How much longer will Cubs keep Tyler Colvin up?

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I was wrong a year ago: I thought the Cubs made a mistake by keeping Tyler Colvin based on his strong spring. Given his lack of plate discipline, I figured he’d be back in the minors by May 1 and I had serious doubts that he’d ever make much of a contribution to the cause.

Colvin, though, made quite an impact as a rookie, collecting 20 homers and driving in 56 runs in 358 at-bats. He did strike out 100 times, but he worked 30 walks. He ended up with more homers, more walks and a higher OPS than he had in 459 at-bats between high-A and Double-A in 2009.

However, Colvin’s success didn’t cause the Cubs to make him a regular as a sophomore. He probably would have been penciled into right field if the team could have found a taker for Kosuke Fukudome’s contract, but that didn’t materialize, and the Cubs decided to sign Carlos Pena rather than turn Colvin into a first baseman.

As a result, the Cubs kept him as a fourth outfielder, figuring he’d get plenty of time in the corners if Alfonso Soriano and Fukudome continued to fail to live up to their contracts.

They probably didn’t anticipate Soriano leading the league in homers or Fukudome maintaining a .456 on-base percentage six weeks into the season. Colvin made 12 starts in April, most of them at Fukudome’s expense, but with his average south of .150, he’s hardly played at all since. He’s made just one start in May, going 0-for-4 with two strikeouts against the Reds on Saturday.

The obvious move now is for the Cubs to demote Colvin, and it’s pretty surprising that they haven’t done so. Colvin is hitting just .115/.194/.262 with two homers in 61 at-bats. He hasn’t made an impact as a pinch-hitter, having gone 1-for-8. Since the Cubs have Jeff Baker and Reed Johnson to serve as backup outfielders, they’d be just fine there without him.

So, getting Colvin at least two or three weeks of regular at-bats in Triple-A looks like a no-brainer. It’s just odd that it hasn’t happened already.

Anthony Alford to miss 4-6 weeks following wrist surgery

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Blue Jays’ outfielder Anthony Alford will miss at least 4-6 weeks after undergoing surgery on his left wrist, the team announced on Saturday. Alford was placed on the 10-day disabled list earlier in the week after sustaining a left hamate fracture on a foul pitch, and could miss significant time in what looks to be a lengthy rehab process. MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm reports that the procedure has been scheduled for next week and will be performed by Dr. Donald Sheridan in Arizona.

Alford, 22, was called up to the majors from Double-A New Hampshire last Friday. He went hitless in his first three outings, finally catching a break against the Brewers on Tuesday when he pinch-hit a leadoff double in the seventh. The injury occurred two innings later when Alford fouled off a pitch in the ninth inning, fracturing his wrist in the process.

Alford will join eight other players on the Blue Jays’ disabled list, including outfielders Steve Pearce (calf strain), Dalton Pompey (concussion) and Darrell Cecillani (partial shoulder dislocation). He’s expected to be replaced by 24-year-old outfield prospect Dwight Smith Jr.

Stephen Strasburg hit a new career high today

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Good luck getting a hit against the Nationals this weekend. Stephen Strasburg followed Max Scherzer‘s 13-strikeout performance on Friday with a dazzling outing of his own on Saturday afternoon. The right-hander whiffed a career-best 15 batters in seven innings, allowing just three hits and a walk in the Nats’ 3-0 win.

It took Strasburg several innings to get into a groove after pitching into (and out of) a jam in the first inning. The Padres loaded the bases with Allen Cordoba‘s leadoff single, a throwing error by Ryan Zimmerman and a four-pitch walk to Cory Spangenberg. By the third, Strasburg was cruising, striking out the side on 18 pitches and keeping the Padres off the basepaths until the sixth. He recorded his 15th and final strikeout in the seventh inning, catching Padres’ prospect Franchy Cordero swinging on a 1-2 pitch to effectively end his outing.

While 15 strikeouts set a new career record for the Nationals’ ace, he came close to reaching the mark twice before. The first time, he struck out 14 of 24 batters during his major league debut against the 2010 Pirates, though the 5-2 win did little more than keep the Nationals neck-and-neck with the Marlins at the bottom of the NL East. Five years later, he tied his 14-strikeout record against the 2015 Phillies, tossing a one-hitter in eight innings to cement his ninth victory of the season.

The only one who doesn’t seem overly enthused by the new record? Strasburg himself, who told MLB.com’s Jamal Collier and AJ Cassavell: “It’s pretty cool, but there’s another game five, six days from now. I’ll enjoy it tonight, but back to work tomorrow.”