Daily Dose: Barton replaces injured Giambi

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Jason Giambi was supposed to provide some power and patience in his
return to Oakland, but like many of the A’s recent moves things didn’t
go quite as planned. Giambi hit .193/.332/.364 through 83 games while
costing the team even further with his horrible glove at first base,
and was mercifully placed on the disabled list Monday with a strained
right quadriceps muscle.

Giambi is on a one-year deal with a team option for 2010, so with
Oakland out of the playoff picture there’s no reason to rush the
38-year-old back. Daric Barton is taking his roster spot and will get
another shot to show that he’s capable of being an impact hitter.
Barton is amazingly still only 23 years old, but so far he’s hit just
.239/.338/.383 over 170 games in the majors and slugged .432 at
Triple-A.

While the A’s pay $5.3 million for 328 plate appearances of a .697 OPS, here are some other notes from around baseball …

* Starting for the first time since June of 2007, Jason Schmidt
allowed three runs in the first inning Monday before recovering to
throw four scoreless frames. Five innings of three-run ball is
certainly a nice first start for Schmidt, but his final line wasn’t
pretty with two strikeouts versus three walks and his fastball was
clocked in the mid-80s for most of the night.

* Chien-Ming Wang’s chances of pitching again this season took a hit
Monday as he experienced biceps soreness during a routine game of
catch. “It’s not exactly the news that I wanted,” manager Joe Girardi
said. “We were hoping two weeks’ of rest would be enough for him to get
on a throwing program. Does it mean he won’t pitch this year? No, I’m
not saying that.”

* Scott Olsen might be facing shoulder surgery after an MRI exam
revealed what interim manager Jim Riggled called “labrum issues.”
Labrum injuries are typically far more difficult to recover from than
elbow injuries, or as Riggleman put it: “Any time you hear that word,
we figure that’s going to be a while.” Olsen is probably at minimum
finished for the season with a 2-5 record and 6.03 ERA in 11 starts.

* Frank Francisco landed on the disabled list Monday for the third
time this year, but the good news is that his arm is fine. Instead he
has what the Rangers called a mild case of pneumonia and because
Francisco hasn’t pitched in a game since July 10 he’s eligible to
return as soon as Sunday. C.J. Wilson will once again get ninth-inning
duties in the meantime.

AL Quick Hits: Out since May with a torn tendon in his foot,
Carlos Quentin came off the disabled list Monday and went 1-for-4 while
batting sixth … Nelson Cruz sat out his second straight game Monday
with a fractured ring finger, but hopes to avoid the DL … After
struggling in 14 games atop the lineup, J.D. Drew slid to the sixth
spot Monday while Jacoby Ellsbury led off … David Hernandez rejoined
the rotation Monday with six innings of one-run ball against the
Yankees … Chris Ray (biceps) is slated to begin a rehab stint Friday at
Double-A … Freddy Garcia threw a bullpen session Monday in front of
Ozzie Guillen and pitching coach Don Cooper, and will head to the
minors … Mike Scioscia said Sunday that Vladimir Guerrero (knee) will
be limited to designated hitter duties when he comes off the DL … Gio
Gonzalez was rocked for 11 runs in 2.2 innings Monday against a Joe
Mauer-less Twins lineup, including seven RBIs from Justin Morneau.

NL Quick Hits: Mat Gamel was demoted back to the minors Monday
following the Brewers’ trade for Felipe Lopez … Livan Hernandez likely
saved his rotation spot with seven innings of two-run ball Monday …
Edinson Volquez (elbow) reported no problems following a bullpen
session Monday and is due to throw twice more this week … Jeff
Francoeur went 3-for-4 with a homer Monday and is now hitting .345 in
seven games with the Mets … Pedro Martinez is set to throw a simulated
game Tuesday before beginning a minor-league rehab assignment …
Jonathan Sanchez followed his no-hitter with three runs in six innings
Monday … General manager Omar Minaya and manager Jerry Manuel have been
told that their jobs are safe in New York … Ted Lilly had been pitching
well, but was rocked for nine runs in four innings Monday … Fernando
Nieve is expected to miss at least six weeks with a torn thigh muscle
suffered Sunday.

Phillies, Red Sox interested in Carlos Santana

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The Phillies and Red Sox appear intent on pursuing free agent first baseman Carlos Santana, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports. Santana rejected a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Indians on Thursday and is expected to draw widespread interest on the market this winter. The Mets, Mariners, Angels and Indians could make a play for the infielder, though no serious offers have been made this early in the offseason.

Santana, 31, is coming off of a seven-year track with the Indians. He batted .259/.363/.455 with 23 home runs and 3.0 fWAR last season, making 2017 the fourth-most valuable year of his career to date. Although he was primarily stationed at first base over the last year, he could step back into a hybrid first base/DH role with the Red Sox, who are hurting for infield depth with Hanley Ramirez still working his way back from shoulder surgery.

As for Santana’s other suitors, the Mariners are far less likely to pursue a deal after trading for Ryon Healy last Wednesday. Neither the Mets nor the Phillies have a DH spot to offer the veteran infielder, and the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins appears to be blocking the way at first base. Then again, Santana may not find a more enticing offer outside of Cleveland, where Edwin Encarnacion might otherwise be the club’s best option at first base. During the GM meetings, Indians’ GM Mike Chernoff said he “love to have both [Santana and Jay Bruce] back” in 2018, but hasn’t backed up that love with any contract talks just yet.