When the Royals traded Melky Cabrera to the Giants for Jonathan Sanchez over the winter, the objective was to give Lorenzo Cain an opportunity to be the regular center fielder. Things haven’t exactly worked out as planned.
While Sanchez was a major bust before being traded to the Rockies for Jeremy Guthrie, Cain just hasn’t been able to stay on the field this season. After missing three months earlier this year with a torn hip flexor, Cain told Dick Kaegel of MLB.com last night that he will miss the rest of the season due to a right hamstring injury.
Cain suffered the injury when he tried to make a diving catch in the 10th inning of Thursday’s loss to the Twins. While it was originally thought to be a minor injury, it turns out that he suffered a Grade 2 strain. The Royals called up Jason Bourgeois from Triple-A Omaha yesterday and he’s expected to be used in a platoon with David Lough in center field down the stretch.
Cain batted .266/.316/.419 with seven home runs, 31 RBI, 10 stolen bases and a .734 OPS in 244 plate appearances this season while playing solid defense, so he has shown enough to open 2013 as the starting center fielder. Top prospect Wil Myers is knocking on the door for a promotion to the big leagues, but the Royals still have right fielder Jeff Francoeur under contract for $6.75 million next season.
Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw entered Wednesday night’s start against the Marlins without having issued a walk in his previous three starts. In fact, his last walk came on April 3 when he issued a free pass to Paul Goldschmidt with the bases empty and two outs in the bottom of the first inning. All told, Kershaw was on a streak of 26 walk-less innings before he took the mound at home to take on the Marlins.
Kershaw started off Wednesday in character, striking out the side in the first inning. He issued a walk in a tough second inning, but escaped without allowing a run. Kershaw walked two more in the third and again danced out of danger. In the fourth, Kershaw walked Lewis Brinson to load the bases with no outs and — you guessed it — didn’t end up allowing a run. His errant control finally came back to bite him in the fifth when Kershaw issued back-to-back two-out walks, then served up a three-run home run to Miguel Rojas down the left field line. His night was done when he completed the inning. Five innings, three runs, five hits, six walks, seven strikeouts, 112 pitches.
The six walks Kershaw issued over five innings marked his first six-walk outing since April 7, 2010 when he issued six free passes to the Pirates in 4 2/3 innings. The only other time he walked as many was on August 3, 2009 against the Brewers in a four-plus inning outing. Kershaw hasn’t even walked five batters in an outing recently — the last time was September 23, 2012 against the Reds.