A’s center fielder Yoenis Cespedes hasn’t played since Sunday, isn’t in the lineup Wednesday night, and might be out for a couple more games.
According to Jane Lee of MLB.com, the 26-year-old Cuban has been diagnosed with a strained muscle in the back of his left hand. X-rays and an MRI taken Wednesday morning ruled out a fracture, but the Athletics have listed him as “day-to-day” and are going to take it easy with him this week.
Cespedes is batting .245/.319/.434 with five home runs, four stolen bases and 21 RBI through the first 119 plate appearances of his major league career. He signed a four-year, $36 million contract this winter.
From MLB.com’s Britt Ghiroli comes word that the Orioles have scratched Jason Hammel from his scheduled Thursday start against the Rangers with what is being termed “right knee soreness.”
An MRI taken Wednesday on Hammel’s knee revealed only inflammation and fluid buildup — with no structural damage. So the Orioles are confident that he’ll be able to avoid the 15-day disabled list.
A replacement for Thursday hasn’t been named.
Hammel, 29, has posted a fantastic 2.09 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and 38/11 K/BB ratio through 38 2/3 innings this year. Baltimore enters Wednesday night’s action with a 19-11 record, which is tied for first in the AL East.
Averaging a cool 99.1 mph with his fastball, Royals reliever Kelvin Herrera has taken over as the league’s hardest thrower since being called up last month.
Here’s the top 10, according to Fangraphs data:
99.1 – Herrera
98.6 – Andrew Cashner (Padres)
98.4 – Henry Rodriguez (Nationals)
96.8 – Nate Jones (White Sox)
96.8 – Alexi Ogando (Rangers)
96.7 – Pedro Strop (Orioles)
96.4 – Aroldis Chapman (Reds)
96.3 – Jason Motte (Cardinals)
96.0 – Esmil Rogers (Rockies)
96.0 – Craig Kimbrel (Braves)
The top starter on the list is Stephen Strasburg at 95.7. Obviously, Strasburg and a few other starters could average in the high-90s for an inning like some of these relievers, but they have to pace themselves to go six or seven innings.
Herrera, a 22-year-old righty out of the Dominincan Republic, generates his big velocity despite standing just 5-foot-10. He has a 3.31 ERA and a 15/3 K/BB ratio in 16 1/3 innings since joining the Royals.
Interesting is that, to this point anyway, Herrera has used his fastball less than any other pitcher on this list, throwing it just 55 percent of the time. Cashner and Rodriguez are both over 70 percent fastballs. Chapman throws his 84 percent of the time.