The Dodgers are beginning to get healthier.
According to the team’s official Twitter feed, second baseman Juan Uribe will kick off a minor league rehab assignment on Thursday with the Single-A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes.
Uribe is expected to play two or three games at the Single-A level before possibly returning to the major leagues as early as Sunday afternoon.
Uribe, 32, was batting .220/.293/.333 with three home runs and 20 RBI in 157 plate appearances before landing on the disabled list in late May with a strained left hip flexor. He signed a three-year free agent contract with the Dodgers in November that will pay him $5 million this season, $8 million next season, and $7 million in 2013. He’ll also get another $1 million in deferred money in 2014.
The Reds don’t have an exact plan mapped out yet for the return of hard-throwing setup man Aroldis Chapman, who was eligible to be activated from the 15-day disabled list on Tuesday.
According to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Chapman won’t be called back to the bigs Thursday. And might not be activated Friday either.
The 23-year-old left-hander has surrendered a whopping nine hits and seven earned runs in 4 2/3 innings since beginning a minor league rehab assignment last week at Triple-A Louisville. He’s displayed better command, though, and the Reds’ higher-ups believe he has made progress from a mental standpoint.
“He’s better, a lot better,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said Wednesday. “He’s got to get things together mentally and emotionally.”
It might make sense to give Chapman a few more rehab appearances, but so far none have been scheduled. The Cuban defector was placed on the 15-day disabled list May 16 with inflammation in his left shoulder.
So much for momentum.
The Yankees finished off a sweep in Oakland with their 10th straight victory over the A’s on Wednesday, while the Red Sox lost their third in a row to the White Sox at home, giving the Bombers a two-game lead in the AL East.
The Red Sox, apparently worn out after a four-game series in Detroit that included a day-night doubleheader on Sunday, have lost four in a row to fall back to 30-26 on the season. Before dropping the second game of Sunday’s doubleheader, they had won 13 of 15, a stretch that started when they swept the Yankees in New York on May 13-15.
Boston dropped Wednesday’s game 7-4 after Paul Konerko singled in the go-ahead run in the seventh and put the game away with a two-run homer in the ninth. An apparent bad call by second-base umpire Marty Foster led to a two-run fifth inning for the White Sox, erasing what was a 3-1 lead for the Red Sox at the time.
On that play, Tim Wakefield picked Juan Pierre off first base, with Pierre continuing to second on the throw. In the rundown, Dustin Pedroia appeared to perform a swipe-tag on Pierre for what would have been the third out of the inning. Pedroia reacted as though there was a tag. Pierre reacted as though there was a tag. Foster, though, said no tag and refused to ask for help when the Red Sox argued.
The Yankees have won four in a row after dropping their first two games in Seattle last weekend. Mariano Rivera finally got back into the save column with the 4-2 win on Wednesday. He had gone three weeks without one since saving 13 of the team’s first 33 games. He had just one opportunity during the span, blowing a 1-0 lead in a game against the Orioles on May 18.
Both the Yankees and Red Sox now have Thursday off. The Yankees go to Anaheim to face the Angels on Friday, while the Red Sox will get their chance to take on the A’s in another series at Fenway.
There wasn’t much of a free agent market for Chan Ho Park despite his sold performance down the stretch for the Pirates, so the 38-year-old veteran of 17 MLB seasons headed to Japan and signed with the Orix Buffaloes.
And apparently it isn’t going very well.
Alastair Himmer of Reuters reports that Park was demoted to the minor leagues “after being told to ‘stop fooling around’ and get serious.”
Park had a 4.29 ERA in seven starts, but drew heavy criticism from pitching coach Osamu Fukuma after giving up six runs in his most recent outing. MLB teams learned that Park was much more effective as a reliever, so perhaps Orix will give him a second chance out of the bullpen.
Andrew Bailey, who missed the first two months with a strained forearm, just pitched his second perfect inning in two appearances since coming off the DL, getting two groundouts and a flyout in the ninth inning with the A’s down by two against the Yankees.
Bailey has yet to get a strikeout since returning, but he is throwing his usual 93-94 mph, suggesting that they’ll be coming soon enough. The A’s may give him one or two more appearances in non-save situations first, but it’s clear he’ll resume closing for the team soon.
Brian Fuentes, who closer in Bailey’s absence, is 11-for-13 saving games, though he’s lost seven times and given up 18 runs — 12 earned — in 24 1/3 innings. He’ll move back into a setup role.