This is no laughing matter, despite the jokes that will inevitably fly after news of this breaks. It turns out that Mariners third baseman Adrian Beltre injured his testicle last night after a ground ball took a bad hop and hit him in the groin area. No, he does not wear a protective cup.
– Geoff Baker, Seattle Times
That quote just about says it all. Adrian Beltre, who had already come back from June shoulder surgery to rejoin the Mariners’ lineup last week, is now back on the disabled list with an injury that will probably have everyone reading this right now cringing. He had tearing and internal bleeding, and may be headed for surgery that would end his season, yet amazingly stayed in the game for 14 innings Wednesday.
Baker reports that Beltre could return in a couple weeks if surgery isn’t needed, but no one would blame the impending free agent for taking September off either way. Beltre’s unfortunate injury combined with Jack Wilson’s hamstring problems have the Mariners extremely short-handed on the left side of the infield, so much so that Jack Hannahan and Josh Wilson were the starters Thursday night against the Yankees.
While protective cup sales skyrocket in the Seattle area, here are some other notes from around baseball …
* Bronson Arroyo was busy Thursday. In the afternoon reports surfaced about his admitted use of over-the-counter supplements that aren’t on MLB’s approved list and a few hours later he tossed a two-hit shutout against the Nationals, giving up just one walk and two singles while plunking a batter. Arroyo has a Quality Start in six of his last seven outings, slicing his ERA from 5.85 to 4.74 during that time.
* Jake Peavy took a big first step towards joining the White Sox by the end of the month when he threw three shutout innings in a rehab start Thursday at Triple-A. Out since early June with a torn ankle tendon, Peavy struck out five, walked one, and allowed just one hit while throwing 43 pitches against the Red Sox’s affiliate. He’s aiming for August 28 against the Yankees as his White Sox debut.
* Tim Hudson also had an encouraging rehab outing Thursday, allowing two runs in four innings at Triple-A. He threw 42 of 63 pitches for strikes and was clocked in the low-90s consistently, which matches the 91 miles per hour he averaged on his fastball prior to Tommy John elbow surgery. He’s expected to make 2-3 more rehab starts before coming off the disabled list at some point next month.
AL Quick Hits: Justin Verlander blanked the Red Sox for eight innings Thursday as Clay Buchholz picked up a tough-luck loss … Neftali Feliz whiffed five in two perfect innings Thursday, giving him 13 strikeouts with zero walks in 6.2 innings overall … Torii Hunter (groin) homered in a rehab game Wednesday and is set to come off the disabled list this weekend … CC Sabathia had his first 10-strikeout game Thursday after notching eight of them last year … David Ortiz went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts against Verlander and is 5-for-44 (.113) this month … A pair of MRI exams revealed no major damage to Glen Perkins’ shoulder, so he could return in September … Justin Morneau went hitless in four at-bats Thursday with his batting average dropping below .300 for the first time since April … Baltimore will go with a six-man rotation in September to accommodate young arms Chris Tillman, Brian Matusz, and David Hernandez … Josh Hamilton went 4-for-4 with two doubles Thursday and has 18 hits in his last 10 games.
NL Quick Hits: Jonny Gomes homered three times Thursday and is now slugging .566 in 166 at-bats … Garrett Jones struck out in all four of his at-bats Thursday, perhaps signaling the end of his deal with the devil … Ted Lilly (knee, shoulder) said Thursday that he’ll be ready to rejoin the rotation next week … Cliff Lee won his sixth straight start with eight innings of one-run ball Thursday … Manny Parra allowed six runs on 13 hits to the NL’s worst offense Thursday, but got his fifth straight win thanks to Cesar Carrillo being rocked in his debut … Dexter Fowler returned from a bruised knee by going 4-for-5 with three doubles and three runs Thursday … Jason Marquis tossed seven innings of one-run ball Thursday, tying Johan Santana and Adam Wainwright for the league lead with 13 wins … Kevin Kouzmanoff had hits in all five at-bats Thursday and went 11-for-13 in the series against Milwaukee … Already pitching through a knee injury, Mike Hampton left Thursday’s start after straining his shoulder.
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.
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.
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.
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.