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

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.

Erik Johnson likely to open 2016 in the White Sox rotation

DENVER, CO - APRIL 09:  Starting pitcher Erik Johnson #45 of the Chicago White Sox delivers against the Colorado Rockies during Interleague play at Coors Field on April 9, 2014 in Denver, Colorado. The Rockies defeated the White Sox 10-4.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
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With the White Sox losing Jeff Samardzija to free agency, Erik Johnson will likely get a shot to contribute out of the rotation to open up the 2016 season, GM Rick Hahn said in a conference call on Wednesday, per a report from MLB.com’s Scott Merkin.

“As we sit here today, I think it will be an opportunity for Erik Johnson to convert on sort of the return to form he showed back in 2015 when he was International League pitcher of the year for [Triple-A] Charlotte,” Hahn said. “Obviously, he got some starts in September and continued to show the progress in Chicago he had shown in the Minor Leagues over the course of the last season.

“So if Opening Day were today, then I think Johnson is penciled in to that spot in the rotation right now. In all probability, once we get closer to spring, there will be some competition for him to earn that spot. But if we were strictly looking at today, then I would think Johnson has the inside track on filling Samardzija’s innings.”

Johnson was called up from Triple-A Charlotte in September and made six starts, allowing 14 runs (13 earned) on 32 hits and 17 walks with 30 strikeouts in 35 innings. That followed up an impressive five months in the minors where he compiled a 2.37 ERA and a 136/41 K/BB ratio across 132 2/3 innings.

Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, and MLB.com each included Johnson on their top-100 prospect lists, ranking him 63rd, 67th, and 70th, respectively. The right-hander was selected by the White Sox in the second round of the 2011 draft.

Major League Baseball will investigate Yasiel Puig for his role in Miami nightclub brawl

Yasiel Puig
AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi

It was reported on Friday afternoon that Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig was involved in a brawl at a Miami nightclub. Details were scant at the time, but he reportedly left with a bruise on his face.

Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times reports that Major League Baseball plans to investigate Puig under the league’s new domestic violence policy for his role in the brawl. Citing a report from TMZ, Hernandez notes that Puig shoved his sister, “brutally sucker-punched” the manager of the bar, and instigated the brawl.

The Dodgers and Puig’s agent have thus far refused to comment on the situation.

Rockies shortstop Jose Reyes was the first player to be investigated under the league’s new domestic violence policy earlier this month, as he allegedly assaulted his wife. Reyes has pleaded not guilty after he was charged with domestic abuse in Hawaii.

As our own Craig Calcaterra pointed out, commissioner Rob Manfred does not need to wait for Puig to plead guilty or to be found guilty to levy a punishment.

Dayan Viciedo close to signing with Japan’s Chunichi Dragons

Dayan Viciedo
AP Photo/Carlos Osorio
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Patrick Newman is reporting that the Chunichi Dragons of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball and outfielder Dayan Viciedo are close to an agreement on a contract. Newman notes that the Dragons are close to signing pitcher Jordan Norberto as well.

Viciedo, 26, has struggled since making his major league debut in 2010 with the White Sox, batting an aggregate .254/.298/.424 with 66 home runs and 211 RBI in 1,798 plate appearances. He spent the 2015 season with Triple-A Charlotte (White Sox) and Nashville (Athletics), hitting a composite .287/.348/.450. While Viciedo can hit the occasional home run, he hasn’t shown the ability to do much else at the big league level. Given his age, he could prove himself in Japan and parlay that into a renewed shot in the majors in the future.

The White Sox signed Viciedo out of Cuba in December 2008, agreeing to a four-year, $10 million deal. The club re-signed him to one-year deals in 2013 and ’14 for $2.8 million each and $4.4 million ahead of the 2015 season.

Blue Jays sign J.A. Happ to a three-year, $36 million contract

J.A. Happ
AP Photo/David Zalubowski

Update (8:45 PM EST): Per Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi, Happ will get $10 million in 2016 and $13 million each in 2017 and ’18.


MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm reports that the Blue Jays have signed lefty J.A. Happ to a three-year deal worth $36 million.

Happ, 33, had a rebirth as a member of the Pirates last season after starting the season with 20 subpar starts with the Mariners. He made 11 starts for the Buccos, boasting a 1.85 ERA with a 69/13 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings.

Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported this past August that Happ’s newfound success had to do with a delivery tweak suggested by Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage. The Blue Jays are certainly hoping that adjustment is the full explanation for his success.

The Jays’ signing of Happ most likely signifies they won’t be pursuing free agent lefty David Price.

This will be Happ’s second stint with the Blue Jays. The Astros dealt him to Toronto in a July 2012 trade. He posted a 4.39 ERA with a 256/113 K/BB ratio in 291 innings with the Jays, then went to the Mariners in a trade this past December that brought outfielder Michael Saunders to the Jays.