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hit on the elbow by a line drive and has been replaced by Zach Duke for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.

Report: Phillies close to signing Joaquin Benoit

ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 15:  Joaquin Benoit #53 of the Toronto Blue Jays pitches during the seventh inning of a game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim  at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 15, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images
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Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly reports that the Phillies are close to signing free agent reliever Joaquin Benoit. An announcement is expected before the winter meetings end on Thursday.

Benoit, 39, has quietly been among the better relievers in baseball over the past seven years. This past season with the Mariners and Blue Jays, the right-hander put up an aggregate 2.81 ERA with a 52/24 K/BB ratio in 48 innings. That included a 0.38 ERA in 23 2/3 innings after the Jays acquired him from the Mariners.

Benoit suffered a torn calf muscle during a benches-clearing brawl with the Yankees near the end of the regular season. He’s expected to be healthy for spring training.

The Phillies have now added three relievers this offseason with Benoit, Pat Neshek, and David Rollins.

Report: The new collective bargaining agreement reduces players’ meal money

ADVANCE FOR WEEKEND EDITIONS, JAN. 18-19 - This Jan. 15, 2014 photo showing new baseball union head Tony Clark during an interview at the organization's headquarters, in New York. Clark has big shoes to fill _ and not just as Michael Weiner's replacement as head of the baseball players' union. Moving from Arizona to New Jersey, the former big league All-Star also needed to find size 15 snowshoes.  (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
AP Photo/Richard Drew
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ESPN’s Pedro Gomez provides a previously unreported detail of the new collective bargaining agreement, agreed to by the owners and the players’ union last week. Players’ meal money for road games is being reduced from $105 to $30 per day. Teams are providing pre- and post-game meals in the visitors’ clubhouse to offset some of the decrease in meal money.

Gomez quotes an unnamed player who said, “I doubt many guys know about the money going down, nor would they have agreed to it.” All of the players Gomez contacted said they were unaware of and unhappy about the change.

Clubhouse attendants are certainly unhappy about this change, too. As Gomez notes, the attendants previously provided food for visiting teams which earned them tips from the players.

EDIT: It’s worth clarifying that chefs are required in clubhouses now as part of the new CBA, so it’s not a complete loss for the players.