Nick Markakis is still at least three weeks away from returning from thumb surgery, but the Orioles could get one of their best starting pitchers back as soon as this weekend.
According to Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com, Jason Hammel threw 73 pitches over five innings today during a simulated game in Sarasota, Florida. He also fielded his position without incident. Barring any setbacks, he could be available to start in a possible ALDS game on Saturday.
Hammel has been sidelined since he aggravated his surgically-repaired right knee on September 11. The 29-year-old right-hander has a 3.43 ERA and 113/42 K/BB ratio in 118 innings over 20 starts this year.
In another piece of good news for the O’s, Wilson Betemit had the splint removed from his right wrist and could begin swinging a bat within 5-7 days.
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Matt Gelb, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel spontaneously decided to address his team’s leadoff situation on Monday afternoon.
“A month ago when we’re talking about getting [Michael] Bourn for a leadoff hitter, [Jimmy] Rollins got more production,” Manuel said. “Bourn might have a little higher average, but Rollins has more production. So which one would you rather have in your leadoff hole?”
Well, let’s see. Bourn is hitting .276/.348/.394 with 40 steals in 52 attempts this season. Rollins is hitting .250/.316/.427 with 30 steals in 35 attempts.
Personally, I think I’d choose Bourn despite the extra outs on the basepaths. But Manuel is right; Rollins has been about as effective in the leadoff spot this year. Largely because he has 23 homers to Bourn’s nine. But it also helps that he’s topped his previous career high with 62 walks.
Also, for what it’s worth, Rollins has scored 102 of the Phillies’ 679 runs this year. Bourn has scored 96 of the Braves’ 694 runs.
But the real question here is why does it need to be either/or? The Phillies might not be better off with Bourn instead of Rollins, but they’d certainly be better off with Bourn and Rollins. Rollins is still a great basestealer, but the rest of his line screams No. 5 or No. 6 hitter. He could still be pretty valuable batting behind Ryan Howard in the Phillies’ order.
I’ve already gone on record as saying Bourn shouldn’t be the Phillies’ top target in free agency this winter. But already having a leadoff man shouldn’t be a justification for not pursuing him.
Brett Anderson missed his two final scheduled regular-season starts because of a strained oblique, but after throwing a bullpen session Monday, he said he believes he’ll be ready to pitch Friday should the A’s have need of him, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
The A’s would play their wild card game Friday if they win one or two of their final three regular-season games against the Rangers. If they sweep Texas, then they’d win the AL West and avoid the wild card. If they get swept, then they might face a potential play-in game against the Angels or Rays for the wild card.
Oakland’s projected Friday starter is Tommy Milone. He had a bit of an off day Sunday against the Mariners, but he still finished the regular season 13-10 with a 3.74 ERA. Not having pitched in a couple of weeks, Anderson might be a more realistic option as a reliever in that game should the need arise.
Still, the A’s have to be thrilled that Anderson has progressed without a setback. Without him, they’d be slated to start rookie pitchers for the entirety of their postseason run. Anderson has only made a handful of starts since returning from Tommy John surgery, so he’s hardly a sure thing. However, he had a very impressive 1.93 ERA in his first five outings before injuring his oblique in his sixth.
Whatever odds Nick Markakis had of playing for the Orioles again this season took a hit today, as the team announced that he won’t have the pin removed from his fractured thumb as hoped.
Instead that will have to wait another week, which likely means Markakis is at least three weeks from potentially seeing game action.
Baltimore making a deep playoff run could make a Markakis return possible, but even that would assume no further setbacks and a seamless return from a pretty serious injury.
Markakis fractured his thumb being hit by a CC Sabathia pitch on September 8 and the Orioles have recently turned to Chris Davis as their primary right fielder in his absence, with Jim Thome taking over as designated hitter.
If a guy wins a World Series, has his team in contention year-in, year-out and never has any kind of nonsense or funny business in the clubhouse, you figure that his job is secure, right? Well, when the guy is Joe Girardi and it’s New York, some folks figure that’s not the case, and actually ask the owner of the team if someone is going to get fired pending the these final three games of the season:
Even with the New York Yankees having relinquished a 10-game lead in the AL East, Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner said manager Joe Girardi’s job, nor anyone else’s, is in danger.
“Jobs are not riding on this,” Steinbrenner said, speaking to a small group of reporters in the corridors of Yankee Stadium.
Steinbrenner said the team examines everything in the offseason, but he seemed to be satisfied with Girardi and all of the Yankees’ personnel.
I guess some folks are still feeling PTSD from The Boss. Even though the last time he fired a manager out of pique was, at best, 16 years before he died.