J.A. Happ was hit on the head with a Desmond Jennings line drive on May 7, suffering a minor skull fracture. While falling to the ground, Happ twisted his knee, and it is the latter injury that is causing him to progress slowly as the lefty has yet to pitch off a mound. Manager John Gibbons said, “Somebody’s looking at it all the time but no more X-rays. It’s just one of those things that’s just going to take time. He’ll be a while.”
Happ was one of the Jays’ more reliable starters, bringing a 3.98 ERA into that fateful start against the Rays. MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm says a timetable for the lefty’s return is still unclear, but does offer this:
General manager Alex Anthopoulos was recently quoted as saying he expected Happ to be out anywhere from three to six weeks.
The three weeks would seem highly unlikely as the native of Illinois has yet to throw off a mound, and six weeks would have Happ back in action toward the end of June.
Infielder Brett Lawrie successfully avoided arbitration and signed a one-year contract with the White Sox on Friday, per a team announcement. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman added that the deal was for $3.5 million, significantly lower than the $4.125 million Lawrie was paid by the White Sox in 2016.
The White Sox acquired Lawrie last December in a swap for minor league arms Zack Erwin and J.B. Wendelken. After splitting time at second and third base for the Athletics in 2015, Lawrie slotted in at second base and DH for the White Sox and batted .248/.310/.413 with 12 home runs in 384 PA. While it’s strange to see a healthy, fairly productive player receive a salary reduction in arbitration, Lawrie missed nearly half of the season with a strain in his left hamstring, though he’s projected to return at full health by the start of the 2017 season.
Left-hander Brian Duensing signed a one-year, $2 million contract with the Cubs on Friday, per a report from FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman.
The free agent spent the bulk of his 2016 season with the Orioles after receiving a call-up from Triple-A Norfolk in early June. He underwent elbow surgery several weeks later when a freak bullpen injury revealed cartilage chips and inflammation in his pitching elbow, but recovered to finish the season with a 4.05 ERA and 10 strikeouts in 13 1/3 innings for the club. The Orioles utilized him for a final out during the AL Wild Card game, during which Duensing recorded a five-pitch strikeout in the ninth inning of their 5-2 loss to the Blue Jays.
The 33-year-old is currently expected to bulk up the Cubs’ left-handed relief corps, with fellow left-hander Mike Montgomery slated for the rotation in 2017.