May 28, 2016 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.The New York Mets are honoring the 30th anniversary of the 1986 championship season.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images
7 Comments

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Mets have asked MLB for clarification on the Dodgers’ use of a laser rangefinder for defensive positioning over this weekend’s series at Citi Field. The Dodgers notified the Mets’ ground crew that they wanted to mark certain positions in the outfield grass after determining positions with the rangefinder. The grounds crew said they could leave two marks in center field and one in left field.

However, the grounds crew then went to their superiors and told them that the Dodgers threatened to dig holes in the outfield grass with their cleats, so the grounds crew was then instructed to “erase or obliterate” any of the Dodgers’ markings.

According to Rosenthal, Major League Baseball reinforced a few weeks ago that teams aren’t allowed to use markers to aid defensive positioning. The Dodgers haven’t been accused of doing anything nefarious during a game. Howie Kendrick was seen pulling something out of his pocket in the outfield, but Brett Anderson clarified on Twitter that it was just a piece of paper with notes for defensive positioning.

The series between the Mets and Dodgers has been heated, as Noah Syndergaard was ejected for throwing at Chase Utley on Saturday. Utley then responded by hitting two home runs, one of which was a grand slam. The Mets may have a legitimate concern, or it may just be gamesmanship.