Kyuji Fujikawa’s first stint as the Cubs’ closer didn’t last long due to a right forearm strain, but he could get another chance soon.
Carrie Muskat of MLB.com reports that Fujikawa threw 32 pitches in a bullpen session today, his second since he was placed on the disabled list earlier this month. While Cubs manager Dale Sveum told Bruce Miles of the Daily Herald that he didn’t look particularly “crisp,” he’s scheduled to throw another bullpen session Thursday and should begin a minor league rehab assignment Sunday with Triple-A Iowa. He’ll likely need a few appearances before he’s cleared to rejoin the Cubs’ bullpen.
Fujikawa, who came over from Japan this winter on a two-year, $9.5 million contract, allowed six runs on eight hits and one walk over 4 1/3 innings prior to the injury. The Cubs have relied on a closer-by-committee during his absence, with the dynamic duo of Kevin Gregg and Carlos Marmol notching saves in the past week.
Troy Tulowitzki is out of tonight’s lineup against the Dodgers after he suffered a left shoulder strain yesterday on an awkward slide into home plate.
While it was easy to think the worst given Tulowitzki’s lengthy injury history, fortunately this injury appears to be minor. According to Troy Renck of the Denver Post writes that the 28-year-old shortstop is “doing well” and might hit today. Assuming he doesn’t feel any lingering pain, he could return to the lineup as soon as tomorrow or Wednesday.
Tulowitzki is hitting .308/.394/.603 with six home runs, 22 RBI and a .996 OPS over 24 games this season for the surprising Rockies. He was limited to just 47 games last season due to a groin injury and hasn’t played more than 143 games in a season since 2009.
Johnny Cueto hasn’t pitched since April 13 due to a strained right lat muscle, but he could be days away from beginning a minor league rehab assignment.
Mark Sheldon of MLB.com reports that Cueto had no issues during a 45-pitch bullpen session this afternoon. It was his second time throwing off a mound since he was placed on the disabled list.
“It was pretty good, no pain,” Cueto said. “I threw my breaking ball, everything.”
Good news for the Reds. It’s not clear what the next step will be, but Cueto told Sheldon that a minor league game is a possibility.
Tony Cingrani has thrived as Cueto’s replacement, compiling a 1.50 ERA and 28/4 K/BB ratio in 18 innings across his first three major league starts. Needless to say, Mike Leake’s rotation spot could soon be in jeopardy.
Forced to try something new with their starters putting way too much pressure on their bullpen, the Astros dropped Brad Peacock from the rotation on Monday.
No replacement was immediately announced by the team, which lost four straight in Boston this weekend to drop to 7-18.
Peacock, who was part of the Jed Lowrie-Chris Carter deal with the A’s in the offseason, had a 6.01 ERA in Triple-A last year, so his struggles don’t come as much of a surprise. He was 1-3 with an 8.44 ERA in five starts this season. He gave up five runs and walked five in 3 1/3 innings Saturday in a loss to the Red Sox.
Unfortunately for the Astros, that 8.44 ERA didn’t make Peacock the only obvious choice for demotion. While Lucas Harrell and Bud Norris have both been solid in posting ERAs in the low-4.00s, Erik Bedard is at 7.98 and Philip Humber is at 7.99.
In 25 games this season, the Astros have already had three starters pulled in the first inning. Starters were removed prior to completing five innings 12 times in all. In just six of the 25 games have their starters lastedsix innings.
Current relievers Dallas Kuechel and Paul Clemens appear to be the most likely choices to replace Peacock. Travis Blackley might also be a possibility, though he’s struggled some since coming off the DL. Top prospect Jarred Cosart figures to spend a bit more time on the farm before he gets a chance. Ideally, Jordan Lyles would be ready to contribute, but he’s posted a 5.32 ERA and struck out just 11 in 23 2/3 innings for Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Orioles prospect right-hander Dylan Bundy paid a visit to Dr. James Andrews today about his forearm/elbow and while surgery wasn’t required, he’s still a long way from getting back on a mound.
According to Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com, Bundy will be shut down for the next six weeks following a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection. The 20-year-old has been diagnosed with right flexor mass tightness in the area where the forearm meets the elbow. An earlier MRI on his elbow came back clean, so the source of his injury is believed to be in the forearm area.
Bundy will remain in Sarasota, Florida during the rehab process. It’s always possible that the PRP injection won’t work out and surgery could be explored, but the Orioles will hope for the best with the talented young hurler.
Bundy, the No. 4 overall pick of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, has dominated the minors to the tune of a 2.08 ERA over 23 starts and made two scoreless appearances with the Orioles down the stretch last season. Baseball America ranked him as the game’s No. 2 prospect behind the Rangers’ Jurickson Profar in February.