Phillies starter John Lannan will likely require a stint on the disabled list due to a recurring issue with his left knee. Lannan was only able to record four outs last night against the Braves before being lifted. He missed time earlier this season between April 18 and June 16 with a strained tendon in his left knee, and it seems as if his latest flare-up will require some more recovery time. Lannan will undergo an MRI tomorrow, which will let the Phillies know their course of action.
The word from GM Ruben Amaro, via Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly:
“It appears that he has similar symptoms to those he experienced earlier this season with tendinitis of the patellar tendon,” Amaro said. “We’ll know more after the MRI. It seems likely that he is headed back to the disabled list.”
The good news for the Phillies, who have been ravaged by injuries, is that Roy Halladay is working his way back from shoulder surgery and could eventually earn back a spot in the rotation by early September if everything goes as planned. As Aaron reported on earlier today, Halladay was able to go six innings and throw 87 pitches in a rehab start in the Gulf Coast League.
The Phillies, at 53-67, will simply be using the remaining 42 games to see what they’re dealing with in regards to their younger players and their veterans returning from injuries. Halladay is a free agent after the season, but there has been some speculation that he would return to the Phillies on an incentive-laden deal.
The Angels’ bench is looking woefully thin this winter — so thin, in fact, that manager Mike Scioscia says he’s considering utilizing starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani as a pinch-hitter and pinch-runner on the days he’s not scheduled to pitch.
I’ve never had a pitcher pinch-run,” Scioscia told reporters Saturday. “There’s more bad than good that can come out of it. But Shohei is not just a pitcher. He’s a guy that has the ability to do some of the things coming off the bench, whether it’s pinch-hit or pinch-run, and we’re definitely going to tap into that if it’s necessary, because we feel we’re not putting him at risk. It’s something he’s able to do.
Granted, spring training allows for a certain amount of experimentation before managers and players decide what works best for them, so this may not be the strategy the Angels employ for the entire season. In addition to coming off the bench between starts, Ohtani is also expected to see 2-3 days at DH every week, forcing Albert Pujols to shift over to first base to accommodate the new two-way star.
Ohtani’s hitting prowess has already been well-documented — he has a lifetime .286/.358/.500 batting line from NPB and crushed a batting practice home run during his initial workouts with the team this week — but his skills on the basepaths have received less attention so far. MLB Pipeline describes the 23-year-old phenom as a “well-above average runner” whose speed has yet to manifest stolen bases: he’s nabbed just 13 bases in 17 chances over the last five years. That’s a number Scioscia hopes to see increased this season, though he doesn’t want his ace pitcher making any head-first slides on the basepaths to do so.
To be sure, it’s an unorthodox role for any young player to step into, but if anyone can pull it off, Ohtani can.