Troy Tulowitzki hasn’t played a game for the Rockies since May 30, but we heard last week that he was hoping to make his return from groin surgery for the final series of the regular season this week against the Diamondbacks. Not anymore.
Troy Renck of the Denver Post reports that Tulowitzki is now expected to finish his season in the instructional league rather than rejoin the Rockies. He played six innings at shortstop today and even hit a home run. Even though he won’t play in one of the final two regular season games, he should still go into the offseason with some peace of mind.
Tulowitzki, who turns 28 next week, batted .287/.360/.486 with eight home runs, 27 RBI and an .846 OPS in 47 games played this year. He’s still guaranteed $144 million on the massive 10-year, $157.75 million extension he signed with the Rockies last year.
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.