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.

Anthony Alford to miss 4-6 weeks following wrist surgery

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Blue Jays’ outfielder Anthony Alford will miss at least 4-6 weeks after undergoing surgery on his left wrist, the team announced on Saturday. Alford was placed on the 10-day disabled list earlier in the week after sustaining a left hamate fracture on a foul pitch, and could miss significant time in what looks to be a lengthy rehab process. MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm reports that the procedure has been scheduled for next week and will be performed by Dr. Donald Sheridan in Arizona.

Alford, 22, was called up to the majors from Double-A New Hampshire last Friday. He went hitless in his first three outings, finally catching a break against the Brewers on Tuesday when he pinch-hit a leadoff double in the seventh. The injury occurred two innings later when Alford fouled off a pitch in the ninth inning, fracturing his wrist in the process.

Alford will join eight other players on the Blue Jays’ disabled list, including outfielders Steve Pearce (calf strain), Dalton Pompey (concussion) and Darrell Cecillani (partial shoulder dislocation). He’s expected to be replaced by 24-year-old outfield prospect Dwight Smith Jr.

Stephen Strasburg hit a new career high today

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Good luck getting a hit against the Nationals this weekend. Stephen Strasburg followed Max Scherzer‘s 13-strikeout performance on Friday with a dazzling outing of his own on Saturday afternoon. The right-hander whiffed a career-best 15 batters in seven innings, allowing just three hits and a walk in the Nats’ 3-0 win.

It took Strasburg several innings to get into a groove after pitching into (and out of) a jam in the first inning. The Padres loaded the bases with Allen Cordoba‘s leadoff single, a throwing error by Ryan Zimmerman and a four-pitch walk to Cory Spangenberg. By the third, Strasburg was cruising, striking out the side on 18 pitches and keeping the Padres off the basepaths until the sixth. He recorded his 15th and final strikeout in the seventh inning, catching Padres’ prospect Franchy Cordero swinging on a 1-2 pitch to effectively end his outing.

While 15 strikeouts set a new career record for the Nationals’ ace, he came close to reaching the mark twice before. The first time, he struck out 14 of 24 batters during his major league debut against the 2010 Pirates, though the 5-2 win did little more than keep the Nationals neck-and-neck with the Marlins at the bottom of the NL East. Five years later, he tied his 14-strikeout record against the 2015 Phillies, tossing a one-hitter in eight innings to cement his ninth victory of the season.

The only one who doesn’t seem overly enthused by the new record? Strasburg himself, who told MLB.com’s Jamal Collier and AJ Cassavell: “It’s pretty cool, but there’s another game five, six days from now. I’ll enjoy it tonight, but back to work tomorrow.”