Washington has been linked to just about every veteran first baseman on the market this offseason, so not surprisingly Bill Ladson of MLB.com reports that the Nationals “have expressed interest in Derrek Lee.”
Lee is 35 years old and coming off his worst season since 1998, hitting .260/.347/.428 with 19 homers in 148 games for the Cubs and Braves, but he played nearly the entire time with a thumb injury that eventually required surgery and had posted an OPS above .800 for 10 straight seasons.
Ladson adds that the Nationals “are still in the mix for Adam LaRoche” and they’ve been linked to him throughout the offseason, so it’s unclear which first baseman is atop their wish list.
Josh Willingham is already on the roster and the Nationals could seemingly just plug him in at first base, but general manager Mike Rizzo has made it very clear he doesn’t view that as a viable option and Willingham is likely to be traded eventually.
The Diamondbacks announced on Monday that starter Shelby Miller has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with right elbow inflammation. Miller will get a second opinion on his elbow on Tuesday, per MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert. Pitcher Silvino Bracho has been called up from Triple-A Reno to take Miller’s spot on the roster.
Miller, 26, left Sunday’s start with what was described at the time as forearm tightness. Through his first four starts, Miller is carrying a 4.09 ERA with a 20/12 K/BB ratio in 22 innings.
Bracho, 24, has pitched quite well in 6 2/3 innings of relief at Reno. He’s given up just one unearned run on four hits and a walk (intentional) with 12 strikeouts.
Archie Bradley figures to take Miller’s spot in the starting rotation as Bracho will work middle relief.
And John Lackey is livid.
The Brewers’ first baseman homered in each of his first two plate appearances against Reds starter Amir Garrett on Monday evening, helping his team to a 6-1 lead after two frames. The first was a solo blast in the first inning, and the second was a two-run shot to the opposite field in the second inning.
According to MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, Thames has tied the Brewers’ record for home runs in April with 10. Carlos Lee also hit 10 homers in April 2006.
Seven of Thames’ 10 home runs have come against the Reds. Including his first two at-bats on Monday night, Thames is hitting .379/.474/.924 with 17 RBI along with the 10 dingers. Not too shabby from a guy the Brewers signed to a three-year, $16 million contract during the offseason.
Lackey and Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio both recently implied Thames is using performance-enhancing drugs, but Thames was tested immediately after last Monday’s game against the Cubs.