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.

Mets leaning on Jay Bruce, Neil Walker as Lucas Duda insurance

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MAY 12:  Pinch hitter Lucas Duda #21 of the New York Mets walks back to the dugout after striking out for the first out of the ninth inning against Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on May 12, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  The Dodgers won 5-0.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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The Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.

Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”

Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”

The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.

Jason Kipnis diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Jason Kipnis #22 of the Cleveland Indians celebrates after scoring a run on a wild pitch thrown by Jon Lester #34 of the Chicago Cubs (not pictured) during the fifth inning in Game Seven of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.

There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.

Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.