Daily Dose: Back scratches Lincecum

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Tim Lincecum was a last-minute scratch from his Tuesday night start with back pain, so the Giants called up top prospect Madison Bumgarner from Double-A to take his place versus the Padres. Bumgarner was a teenager until last month, but the former first-round pick was 9-1 with a 1.93 ERA at Double-A and handled himself pretty well against the NL’s lowest-scoring team, allowing two runs over 5.1 innings.
Bumgarner’s numbers as a pro as insanely good, with a 27-5 record and 1.65 ERA, but his 69/30 K/BB ratio in 107 innings at Double-A suggest that he’s not quite ready to dominate. He’s without question one of the top pitching prospects in baseball and the Giants obviously believed that he was ready for the challenge Tuesday night, but don’t count on the young southpaw being a fantasy asset until at least mid-2010.
While the Giants unveil their next stud starter and pray that Lincecum’s injury proves minor, here are some other notes from around baseball …


* Charlie Manuel reiterated Tuesday afternoon that Brad Lidge will remain his closer despite an MLB-high 10 blown saves. And then Tuesday night he pulled Lidge in the middle of a save situation and brought in Ryan Madson to close out a 5-3 win. Lidge allowed a single and a walk, plunked a batter, and uncorked a wild pitch while getting just one out, at which point Madson got the call and cleaned up his mess.
* After sitting out since mid-June with a knee injury Carlos Beltran returned from the disabled list Tuesday and went 1-for-4 while narrowly missing a grand slam. Beltran deserves credit for working hard to make his way back for the final four weeks of the season despite the fact that his team is completely out of contention after going just 27-42 in his absence. If he looks healthy, Beltran should be undervalued for 2010.
* Alex Gordon returned to the majors Tuesday after batting .313/.435/.493 during his three-week demotion to Triple-A, which despite Kansas City’s claim that suppressing his service time wasn’t a factor was just long enough to delay his free agency for an extra year. Gordon is now under the Royals’ control through at least 2013, although he’ll need to turn things around to be of any use by then. He’s a nice buy-low target.
* Rotoworld’s whole baseball crew is now on Twitter, from Matthew Pouliot’s frequent updates during each night’s games to my mindless babble about things that have no fantasy baseball relevance whatsoever, so check us out:
Aaron Gleeman – @aarongleeman
Matthew Pouliot – @matthewpouliot
Drew Silva – @drewsilv
D.J. Short – @djshort
Nick Nelson – @nnelson9
Eddie Schmid – @edwinthethird
Thor Nystrom – @thorku
Evan Brunell – @immortalkid
Our current goal is to collectively get more followers than Gregg Rosenthal, because his incessant bragging around the office is becoming tough to take.
AL Quick Hits: Michael Young (hamstring) is hoping to rejoin the lineup by the end of the week after jogging Tuesday … Daisuke Matsuzaka (shoulder) is due to make his final rehab start Wednesday at Single-A … Julio Borbon smacked a pair of homers Tuesday and also swiped his 13th base … Joe Crede (back) came off the disabled list Tuesday and should be the primary third baseman down the stretch … Fernando Rodney appealed his three-game suspension for throwing a ball into the press box last week … Jake Peavy (elbow) will toss a bullpen session Wednesday with an eye on joining the White Sox’s rotation next week … Wade Davis will stick in the rotation following an impressive debut, bumping Andy Sonnanstine … Dustin Pedroia had his first career multi-homer game Tuesday … Carlos Carrasco struggled again Tuesday, giving him a 12.38 ERA through two career starts … Francisco Liriano (elbow) threw a simulated game Tuesday and reported no problems, setting up a bullpen move.
NL Quick Hits: J.A. Happ will miss a second start because of his strained oblique, so Jamie Moyer will again fill in … Manny Parra left Tuesday’s start after just one inning because of neck spasms … Casey Blake (hamstring) sat out his fourth straight game Tuesday, with Ronnie Belliard starting at third base … Garrett Jones homered again Tuesday, giving the career minor leaguer 19 long balls in 235 at-bats … Corey Hart (appendicitis) returned from the disabled list Tuesday, but won’t rejoin the lineup until Wednesday … Fredi Gonzalez indicated Tuesday that Jeremy Hermida (oblique) is not expected back any time soon … Colby Rasmus sat out Tuesday’s game with the heel injury that has plagued him all season … Ken Macha said Tuesday that Casey McGehee will play more down the stretch than Mat Gamel … Raul Ibanez went deep twice Tuesday, totaling 30 homers for the second time … Reed Johnson (foot) is not expected to play again this year.

Cubs, Jake Arrieta avoid arbitration at $10.7 million

Jake Arrieta
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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The Associated Press is reporting that the Cubs and starter Jake Arrieta have avoided arbitration, agreeing to a $10.7 million salary for the 2016 season. That marks the highest salary on a one-year deal for a pitcher with four years of service, the AP notes. Arrieta and the Cubs were set to go before an independent arbitrator but now can simply focus on the season ahead.

Arrieta, 29, is in his second of three years of arbitration eligibility. He had filed for $13 million while the Cubs countered at $7.5 million. The $5.5 million gap was the largest among players who did not come to terms with their respective teams by the January deadline. The $10.7 million salary is $450,000 above the midpoint between the two submitted figures.

Arrieta won the National League Cy Young Award for his performance this past season, narrowly edging out Zack Greinke, then with the Dodgers. Arrieta led the majors with 22 wins, four complete games, and three shutouts. With that, he compiled a 1.77 ERA and a 236/48 K/BB ratio across 229 innings.

Once a top prospect in the Orioles’ minor league system, Arrieta struggled in the majors but found immediate success with the Cubs in 2013 after the O’s traded him along with Pedro Strop in exchange for Steve Clevenger and Scott Feldman.

Giants sign Conor Gillaspie to a minor league deal

Los Angeles Angels third baseman Conor Gillaspie is unable to hold on to the ball after catching a grounder hit by Kansas City Royals' Lorenzo Cain in the fourth inning of a baseball game at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Friday, Aug. 14, 2015. (AP Photo/Colin E. Braley)
AP Photo/Colin E. Braley
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Per Baseball America’s Matt Eddy, the Giants have signed infielder Conor Gillaspie to a minor league deal. Gillaspie was selected by the Giants in the supplemental round of the 2008 draft, then was traded to the White Sox in February 2013.

Gillaspie, 28, hit a meager .228/.269/.359 with four home runs and 24 RBI in 253 plate appearances between the White Sox and Angels during the 2015 season. Almost all of his playing time has come at third base but he can also play first base if needed.

The Giants, thin on depth, will allow Gillaspie to audition in spring training for a spot on the 25-man roster.

Joe Nathan plans to pitch in 2016

Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Joe Nathan throws against the Chicago White Sox in the ninth inning of a baseball game in Detroit Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
AP Photo/Paul Sancya
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Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports that free agent reliever Joe Nathan, recovering from Tommy John surgery, plans to pitch in 2016 according to his agent Dave Pepe. According to Pepe, Nathan’s workouts are “going well” and the right-hander is “definitely planning on playing this year.”

Nathan, 41, got the final out on Opening Day (April 6) against the Twins before going on the disabled list with a flexor strain in his right elbow, causing him to miss the next 161 games. He will likely be able to contribute out of the bullpen in late May or early June if he has no setbacks. On a minor league deal or incentive-laden major league deal, Nathan could make for a low-risk gamble.

Over a 15-season career that dates back to 1999 (he did not pitch in the majors in 2001 or 2010), Nathan has 377 saves with a 2.89 ERA and a 967/340 K/BB ratio over 917 innings.

The Rays are considering reliever Tyler Clippard

New York Mets pitcher Tyler Clippard throws during the eighth inning of Game 4 of the National League baseball championship series against the Chicago Cubs Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2015, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh
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On Thursday, we learned that the Diamondbacks were still considering free agent reliever Tyler Clippard. You can add the Rays to the list as well, per Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.

The Rays traded lefty reliever Jake McGee to the Rockies in exchange for outfielder Corey Dickerson in late January, so Clippard would be able to slot right in behind closer Brad Boxberger. Clippard, 30, compiled a 2.92 ERA with 64 strikeouts and 31 walks over 71 innings in a season split between the Athletics and Mets. The strikeout rate was at its lowest since the right-hander become a full-time reliever in 2009, and his walk rate was at its highest since 2010, which may be a factor in his still being a free agent in February.