Daily Dose: Wakefield floats to DL

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Clay Buchholz is back in Boston’s rotation after making a spot start
last week, as the Red Sox put Tim Wakefield on the disabled list
Tuesday. Wakefield, who was picked for his first All-Star game last
week, tweaked his lower back while tossing a bullpen session Saturday
and the AL co-leader in wins will have to wait a while for victory No.
12.

Buchholz will pitch in Wakefield’s place Wednesday against the
Rangers after he allowed one run in 5.2 innings versus the Blue Jays
last week. He struggled with Boston last season, going 2-9 with a 6.75
ERA in 76 innings, but Buchholz is still just 24 years old and has
definitely earned another chance after going 7-2 with a 2.36 ERA and
89/30 K/BB ratio in 99 innings at Triple-A. He has AL-only value.

While the Red Sox’s vaunted starting pitching depth continues to come in handy, here are some other notes from around baseball …

* Scott Olsen will miss the remainder of this season following
surgery to repair a partially torn labrum, but the good news is that he
should be fully healthy in time for spring training. Had it been a
fully torn labrum Olsen would’ve been facing at least 12 months of
recovery and rehab, but the Nationals’ team doctor described this
surgery as “just a clean-up procedure.” Healthy or not, he’s a question mark.

* Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi revealed Tuesday that he’s
set a July 28 deadline to deal Roy Halladay, adding: “At this point
it’s probably unlikely that we’ll trade Doc” because “no one has really
stepped up yet” with a big offer. July 28 is the deadline because
Halladay is scheduled to start on July 29 against the Mariners,
although my guess is that a great offer on July 30 would be listened
to.

* Hours after some doofus at Circling the Bases
suggested that he might be a better trade target than Halladay, Cliff
Lee allowed one run in a complete-game victory against none other than
the Blue Jays. Two straight complete-game wins have his ERA down to
3.17 and Tuesday’s gem involved outlasting rookie Brett Cecil’s seven
shutout innings.

* Failing to make it out of the third inning in back-to-back outings
earned Andrew Miller a trip back to the minors Tuesday. Miller’s raw
stuff has always been good enough to dominate and he has 206 strikeouts
in 258 career innings, but horrible control has too often been his
undoing with 143 walks. Also of note is that Miller initially looked
like an extreme ground-ball pitcher, but has been neutral recently.

* Gaby Sanchez was recalled from Triple-A to take Miller’s roster
spot and could get a shot at third base if the Marlins finally realize
that Emilio Bonifacio’s great speed doesn’t make up for a .617 OPS and
bad defense. Sanchez hit just .281 with nine homers in 60 games at
Triple-A and is already 25 years old, but batted .314/.404/.513 with 17
homers, 42 doubles, and 17 steals at Double-A last year.

AL Quick Hits: John Danks has been scratched from his scheduled
Wednesday start with a blister on his index finger … Carlos Guillen has
put his rehab stint on hold to have his sore shoulder examined by a
team doctor … Franklin Gutierrez is day-to-day with left knee and left
elbow contusions after violently crashing into the outfield wall
Tuesday … Justin Duchscherer (elbow) threw a simulated game Tuesday and
could begin a rehab assignment next week … Clayton Richard got a
no-decision for the best start of his career Tuesday, allowing one run
in eight innings … Jack Hannahan homered twice Tuesday to double his
hit total with the Mariners … Josh Beckett lost Tuesday for the first
time since June 14, giving up four runs in eight innings … Sergio Mitre
won for the first time since July of 2007 in his Yankees debut Tuesday
… Jeff Niemann won his fifth straight decision by tossing eight innings
of two-run ball Tuesday, whiffing seven and walking none.

NL Quick Hits: Lance Berkman will rest for a few days after
being diagnosed with a Grade 2 calf strain … Ryan Dempster is slated to
have his broken toe X-rayed Thursday and may then be cleared to throw …
Jim Riggleman finally got into the win column Tuesday with John
Lannan’s first complete-game shutout … Brandon Phillips was benched
Tuesday after not running out a fly ball Monday … Braden Looper
combined with three relievers to shut out the Pirates on Tuesday … John
Maine (shoulder) faced Jose Reyes and Carlos Delgado in a 65-pitch
simulated game Tuesday … Mark DeRosa homered twice Tuesday for his
second straight multi-hit game … Ryan Sadowski’s deal with the devil
finally ran out Tuesday, as he coughed up eight runs … Manny Ramirez
left Tuesday’s game and was taken for X-rays after being hit on the
hand by a pitch … Oliver Perez allowed four runs in six innings Tuesday
and has a 12/17 K/BB ratio since rejoining the Mets.

Giants and Brandon Belt have an arbitration hearing scheduled for Wednesday

San Francisco Giants'  Brandon Belt reacts after being called out on strikes by home plate umpire Jim Joyce to end the top of the first inning against the Colorado Rockies in a baseball game Friday, Sept.. 4, 2015, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
AP Photo/David Zalubowski
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Brandon Belt filed for $7.5 million and was offered $5.3 million by the Giants when arbitration figures were exchanged last month. That’s a pretty sizable gap. While there’s still a chance that an agreement will be worked out at the last minute, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that an arbitration hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.

The Giants haven’t gone to an arbitration hearing since 2004, when they lost to catcher A.J. Pierzynski. Schulman hears from one person involved that because of the gap between Belt and the Giants, there’s a real chance this will break that string and require a hearing.

Belt batted .280/.356/.478 with 18 home runs and 68 RBI over 137 games in 2015, but he dealt with concussion symptoms for the second straight season. An arbitration hearing could bring some unpleasant conversation to the surface.

Padres sign veteran utility player Skip Schumaker

Cincinnati Reds' Skip Schumaker is tagged out at home plate by San Francisco Giants' Buster Posey during the seventh inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2015, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
AP Photo/Ben Margot
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The Padres have inked veteran utility player Skip Schumaker to a minor league contract, per FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.

Schumaker, who turned 36 last week, has spent the last two seasons with the Reds. He batted .242/.306/.336 with one home run and 21 RBI over 131 games last season while making starts between all three outfield spots and second base. Cincinnati cut ties with him in November after declining a $2.5 million club option for 2016.

While Schumaker had to settle for a non-guaranteed deal here, it would be no surprise to see him land a bench job with the Padres come Opening Day.

Report: MLB, union making progress on new slide rule at second base

New York Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada falls after a slide by Los Angeles Dodgers' Chase Utley during the seventh inning of an NL Division Series baseball game Saturday, Oct. 10, 2015, in Los Angeles. (John McCoy/Los Angeles Daily News via AP)
John McCoy/Los Angeles Daily News via AP
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After Ruben Tejada suffered a fractured right fibula on a takeout slide from Chase Utley during the playoffs, there was momentum for a new rule about slides at second base. We haven’t heard much about it since the Owners’ Meetings in November, but ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that talks between MLB and the players’ union are making progress and a change is expected for the 2016 season.

The exact wording of the new rule is still unclear, but Olney hears that there’s a focus toward “ensuring that sliding runners either touch the base or make an effort to touch the base.” Below are some more details:

Sources said that in the union’s internal discussions, players made it clear they had been taught since they first began playing baseball to go into second base with the intent of breaking up double-play attempts. Although the union wants to improve safety for middle infielders, it does not want to eliminate players’ aggressiveness on slides or the ability to break up a double play.

However, there is a desire on both sides to eliminate slides on which a baserunner goes beyond the effort to reach second to make contact with middle infielders.

There’s already a rule in place for a situation like we saw with Utley, but it’s rarely, if ever, enforced. It’s unfortunate that Tejada’s fractured fibula had to be the catalyst for change or clarification with the rules, but hopefully this will result in fewer injuries in the future. Similar to the “Buster Posey Rule” for plays at home plate, get ready for life with the “Chase Utley Rule.”

Here’s the video of the Tejada/Utley play:

And here’s the video of another high-profile play from 2015 which resulted in a torn lateral meniscus and a fractured tibia for Pirates infielder Jung Ho Kang:

Report: Tigers and J.D. Martinez agree to a two-year, $18.5 million deal

J.D. Martinez
Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images
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UPDATE: Jason Beck of MLB.com confirms that it’s a two-year, $18.5 million deal.

8:00 p.m. ET: Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish reports that the Tigers have avoided arbitration with outfielder J.D. Martinez by agreeing to a two-year contract. No word yet on the terms involved, but Robert Murray of Baseball Essential reported earlier today that he was hearing rumblings about a two-year, $18.5 million deal.

Martinez filed for $8 million and was offered $6 million by the Tigers when arbitration figures were exchanged last month. There has been some talk about a long-term extension, but we heard last week that the two sides were discussing both one- and two-year deals. This new deal will buy out Martinez’s final two years of arbitration, so as of now, he’s still on track to go into free agency after 2017.

After a breakout 2014, Martinez batted .282 with 38 home runs and an .879 OPS over 158 games last season.