John Mayberry Jr. likely starting in left field for Game 3 of NLDS

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According to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel confirmed that John Mayberry Jr. will likely start in left field for Game 3 of the NLDS against the Cardinals tomorrow, leaving Raul Ibanez on the bench.

This isn’t a huge surprise given that the Phillies will be facing left-hander Jaime Garcia. Mayberry batted .306/.358/.595 with eight homers and .953 OPS over 120 plate appearances against southpaws this season while the veteran Ibanez batted just .211/.232/.353 with four homers and a .585 OPS over 138 plate appearances.

Much has been made of Garcia’s success over a handful of appearances against the Phillies during his career, but more important may be his dramatic home-away splits. The 25-year-old left-hander has a 2.37 ERA in his career at Busch Stadium compared to a 4.28 ERA on the road.

Report: Shohei Ohtani has sprained UCL in pitching elbow

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The Angels signed Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani for a $2.3 million signing bonus last weekend. They may have damaged goods on their hands. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that Ohtani underwent a physical that revealed a first-degree sprain of his ulnar collateral ligament. As a result, he got a platelet-rich plasma injection on October 20. This was made known to teams after Ohtani entered MLB’s posting system, so it wasn’t like the Angels went into this blind.

Ohtani’s report said, “Although partial damage of UCL in deep layer of his right UCL exists, he is able to continue full baseball participation with sufficient elbow care program.” It also said Ohtani “will most likely be available to start his throwing program approximately a month from the PRP.”

Passan notes that the report also mentioned that a “small free body” floats in Ohtani’s elbow near his UCL.

Ohtani isn’t without other injuries. He battled hamstring and ankle issues throughout 2017 and underwent right ankle surgery back in October. Thankfully for the Angels, this diagnosis is about as good as it could be considering the circumstances. However, if Ohtani does exacerbate his UCL issue, he may ultimately need Tommy John surgery at some point, which would take him out of action for at least a year.