A’s add Michael Ynoa to 40-man roster despite 39 career innings, none above Single-A

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One of the most interesting 40-man roster additions yesterday was the A’s choosing to protect 21-year-old pitching prospect Michael Ynoa from the Rule 5 draft despite his throwing a grand total of 39.2 career innings and not yet pitching above Single-A.

Ynoa received a then-record $4.25 million bonus when he signed with the A’s out of the Dominican Republic as a 16-year-old in 2008. He was already 6-foot-7 then and considered an excellent prospect with huge upside, but injuries have repeatedly derailed his career.

Ynoa threw a total of nine innings from 2008-2011, missing all of 2011 following Tommy John elbow surgery, but came back this year to throw 31 innings. Of course, those 31 innings came as a 21-year-old in rookie-ball and low Single-A, and Ynoa struggled mightily with a 6.46 ERA and 25/25 K/BB ratio.

Clearly the A’s believed there was at least some chance one of the other 29 teams would take a flier on Ynoa in the Rule 5 draft next month despite a complete lack of experience or success and they didn’t want to lose their $4.25 million investment for nothing. And so in 2013 he’ll be the only player in low Single-A on a 40-man roster.

Anthony Alford to miss 4-6 weeks following wrist surgery

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Blue Jays’ outfielder Anthony Alford will miss at least 4-6 weeks after undergoing surgery on his left wrist, the team announced on Saturday. Alford was placed on the 10-day disabled list earlier in the week after sustaining a left hamate fracture on a foul pitch, and could miss significant time in what looks to be a lengthy rehab process. MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm reports that the procedure has been scheduled for next week and will be performed by Dr. Donald Sheridan in Arizona.

Alford, 22, was called up to the majors from Double-A New Hampshire last Friday. He went hitless in his first three outings, finally catching a break against the Brewers on Tuesday when he pinch-hit a leadoff double in the seventh. The injury occurred two innings later when Alford fouled off a pitch in the ninth inning, fracturing his wrist in the process.

Alford will join eight other players on the Blue Jays’ disabled list, including outfielders Steve Pearce (calf strain), Dalton Pompey (concussion) and Darrell Cecillani (partial shoulder dislocation). He’s expected to be replaced by 24-year-old outfield prospect Dwight Smith Jr.

Stephen Strasburg hit a new career high today

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Good luck getting a hit against the Nationals this weekend. Stephen Strasburg followed Max Scherzer‘s 13-strikeout performance on Friday with a dazzling outing of his own on Saturday afternoon. The right-hander whiffed a career-best 15 batters in seven innings, allowing just three hits and a walk in the Nats’ 3-0 win.

It took Strasburg several innings to get into a groove after pitching into (and out of) a jam in the first inning. The Padres loaded the bases with Allen Cordoba‘s leadoff single, a throwing error by Ryan Zimmerman and a four-pitch walk to Cory Spangenberg. By the third, Strasburg was cruising, striking out the side on 18 pitches and keeping the Padres off the basepaths until the sixth. He recorded his 15th and final strikeout in the seventh inning, catching Padres’ prospect Franchy Cordero swinging on a 1-2 pitch to effectively end his outing.

While 15 strikeouts set a new career record for the Nationals’ ace, he came close to reaching the mark twice before. The first time, he struck out 14 of 24 batters during his major league debut against the 2010 Pirates, though the 5-2 win did little more than keep the Nationals neck-and-neck with the Marlins at the bottom of the NL East. Five years later, he tied his 14-strikeout record against the 2015 Phillies, tossing a one-hitter in eight innings to cement his ninth victory of the season.

The only one who doesn’t seem overly enthused by the new record? Strasburg himself, who told MLB.com’s Jamal Collier and AJ Cassavell: “It’s pretty cool, but there’s another game five, six days from now. I’ll enjoy it tonight, but back to work tomorrow.”