Daily Dose: Pedro wins Phillies debut

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Pedro Martinez was victorious in his Phillies debut Wednesday against the Cubs, allowing three runs in five innings. Martinez struck out five and walked one while giving up seven hits and showed pretty decent velocity while regularly getting his fastball into the low-90s. He certainly wasn’t great, but it was a solid outing given that he hadn’t faced big-league hitters in 10 months.
At this point in his career Martinez’s upside is limited, but his amazing changeup is still dangerous even when combined with a high-80s or low-90s heater and his ability to miss bats remains relatively intact. He seems unlikely to be much of an asset in mixed leagues, but if career win No. 215 is any indication he’ll have nice value in NL-only leagues down the stretch.
While the Phillies’ decision to dump Jamie Moyer for Martinez pays dividends for one night at least, here are some other notes from around baseball …

* Erik Bedard’s season and perhaps Mariners career came to an end Wednesday with news that he’ll undergo exploratory surgery on his ailing left shoulder. As an impending free agent Bedard’s future depends entirely on what Dr. Lewis Yocum discovers during the procedure and there’s little chance of Seattle re-signing him either way. They got a total of 11 wins for all those players and all that money.
* Tuesday night’s bean-balling, benches-clearing drama in Boston earned Kevin Youkilis and Rick Porcello matching five-game suspensions and neither player is appealing, so the clocks started ticking immediately. Youkilis will miss 10 percent of the Red Sox’s remaining schedule, while Porcello will just make his next start one day later. At least Mike Lowell homered again in Youkilis’ place Wednesday.
* Ubaldo Jimenez shut out the Pirates for eight innings Wednesday to pick up his 10th win and has another favorable matchup versus the Nationals next week. He went 1-3 with a 7.58 ERA in April, but Jimenez has a 2.91 ERA and 121/46 K/BB ratio in 139.1 innings since. Now that his control is merely bad rather than awful, the man with the hardest fastball of any MLB starter is capable of really thriving.
* John Smoltz refused an assignment to the minors Wednesday and told the Red Sox that he’s not interested in pitching out of their bullpen, so he’ll either be dealt or released shortly. Whether he’s willing to be a reliever for a different team isn’t clear, but Smoltz has given no indication that he plans to retire and there’s plenty of speculation about who might still be interested in giving him one last chance.
AL Quick Hits: Mariano Rivera was unavailable Wednesday because of shoulder soreness … Tommy Hunter tossed seven shutout innings Wednesday, slicing his ERA to 2.29 … Josh Beckett got his MLB-leading 14th win with seven innings of two-run ball Wednesday … Mike Scioscia said Wednesday that Kelvim Escobar (shoulder) is unlikely to pitch again this season … Joe Crede (shoulder) rejoined the lineup by going 3-for-3 with a three-run homer Wednesday … Oakland asked Justin Duchscherer (elbow) to make one more rehab start … Trevor Bell debuted by allowing four runs on nine hits in 5.1 innings Wednesday … Francisco Liriano had his best start of the season Wednesday, allowing just an early solo homer in seven innings … Armando Galarraga was scratched from Wednesday’s start with a sore throat and fever … Derek Jeter left Wednesday’s game after being hit on the foot, but X-rays were negative.
NL Quick Hits: Out since July 23 with a calf strain, Lance Berkman rejoined the lineup with two doubles and two walks Wednesday … Ricky Nolasco was rocked for 10 runs in 3.1 innings Wednesday … As expected, Jordan Zimmermann will undergo Tommy John elbow surgery next week … Jhoulys Chacin was demoted to Triple-A after struggling in his first career start Tuesday … Tim Lincecum gave up two runs in 8.2 innings Wednesday, but got stuck with a no-decision … Adam LaRoche homered twice and drew a bases-loaded walk Wednesday … Russell Martin made his season debut at third base Wednesday … Hunter Pence went deep twice and knocked in a career-high six runs Wednesday … Homer Bailey left Wednesday’s game after being hit on the foot by Albert Pujols’ line drive, but X-rays were negative … Ted Lilly (knee, shoulder) tossed five shutout innings in a rehab start Wednesday at Single-A.

Cavaliers will move ring ceremony to avoid conflict with World Series start

CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 11: A general exterior image of the Quicken Loans arena which is next door to Progressive Field where the Chicago White Sox will take on the Cleveland Indians on July 11, 2014 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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In a show of good sportsmanship, the Cleveland Cavaliers have moved their championship ring ceremony start time back to 7 PM EDT to avoid conflicting with the start of the World Series opener on Tuesday. The Indians are set to host Game 1 at Progressive Field on October 25, while the Cavs will open the 2016-17 NBA season against the New York Knicks at the nearby Quicken Loans Arena, preceded by a ceremony recognizing their first franchise title.

In the event that the Indians clinch a World Series title, it’ll be the first time Cleveland has seen two championships in the same calendar year since 1948, when the Indians’ last Series title came on the back of the Cleveland Browns’ All-American Football Conference championship against the Buffalo Bills. The same was true for the Dodgers in 1988, when their World Series win against the Athletics coincided with the Los Angeles Lakers’ 11th championship, while Chicago has yet to see a multi-title year among their NBA, NHL, NFL, and MLB franchises.

Regardless of the Series’ outcome, Cleveland fans will get the chance to revel in one long-awaited championship win on Tuesday before watching the beginning of a nail-biting conclusion to another long-awaited playoff run. The Cavaliers are scheduled for 7 PM EDT on October 25, while the Indians will take the field at 8 PM EDT.

Indians could benefit from long rest before the World Series

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 09: Danny Salazar #31 of the Cleveland Indians delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins during the first inning of the game on September 9, 2016 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
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If any team can turn a six-day rest period into an advantage, it’s the Indians. The club polished off their pennant race with another injured starter and an overtaxed bullpen, as Trevor Bauer exited in Game 3 of the ALCS with a laceration on his right pinky finger, leaving the bullpen to shoulder 16 innings through the last three games of the series. On Friday, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reported that injured starter Danny Salazar could rejoin the rotation in the World Series, though he’ll need at least one more simulated game before Terry Francona determines whether or not he’s fit to return for the team’s last postseason push.

Bauer, who has been under the close watch of hand specialist Dr. Thomas Graham, told the press that he feels confident that he’ll be ready for a World Series start when the final showdown commences on Tuesday. Keeping the wound bandaged is not an option during games, and Bauer said that Dr. Graham decided against additional stitches to keep the laceration from re-opening. Instead, they’re banking on extra days of rest to heal the cut naturally. Should Francona pencil the right-hander into the lineup for Game 3 or 4, he’ll have had 10-11 days to rest his finger between starts — just a hair under the seven games Bauer said he was prepared to pitch.

Salazar, too, has been preparing for a World Series showdown. He’s scheduled to pitch three innings of a simulated game this weekend, and if it goes well, it could land him a spot in the starting rotation alongside Bauer, Corey Kluber, Josh Tomlin, and newcomer Ryan Merritt. Salazar has been sidelined since September 9 with a right forearm strain, and even after undergoing a rigorous throwing program over the last several weeks, any kind of comeback is expected to be curbed by a strict innings limit. Francona has been understandably tight-lipped about his World Series roster, but he hasn’t yet nixed the idea of utilizing Salazar out of the rotation, provided the right-hander remains healthy for another week or so.

The Indians have had to remain flexible throughout their seven-game playoff run after weathering injuries to Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer, pushing their rotation through several games on short rest and relying heavily on Andrew Miller and Cody Allen‘s one-two punch in the ‘pen to clinch more than a few postseason victories. While history doesn’t always favor the first team to secure their league’s pennant race, an extra week of rest should only benefit Cleveland’s beleaguered pitching staff.