UPDATE: Niemann and Davis placed on DL with shoulder strains

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UPDATE: After Monday’s game, Wade Davis joined Niemann on the disabled list with a shoulder strain, according to the Tampa Tribune. Jeremy Hellickson was recalled and will start Tuesday’s game.
6:50 PM Niemann was officially placed on the DL prior to Monday’s game, with reliever Mike Eckstrom being called up to take his spot.
6:30 PM: Rays starters Jeff Niemann and Wade Davis were both diagnosed with strains after having their shoulders examined, manager Joe Maddon said after arriving at the ballpark Monday.
Maddon said the team was encouraged by the MRI results of both, and that while DL stints are a possbility, it’s doubtful either would be sidelined for a lengthy period.
Fortunately, the Rays’ impressive starting pitching depth, while unneeded in the first half, should be able to help keep the team in the race. The Rays had Andy Sonnanstine fill in for Niemann on Sunday, and Jeremy Hellickson is expected to be recalled to pitch in place of Davis on Tuesday.
Hellickson, one of the game’s best pitching prospects, beat the Twins in his major league debut by allowing two runs over seven innings last Monday.
The Rays enter Monday night’s game two games back of the Yankees in the AL East. They’re four games up on the Red Sox for the wild card.

Mike Trout has yet to strike out this spring

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Everyone is well aware of how good Angels outfielder Mike Trout is at the game of baseball. The 26-year-old is already an all-time great, having won two MVP awards — and arguably deserving of two others — and the 2012 Rookie of the Year Award. He has accrued 54.2 WAR, per Baseball Reference, which is right around the threshold for a Hall of Fame career. Trout does it all: he draws walks, he hits for average, he hits for power, he steals bases, he plays good defense.

But here’s an achievement that is amazing even for a player like Trout: he has yet to strike out this spring. In 41 Cactus League plate appearances, he has 10 hits (including a triple and two homers) and six walks with zero strikeouts. Across his career, Trout has a 21.5 percent strikeout rate, right around the league average. He isn’t usually such a stickler for avoiding the punch-out, but this spring he is.

To put this in perspective, 134 players this spring have struck out at least 10 times, according to MLB.com. 938 players have struck out at least once. The only other players to have taken at least 10 at-bats without striking out this spring are Humberto Arteaga (Royals, 23 AB), Tony Cruz (Reds, 18 AB), Oscar Hernandez (Red Sox, 10 AB), and Jacob Stallings (Pirates, 18 AB).

According to Angels assistant hitting coach Paul Sorrento, the lack of strikeouts hasn’t been a conscious effort from Trout, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. Ho hum. The best player in baseball is apparently getting even better.