Giancarlo Stanton’s sore right knee failed its test Saturday when he was returned to Miami’s lineup, so he’ll undergo surgery to remove bone chips Sunday or Monday.
Manager Ozzie Guillen said he expected Stanton to miss 4-6 weeks, but players have occasionally returned from such surgeries after two or three weeks. The Marlins will have a better idea about Stanton’s timetable following the procedure.
Stanton’s loss is a big one for Miami, but the team is expected to get Emilio Bonifacio back after the All-Star break. His return to center field will allow the team to put the surprisingly productive Justin Ruggiano in right field. The team could also give Chris Coghlan another look. He’s hitting .333/.458/.487 in his last 10 games for Triple-A New Orleans.
The National League has announced that 19-year-old Bryce Harper will replace Stanton on the NL roster in the All-Star Game in Kansas City. Assuming Ryan Braun is still out, Jay Bruce would seem to be the obvious choice to step into Stanton’s Home Run Derby spot.
Long-time rotation mainstay Tom Koehler was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans on Monday and reliever Hunter Cervenka was recalled, the Marlins announced.
Koehler, 31, made 131 starts out of the Marlins’ rotation over the last five years, but his 12 this season have not been good, so the club hopes he can figure things out with a stint in the minors. He’s carrying a 7.92 ERA with a 44/29 K/BB ratio in 55 2/3 innings. Koehler battled bursitis in his right shoulder in May and June, which may partially explain his struggles.
Cervenka, 27, posted a 4.50 ERA with a 34/21 K/BB ratio in 34 innings of relief with New Orleans. He hasn’t pitched in the majors yet this season, but compiled a 3.53 ERA over 43 1/3 innings in the bigs last year in the Marlins’ bullpen.
At the trade deadline, relief pitching is the name of the game and one of the names clearly available is Pat Neshek. Today Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reports that the Nationals, Dodgers, and Red Sox are among the clubs who are closely scouting the Phillies reliever. Last week Ken Rosenthal reported that the Brewers and Rays were involved as well.
Neshek is an impending free agent, so he may come cheaper than Justin Wilson or some of the other bullpen arms available right now. The All-Star is 36 and is posting a fantastic season, featuring a 1.12 ERA and 45/5 K/BB ratio over 40.1 innings this season.