Daily Dose: Short but sweet for Greinke

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Zack Greinke got some rare run support from the Royals’ lineup Thursday afternoon, picking up his 14th win to hopefully help Cy Young voters realize that he’s clearly the best pitcher in the league in spite of awful teammates. The bad news is that Greinke left after five shutout innings because his right elbow was swollen thanks to a Miguel Cabrera line drive.
Greinke actually pitched another 1.2 innings after Cabrera’s liner caused the Royals’ training staff and manager Trey Hillman to convene on the mound to test him with a whole bunch of warm-ups pitches. He retired five of six batters with two strikeouts to seemingly indicate that the injury isn’t significant, but that’s often tough to tell with all the adrenaline still flowing.
While the abbreviated outing gives Greinke an MLB-best 2.14 ERA in 210.1 innings, here are some other notes from around baseball …


* Gavin Floyd left Wednesday’s start after just two innings and will miss his next turn in the rotation because of a lingering hip injury, and manager Ozzie Guillen indicated that the White Sox may decide to shut him down for the year. “The main thing for us is to make sure we keep this guy healthy for the future,” Guillen said. “The way this guy has pitched for us the last two years he deserved and earned our consideration.”
Floyd got off to a poor start after going 17-8 last season, but his overall numbers are nearly identical to what he did in 2008. Last year he tossed 206 innings with a 3.84 ERA, 145/70 K/BB ratio, and 1.26 WHIP. This year he’s logged 193 innings with a 4.06 ERA, 163/59 K/BB ratio, and 1.23 WHIP. Slightly more strikeouts and slightly better control, but a much worse record at 11-11.
* Wade Davis followed up his excellent big-league debut with a rough outing against the Red Sox last week, giving up eight runs while recording eight outs. He bounced back in a huge way Thursday with a complete-game shutout of the Orioles, allowing just four hits and two walks while striking out 10. He also threw 124 pitches, which is a high for any Rays starter this season, so keep an eye on his next outing.
AL Quick Hits: Victor Martinez (personal) rejoined the lineup Thursday by extending his hitting streak to 16 games, but Kevin Youkilis (back) remained sidelined … After all the hype has died down, Matt Wieters is having a big week and a very solid rookie season … Ichiro Suzuki ended Thursday’s game in the 14th inning with his MLB-high 205th hit … Justin Morneau’s season-ending back injury came in the midst of what is now his annual stretch-run slump … John Danks got a no-decision Thursday despite allowing only a solo homer over eight innings … Fresh off a complete-game shutout, Brett Tomko (arm) has been shut down for the season … Despite struggling recently, Jim Johnson will remain the Orioles’ closer … Brandon Morrow continued to struggle with his control Thursday, handing out six walks … First-round pick Aaron Crow and the Royals finally agreed to a $4.5 million deal Thursday … If you’re not already, you really ought to start following me on Twitter.
NL Quick Hits: Jose Valverde is available to close again after missing three games with a fever … J.A. Happ (oblique) will rejoin the rotation Friday, but the Phillies won’t have Chan Ho Park (hamstring) in the bullpen for 2-3 weeks … Milton Bradley exited Thursday’s game with knee soreness, so as usual he’s day-to-day … Cole Hamels took a perfect game into the sixth inning Thursday before settling for eight innings of one-run ball … Chris Coghlan had hits in all four of his at-bats Thursday and is now batting .381 since August 1 … Derek Lowe is expected to make his next start despite leaving Wednesday’s outing with a blister … Dan Uggla indicated Wednesday that he expects to be traded this offseason … Shane Victorino was 0-for-3 before leaving Thursday’s game with “gastrointestinal illness” … Johnny Cueto was scratched with the flu Thursday, so Matt Maloney stepped in and notched his first MLB win … Ryan Garko hasn’t started since September 6, as the Giants’ midseason moves have not helped … Bobby Parnell is finished as a starter after going 1-5 with a 7.93 ERA.

Seattle Mariners to make a “full-court press” for Shohei Ohtani

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Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto said in a team-sponsored podcast the other day that the M’s will make a “full-court press” for Shohei Ohtani. To that end, Dipoto said that the M’s would be willing to let the two-way star to pitch and to hit, which is something Ohtani is interested in doing in the United States. Not all clubs are likely to let him do this, with most likely seeing him as a starting pitcher only.

Ohtani, who is expected to be posted by his Japanese team, the Nippon Ham Fighters, possibly as early as today, can sign with anyone he wants. He is, however, subject to the international bonus pool caps, so the bids on him will be somewhat limited. The Texas Rangers and New York Yankees have the most money available: $3.535 million for the Rangers and $3.5 million for the Yankees. The Twins ($3.245 million), Pirates ($2.266 million), Marlins ($1.74 million) and Mariners ($1.57 million) are the only other teams with more than $1 million left. Twelve teams — including the Dodgers, Cubs, Cardinals and Astros — are limited to a maximum of $300,000, having met or exceeded their caps for this signing period already.

Ohtani, however, is said to be less motivated by money than he is by finding the right situation. While a lot of guys say that, the fact that Ohtani is coming over to the U.S. now, when his financial prospects are limited, as opposed to waiting for two years when he is not subject to the bonus caps and could sign for nine figures, suggests that he is telling the truth. As such, a team like the Mariners that is willing to allow him to hit and pitch could make up for the couple of million less they have in bonus money to spend.

As for how that might work logistically, Dipoto said that the team would be willing to play DH Nelson Cruz a few days in the outfield to accommodate Ohtani, allowing him to DH on the days he’s not pitching. That might be . . . interesting to see, but given how badly the Mariners could use a good starting pitcher, they have an incentive to be creative.

Ohtani, 23, suffered some injuries in 2017, limiting him to just five starts and 65 games as a hitter. In 2016, however, he hit .289/.356/.547 with 22 homers in 342 at-bats and went 11-3 with a 3.24 ERA, and a K/BB ratio of 146/51 in 133.1 innings as a starter.

Five clubs have more money to spend on Ohtani than the Mariners do. None of those teams are on the west coast, which some Asian players have said in the past they preferred due to faster travel back home. The Mariners, owned for a long time by a Japanese company which still retains a minority interest in the club, and long the home for high-profile Japanese players such as Ichiro and Hisashi Iwakuma, likely have a better media and marketing reach in Japan than most other teams as well, which might be a factor in his decision making process. Is all that enough to sway Ohtani?

We’ll find out over the next couple of weeks.