The Mariners announced earlier this evening that they have activated Justin Smoak from the disabled list. He’ll serve as the designated hitter and bat fifth tonight against the Athletics.
Smoak has been sidelined since suffering a broken nose on a bad hop grounder while playing first base on August 12. He went 0-for-11 with three walks over four games during a minor league rehab assignment with Triple-A Tacoma, but the important part is that he is feeling 100 percent. According to Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times, the switch-hitter will have a plastic flap covering the left side of his face when he hits right-handed.
Smoak, 21, is batting just .220/.317/.387 with 12 home runs, 44 RBI and a .704 OPS over 410 plate appearances this season, including a .175 batting average and zero homers since the All-Star break.
It’s never fun to break your nose, but the silver lining is that Smoak was given some extra time to rest a thumb injury which was likely affecting his production at the plate. He now has an opportunity to finish the season on a high note.
Yankees outfielder Aaron Hicks left Sunday’s game against the Rangers after four innings due to soreness in his right oblique. After the game, Hicks said he expects to go on the 10-day disabled list and miss the next three to four weeks, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reports.
Hicks was 1-for-2 with a single before departing on Sunday. He entered the game batting .288/.397/.515 with 10 home runs and 37 RBI in 198 plate appearances. It is by far the best season of his career.
Jacoby Ellsbury is on his way back from a concussion, so the Yankees will only have to bridge the gap in center field for a week or two. Mason Williams could draw some starts in center field in the meantime.
Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports that the Phillies are making third baseman Maikel Franco “more than available” in trade discussions.
Franco, 24, is having an abysmal season after showing promise in 2015 and ’16. Through 289 plate appearances, he’s hitting .221/.280/.365 with nine home runs and 37 RBI. His hitting has tanked and his already below-average defense hasn’t shown any improvement.
It’s a bit surprising that the Phillies would be so eager to move Franco with his value about as low as it can go. Franco is also under control of the rebuilding Phillies through the 2021 season, so the team doesn’t have to rush into moving him. He will become eligible for arbitration for the first time after the season.
Furthermore, the Phillies don’t have an immediate replacement for Franco at third base. Andres Blanco would likely get everyday starts at the hot corner in the short-term, but as far as prospects go, there are no third baseman banging down the door. If the Phillies were to trade Franco, it would likely have to be in return for a young, talented third baseman who will be under team control for several more years.