Friday's quick hits – Sheets doubtful for 2009

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According to ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark, teams interested in free agent Ben Sheets have learned that he won’t be ready to pitch this year after surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon.

When Sheets had the procedure in Feburary, the hope was that he’d be
ready to pitch in August. However, he obviously isn’t progressing as
hoped, which explains why he hasn’t been involved in any rumors
recently. There’s still good reason to believe he’ll be back at full
strength in 2010.

The Reds have activated Edwin Encarnacion from the DL following a two-month absence due to a fracture in his left wrist.

Danny Richar traded places with him, going on the DL with a shoulder
injury. Encarnacion was brutal before getting hurt, hitting
.127/.286/.190, but it was just 63 at-bats and no one has stepped up in
his absence. As a result, it’s practically guaranteed that he’ll get
his job back.

The Braves have scheduled Tim Hudson’s first rehab appearance from Tommy John surgery for July 19.

If all goes well, he’ll make five or six rehab starts and then rejoin
Atlanta’s rotation during the second half of August. The Braves already
have a very solid rotation that includes Derek Lowe, Javier Vazquez,
Jair Jurrjens, Kenshin Kawakami and Tommy Hanson, opening up the
possibility that Hudson could return as a reliever. However, a lot can
happen in a month and a half.

A really intriguing idea would be to shop Vazquez for a big-time
outfielder at the deadline, but I don’t see any obvious fits. A
three-way deal that would bring Matt Holliday from Oakland and send
prospects to the A’s would be ideal.

Report: Shohei Ohtani has sprained UCL in pitching elbow

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The Angels signed Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani for a $2.3 million signing bonus last weekend. They may have damaged goods on their hands. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that Ohtani underwent a physical that revealed a first-degree sprain of his ulnar collateral ligament. As a result, he got a platelet-rich plasma injection on October 20. This was made known to teams after Ohtani entered MLB’s posting system, so it wasn’t like the Angels went into this blind.

Ohtani’s report said, “Although partial damage of UCL in deep layer of his right UCL exists, he is able to continue full baseball participation with sufficient elbow care program.” It also said Ohtani “will most likely be available to start his throwing program approximately a month from the PRP.”

Passan notes that the report also mentioned that a “small free body” floats in Ohtani’s elbow near his UCL.

Ohtani isn’t without other injuries. He battled hamstring and ankle issues throughout 2017 and underwent right ankle surgery back in October. Thankfully for the Angels, this diagnosis is about as good as it could be considering the circumstances. However, if Ohtani does exacerbate his UCL issue, he may ultimately need Tommy John surgery at some point, which would take him out of action for at least a year.