Daisuke Matsuzaka is expected to miss at least a month with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament, which is often a precursor to Tommy John elbow surgery, but manager Terry Francona made it very clear that he doesn’t think Matsuzaka will need to go under the knife:
He’s not going to have surgery. He’s not going to have Tommy John. Some reports aren’t very professional. That’s a shame. It’s a shame that we have to do that.
According to Tim Britton of the Providence Journal the “some reports aren’t very professional” that Francona is referring to comes from SI.com’s Jon Heyman, who wrote yesterday that Matsuzaka “may need Tommy John surgery” and “asked to see a Japanese surgeon.”
Whatever the case, Matsuzaka is scheduled to get a second opinion from Dr. Lewis Yocum, who ranks second to only Dr. James Andrews in terms of exams leading to surgeries. He’s also currently in Japan, although Francona explained that as being for “a personal matter” unrelated to the injury.
The Blue Jays announced on Friday that the club acquired outfielder Randal Grichuk from the Cardinals in exchange for pitcher Dominic Leone and minor league pitcher Conner Greene.
Grichuk, 26, became expendable when the Cardinals acquired Marcell Ozuna from the Marlins. With veteran Dexter Fowler in right field and Tommy Pham — who finished 11th in NL MVP Award balloting last season — in center, Grichuk was effectively pushed to the bench. He will get a shot at regular playing time in an outfield corner with the Jays. Grichuk has had solid numbers since debuting in 2014, but he hasn’t been able to recapture the magic of his 2015 campaign. Last year, he hit .238/.285/.473 with 22 home runs and 59 RBI in 442 plate appearances.
Grichuk will earn $2.8 million this season and will be eligible for arbitration for two more years before becoming a free agent.
Leone, 26, posted an impressive 2.56 ERA with an 81/23 K/BB ratio across 70 1/3 innings last season. The right-hander will earn $1.085 million this season and then will become arbitration-eligible for the next three years. Leone certainly helps bolster the Cardinals’ bullpen and may work his way up to high-leverage innings behind closer Luke Gregerson.
Greene, 22, was selected by the Blue Jays in the seventh round of the 2013 draft. This past season, with Double-A New Hampshire, Greene compiled a 5.29 ERA with a 92/83 K/BB ratio in 132 2/3 innings. He throws hard, but control has been a big issue for the right-hander throughout his minor league career. The Cardinals may think they can help turn him around.