Cardinals place Felipe Lopez on DL with elbow injury

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Felipe Lopez pitching.jpgThe Cardinals have placed infielder Felipe Lopez on the 15-day disabled list with a Grade 1 strain of his right elbow, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Lopez had been sidelined since last week due to discomfort in the elbow, but it’s amazing how much this has flown under the radar considering that he threw 21 pitches in the 20-inning marathon against the Mets last Saturday.

It’s only natural that some will assume there’s some sort of connection between the two, but Tony La Russa tells Goold that he doesn’t believe that’s the case.

“I don’t think so,” La Russa said. “If you looked at his throws (from the
mound) they were less stressful than from shortstop or third base.

In fact, according to what LaRussa told Matthew Leach of MLB.com, Lopez felt discomfort in his elbow as early as April 11 — nearly a week before he pitched against the Mets — but he didn’t notify the team about the problem until two days later.

I really want to hop on my soapbox and call Lopez a bonehead here — remember, he even threw a couple curveballs on the bad elbow, as entertaining as it was — but it’s really hard to say that whatever soreness or discomfort he was feeling on April 11 didn’t feel any different than normal soreness that a player deals with throughout the course of a season. It’s a fine line. So while I won’t call Lopez a reckless jerk here, you can bet that La Russa will think twice — or at least ask the proper questions — before allowing a position player to pitch again.

Jose Bautista is starting at third base for the first time in over four years

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Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista is getting a rare start at third base today. How rare is it? Sportsnet’s Hazel Mae notes that he last started at third base on April 14, 2013 against the Royals.

Bautista has played some third base already this year. On April 27 against the Cardinals, Bautista pinch-hit for third baseman Chris Coghlan and stayed in the game at the position. Last Saturday, Bautista moved from right field to third base as part of a handful of defensive switches. Overall, he’s played four defensive innings at the hot corner this season.

The Blue Jays have had to get creative at third base while Josh Donaldson has dealt with a calf injury. Darwin Barney and Chris Coghlan have drawn most of the starts at third base, but catcher Russell Martin started there on Sunday and tonight we’ll see Bautista there.

Braves’ bullpen hasn’t allowed a hit to last 54 batters, setting franchise record

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The Braves announced on Tuesday, citing Elias Sports, that the bullpen set a franchise record, preventing the last 54 batters faced from getting a hit.

The last reliever to allow a hit was Josh Collmenter to the first batter he faced against the Blue Jays last Thursday. Since then, the bullpen has logged 15 1/3 scoreless, hitless innings with a 10/4 K/BB ratio. Here are the logs since Collmenter gave up that hit.

Date Opp. Pitcher BF IP H R ER BB SO
May 18 vs. TOR Josh Collmenter 7 2.0 0 0 0 1 1
May 18 vs. TOR Ian Krol 4 1.0 0 0 0 1 1
May 19 vs. WAS Jason Motte 2 0.2 0 0 0 0 0
May 19 vs. WAS Jose Ramirez 3 1.0 0 0 0 0 0
May 19 vs. WAS Arodys Vizcaino 3 1.0 0 0 0 0 2
May 19 vs. WAS Jim Johnson 3 1.0 0 0 0 0 0
May 20 vs. WAS Ian Krol 2 0.2 0 0 0 0 1
May 20 vs. WAS Jason Motte 4 1.0 0 0 0 1 0
May 20 vs. WAS Jose Ramirez 3 1.0 0 0 0 0 1
May 20 vs. WAS Arodys Vizcaino 3 1.0 0 0 0 0 0
May 20 vs. WAS Jim Johnson 3 1.0 0 0 0 0 0
May 21 vs. WAS Luke Jackson 3 1.0 0 0 0 0 1
May 22 vs. PIT Jason Motte 3 1.0 0 0 0 0 2
May 22 vs. PIT Jose Ramirez 3 1.0 0 0 0 0 0
May 22 vs. PIT Arodys Vizcaino 4 1.0 0 0 0 1 1
May 22 vs. PIT Jim Johnson 4 1.0 0 0 0 0 0
TOTAL 54 15.1 0 0 0 4 10

Despite the hot streak lately, the Braves’ bullpen still ranks in the middle of the pack in ERA at 4.07. Its 21.3 percent strikeout rate ranks 18th out of 30 teams and its 8.6 percent walk rate is ninth.