It took six months, but James Loney is finally hitting.
Actually, maybe all it took was for the Dodgers to have him warm up in the bullpen as an emergency pitching option. Since that happened on August 21 he’s 18-for-35 (.514) with four homers and five doubles, which is pretty amazing considering Loney hit .254 with a grand total of five homers in the 123 previous games.
Loney’s overall numbers remain terrible for a first baseman, as his OPS is a career-low .709 and he’s managed just 28 extra-base hits and 32 walks in 471 plate appearances.
He’s on track to finish with a sub-.400 slugging percentage for the third straight season and if the Dodgers are smart they won’t let any late-season hot streaks talk them into keeping Loney around for another year. If he isn’t non-tendered Loney will make at least $5 million in 2012 via arbitration.
The Diamondbacks announced on Monday that starter Shelby Miller has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with right elbow inflammation. Miller will get a second opinion on his elbow on Tuesday, per MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert. Pitcher Silvino Bracho has been called up from Triple-A Reno to take Miller’s spot on the roster.
Miller, 26, left Sunday’s start with what was described at the time as forearm tightness. Through his first four starts, Miller is carrying a 4.09 ERA with a 20/12 K/BB ratio in 22 innings.
Bracho, 24, has pitched quite well in 6 2/3 innings of relief at Reno. He’s given up just one unearned run on four hits and a walk (intentional) with 12 strikeouts.
Archie Bradley figures to take Miller’s spot in the starting rotation as Bracho will work middle relief.
And John Lackey is livid.
The Brewers’ first baseman homered in each of his first two plate appearances against Reds starter Amir Garrett on Monday evening, helping his team to a 6-1 lead after two frames. The first was a solo blast in the first inning, and the second was a two-run shot to the opposite field in the second inning.
According to MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, Thames has tied the Brewers’ record for home runs in April with 10. Carlos Lee also hit 10 homers in April 2006.
Seven of Thames’ 10 home runs have come against the Reds. Including his first two at-bats on Monday night, Thames is hitting .379/.474/.924 with 17 RBI along with the 10 dingers. Not too shabby from a guy the Brewers signed to a three-year, $16 million contract during the offseason.
Lackey and Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio both recently implied Thames is using performance-enhancing drugs, but Thames was tested immediately after last Monday’s game against the Cubs.