The Brewers will already be without Zack Greinke for the first couple weeks of the 2011 season because of a fractured rib. Might another one of their top starters be on the sidelines for Opening Day?
According to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, right-hander Shaun Marcum was pulled after just three innings Thursday against the White Sox due to tightness in his throwing shoulder. Marcum was supposed to throw 75 pitches, but he fell well short of that goal.
The 29-year-old former Blue Jay told Haudricourt and the other reporters in Brewers camp that he doesn’t anticipate missing his next start and that he would have continued had it been a regular season outing:
“We don’t want to push it and take a chance of doing something stupid,” said Marcum. “We thought it would be best to come out now and go about it that route. It felt good the first two innings and in between the second and third it started tightening up. We just decided it would be in the best interest to not go back out. If this is regular season, especially August or September, I’m pitching through it and not saying a word.”
For now we have to take Marcum at his word, but ESPN’s Buster Olney heard from Brewers manager Ron Roenicke that the organization is at least somewhat concerned that this could be a lingering issue.
Facing an elimination number of one, the Astros staved off elimination in the AL West by beating the Diamondbacks on Friday night by a 6-1 margin. The Rangers suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Angels on Saturday afternoon, which temporarily put the Astros’ fate in their own hands.
Colby Rasmus hit a pair of solo homers and Jose Altuve added a solo shot of his own. Starter Collin McHugh tossed seven innings of one-run ball, limiting the Diamondbacks to six hits and a walk with six strikeouts. Reliever Will Harris allowed a solo home run to Paul Goldschmidt in the eighth, but Luke Gregerson closed out the game with a scoreless ninth.
The Astros trail the Rangers by one game in the AL West and lead the Angels by one game for the second AL Wild Card slot. The Rangers can clinch the AL West on Sunday afternoon with a win or an Astros loss. The Astros can clinch the second AL Wild Card on Sunday afternoon with a win or an Angels loss.
The Yankees lost both ends of Saturday’s doubleheader against the Orioles and lead the Astros by only one game for the first AL Wild Card slot.
If the Astros win and the Rangers lose on Sunday, they will play an AL West tiebreaker in Texas. The winner will win the second AL Wild Card if the Yankees win on Sunday, or the first AL Wild Card if the Yankees lose on Sunday.
If the Astros lose and the Angels win on Sunday, the two teams will be tied for the second AL Wild Card. They would play a tiebreaker in Houston, and the winner would play the Yankees in New York in the Wild Card game.
Giants second baseman Kelby Tomlinson looked more like Ladainian Tomlinson the way he was running during Saturday afternoon’s game against the Rockies. In the first inning with one out against starter Chris Rusin, Tomlinson hit a fly ball into the right-center field gap at AT&T Park, a great place to go if you’re in the mood for an inside-the-park home run.
Neither Carlos Gonzalez nor Chris Dickerson could corral the ball before it rolled all the way to the 421-foot marker at the fence. Tomlinson motored around the bases, but Gonzalez made a strong throw into cut-off man D.J. LeMahieu, and LeMahieu made a great throw in to catcher Tom Murphy, but Tomlinson slid in safely just ahead of the tag.
It was an exciting play and the hit proved important as the Giants eked out a 3-2 win against the Rockies.