UPDATE: According to Mark Sheldon of MLB.com, Bronson Arroyo has been diagnosed with mononucleosis. A number of players have missed considerable time with the illness — Jed Lowrie is one recent example — but Arroyo told Sheldon via text message that he does not expect to miss any starts. We’ll see about that one.
2:12 PM: Bronson Arroyo felt good enough to throw 87 pitches in yesterday’s start, but John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that he has “a lingering cough” and underwent blood tests to check for valley fever.
Here’s the definition of valley fever from WebMD.com:
A disease also called coccidioidomycosis due to a fungus called Coccidioides immitis. About 40 percent of people infected with this fungus develop symptoms. Most often they have an influenza-like illness with fever, cough, headaches, rash, and myalgias (muscle pains).
That may not sound particularly worrisome, but valley fever is what caused Conor Jackson to miss nearly all of 2009 while playing for the Diamondbacks and questions about his health lingered into 2010. It can definitely be a very serious thing, but Arroyo told Fay that he expects to make his April 3 start and “they just want to get me on the right medication.”
The ALCS had a weird play in Game 4 on Tuesday night, but Game 4 of the NLCS did as well. This one involved Cubs outfielder Albert Almora, Jr. and his attempt to spark a rally in the bottom of the ninth inning against Dodgers reliever Ross Stripling.
After Alex Avila singled, Almora ripped a double to left field, past a diving Enrique Hernandez. The ball rolled to the ivy in front of the wall. Most outfielders there would’ve put their hands up, which would have alerted the umpires to call an immediate ground-rule double. Hernandez didn’t, instead fishing the ball out and firing it back into the infield. Avila had stopped at third base, but Almora kept running. Much to his surprise, he pulled up into third base to see his teammate standing there, resigned to his fate as a dead duck. Third baseman Justin Turner applied the tag on Almora for what he thought was the first out of the inning.
Almora, however, was then sent back to second base after the umpires correctly called a ground-rule double.
Unfortunately for the Cubs, the lucky break didn’t help as closer Kenley Jansen came in and took care of business, retiring all three batters he faced without letting an inherited runner score. The Dodgers won 6-1 and now lead the NLCS three games to none. They’ll try to punch their ticket to the World Series on Wednesday.