Daily Dose: Jay Bruce fractures wrist

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Jay Bruce rejoined the Reds’ lineup Saturday following a brief benching
that was meant to, as manager Dusty Baker put it, “clear his head.”
Instead he struck out in the top of the first inning and then fractured
his wrist while attempting to make a diving catch in the bottom of the
frame. The good news is that the injury was to his right wrist and
Bruce is a left-handed batter and thrower.

The bad news is that he was put on the disabled list Sunday while
the Reds wait for the results of an MRI exam to determine exactly how
long he’ll be sidelined. If the MRI results agree with the initial
X-rays Bruce should be able to avoid going under the knife, but
season-ending surgery is possible. For now Chris Dickerson and Jonny
Gomes will fill in, but the Reds may be in the market for an
outfielder.

While the Reds hope that Bruce’s sophomore season doesn’t end with a
measly .727 OPS, here are some other notes from around baseball …

* John Bowker went hitless through his first two starts since being
called up from Triple-A last week, but was 2-for-4 with a homer Sunday.
Bowker has often been overlooked by the Giants and will likely need to
have immediate success to keep getting starts once the second half is
underway, but he’s clearly capable of being an asset in NL-only leagues
and could even emerge with mixed-league value.

Bower has posted a modest .700 OPS through 362 plate appearances in
the big leagues, but batted .322/.416/.550 at Triple-A and
.307/.363/.523 at Double-A to show that he’ll likely produce if given
the chance. He’s already 26 years old, so stardom isn’t in Bowker’s
future, but he has 20-homer power with solid on-base skills and should
hit around .270 with a handful of steals.

* Matt Cain left Saturday’s game in the second inning after being
hit on the elbow by a line drive and has been replaced by Zach Duke for
the All-Star game, but is expected to make his next scheduled start
Sunday. Cain described his elbow as “just sore” and said that “it feels
better than we really thought it would.” He ends the first half at 10-2
with a 2.38 ERA and 95/46 K/BB ratio in 117 innings.

* With both Josh Beckett and Tim Wakefield picked for the All-Star
team the Red Sox have decided to go with six starters to begin the
second half. Clay Buchholz will get the nod Friday against the Blue
Jays, but he’ll almost surely go right back to Triple-A regardless of
how well he pitches. However, he’s 7-1 with a 2.99 ERA and 86/29 K/BB
ratio in 93.2 innings there and may still be a second-half factor.

AL Quick Hits: Josh Beckett picked up his 100th career victory
Sunday with his fourth career complete-game shutout … Justin Verlander
shut out the Indians for seven innings Sunday and is tied with Tim
Lincecum for the MLB lead with 149 strikeouts … Carlos Gomez went
3-for-5 with a homer Sunday, knocking in five runs … John Lackey tossed
seven innings of two-run ball Sunday to out-duel CC Sabathia and
complete a three-game sweep of the Yankees … Jason Bay didn’t have an
official at-bat despite reaching base five times Sunday, drawing three
walks and being hit by two pitches … Kevin Slowey (wrist) was unable to
throw a bullpen session Sunday, so he’ll miss at least one more
rotation turn … Brandon Inge went deep twice Sunday after being picked
to the Home Run Derby … Mark Buehrle failed to pitch at least five
innings Sunday for the first time, coughing up eight runs while
recording 10 outs … Mike Lowell (wrist) is expected to come off the
disabled list Friday.

NL Quick Hits: Barry Zito was rocked for nine runs Sunday,
finishing the first half with a 5.01 ERA … Carlos Zambrano turned in a
Quality Start and smacked his third homer of the season Sunday … Carlos
Delgado (hip) hit in a cage Sunday, but remains 3-4 weeks from
potentially returning … Kyle Lohse allowed four runs over five innings
in his return from the disabled list Sunday … Will Venable went 4-for-5
with four runs and his first homer Sunday … J.A. Happ improved to 6-0
by allowing one run over seven innings Sunday … Clayton Kershaw got the
best of Yovani Gallardo with six innings of one-run ball Sunday … Brian
Moehler had six shutout innings Sunday, slicing his ERA to 5.08 …
Florida sent Sean West to the minors Sunday despite posting a 4.91 ERA
through his first 10 starts … Brad Hawpe homered and delivered a
walk-off double Sunday, heading into the break with a .320 batting
average.

Robert Gsellman wins spot in Mets’ rotation

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Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that Robert Gsellman has won the No. 4 spot in the Mets’ starting rotation. He adds that the Mets are likely to play things cautiously with lefty Steven Matz. The fifth and final rotation spot will go to either Zack Wheeler or Seth Lugo.

Gsellman, 23, has had a great spring. The right-hander has allowed three earned runs on 15 hits and four walks with nine strikeouts in 17 1/3 innings. That is on the heels of seven solid starts at the end of the 2016 season during which he yielded 12 earned runs on 40 hits and 12 walks with 40 strikeouts in 41 innings.

Matz, 25, is dealing with irritation in his left elbow. He had surgery in October to remove a bone spur and was a Tommy John patient several years ago. It sounds like the Mets are leaning towards having him start the season on the disabled list.

Wheeler, 26, isn’t having a great spring. He’s surrendered seven runs in 7 1/3 innings. Lugo has given up three earned runs in seven spring innings and also looked solid in the World Baseball Classic although he took the loss in the final against the United States.

Javier Baez: “This is a game. It’s not as serious as a lot of people take it.”

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Infielder Javier Baez is back in camp with the Cubs after helping Puerto Rico to a second-place finish in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. He was the focal point of what was, to many, the most memorable play of the entire tournament: Baez pointed at catcher Yadier Molina, who was attempting to throw out a would-be base-stealer, before applying the tag for the final out of the eighth inning.

While Baez didn’t receive much criticism for his theatrics, aside from an insignificant handful of spoilsports, he is one of the players who most exemplifies the emotional, celebratory culture that foreign players bring to Major League Baseball. U.S. (and Tigers) second baseman Ian Kinsler is on the other side of that spectrum, as he said prior to the WBC final that he hopes kids mimic the solemn way U.S. players play the game rather than the emotional, passionate way players from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic play the game.

Baez isn’t about to apologize for the way he and his teammates play the game. Via CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney, Baez said, “We do a great job playing and having fun out there. That’s what it’s all about. This is a game. It’s not as serious as a lot of people take it. but, you know, everybody’s got their style and their talent. I have a lot of fun.”

He continued, “It’s their choice to look at how we play, how excited we get. To us, it’s really huge what we did, even though we didn’t win. All of Puerto Rico got really together. We were going through a hard time over there and everything got fixed up for at least three weeks. Hopefully, they keep it like that.”