Guzman not at full strength after shoulder surgery

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I tuned into yesterday afternoon’s Nationals-Tigers game just to see Stephen Strasburg’s spring training debut, but also got a look at Cristian Guzman’s surgically repaired right shoulder as he lobbed a weak, high-arcing throw to first base after fielding a Strasburg-induced grounder.
Even before the injury Guzman was pretty lax with his throws to first base, dating all the way back to his time with the Twins from 1999-2004, but yesterday’s effort looked like it had a parachute attached and sure enough today manager Jim Riggleman told Ben Goessling of MASNSports.com that the shortstop “is a little concerned to air it out.”
Riggleman estimated that Guzman’s shoulder is “probably at about 90 percent” strength, which if true should worry the Nationals quite a bit because adding 10 percent to yesterday’s throws still equals a whole lot of infield hits.
Shortstop prospect Ian Desmond has been impressive early in camp, but Goessling notes that Guzman likely isn’t in any danger of losing his starting job. Instead the Nationals have been giving Desmond reps as a right fielder in addition to moving him around the infield. Desmond may begin the year as a utility man, but there’s a strong chance he’ll have unseated Guzman or second baseman Adam Kennedy by midseason.

Dallas Keuchel is unlikely to return before the All-Star break

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Astros’ left-hander Dallas Keuchel might not return to the rotation before the All-Star break, Houston manager A.J. Hinch told reporters prior to Sunday’s game. The club placed their star southpaw on the 10-day disabled list on June 8, retroactive to June 5, after a nerve issue was revealed in his neck.

Keuchel has taken a conservative approach to his recovery over the last several weeks, and while he appears to have made some progress, still has yet to throw off the mound. The injury interrupted the start of an outstanding run with the Astros, during which the 29-year-old lefty furnished a 9-0 record with a 1.67 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 through his first 75 2/3 innings of 2017.

According to Hinch, it’s certainly possible that Keuchel could return to the team sometime within the next two weeks, but it’s clear that the team would prefer to play it extra safe with their ace. Even assuming that he feels ready to reclaim his spot on the Astros’ pitching staff, he still needs to complete a few key activities before competing in another game — like throwing off a mound, for example. In the meantime, Lance McCullers Jr. will continue to head Houston’s rotation as they try to build on their 12.5-game lead in the AL West.

 

Hinch’s full comments are below:

The Mets are promoting Tim Tebow to Single-A St. Lucie

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Mets GM Sandy Alderson told the media on Sunday that the organization is promoting outfielder Tim Tebow from Single-A Columbia to advanced Single-A St. Lucie, MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo reports.

Tebow, 29, wasn’t hitting particularly well to merit the promotion. Across 241 plate appearances with Columbia, he hit .222/.311/.340 with three home runs and 22 RBI. He had just seven extra-base hits (all doubles) in his most recent 20 games. Alderson, however, defended the decision by citing Tebow’s exit velocity and other metrics.

I think we can all agree that the real reason is that promoting Tebow creates another opportunity for the Mets to sell merchandise with his name on it.

One has to feel for the outfielder Tebow will displace. St. Lucie’s regular outfielders have comparable stats to Tebow’s, so they aren’t exactly being replaced on merit. That outfielder will see less playing time, hurting his future prospects. Adding Tebow to St. Lucie’s roster will push someone off of the roster, which will also harm that player’s future prospects. And, remember, these players don’t make much money to begin with.