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.

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.