Day: September 3, 2013

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Jason Heyward cleared to play catch and hit off a tee


Carroll Rogers of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has an update on the status of Braves outfielder Jason Heyward, who suffered multiple fractures in his jaw when he was beaned by a fastball on August 21:

Jason Heyward isn’t chewing solid food yet, but he did get a pleasant surprise during a visit to the oral surgeon Tuesday. He was cleared to begin playing some catch and swinging at balls off a tee.

“I was excited to get the process started,” Heyward told reporters Tuesday after receiving that clearance. “It happened sooner that I would have expected.”

The 24-year-old has already been ruled out for the remainder of the 2013 regular season, but he could return for the playoffs. Heyward was batting .253/.347/.423 with 13 home runs and 37 RBI in 95 games played.

Pirates activate closer Jason Grilli

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The first-place Pirates are getting a nice boost.

According to beat reporter Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, right-hander Jason Grilli has been activated from the disabled list and will be available to pitch in Tuesday night’s game against the Brewers. Mark Melancon will remain the Bucs’ closer in the immediate future, but Grilli can reclaim that ninth-inning gig if he pitches well enough.

“We’ll use him at least a couple times in non-leverage situations to see how he fares, how he feels,” manager Clint Hurdle said Tuesday. “We eventually plan on transitioning him back to the closer’s role.”

Grilli had a 2.34 ERA, 0.92 WHIP and 30 saves in 42 1/3 innings this season before straining his right forearm on a slider in late July. Pittsburgh currently leads St. Louis by one game in the National League Central.

Rockies activate Carlos Gonzalez from the disabled list

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Carlos Gonzalez has been activated from the disabled list and will be available off the Rockies’ bench Tuesday for the first time since August 4.

But it won’t exactly be a triumphant return.

Troy Renck of the Denver Post reports that CarGo is only available to play defense and pinch-run due to lingering pain in his right middle finger. Gonzalez has changed the way he grips a bat and is hoping to be ready to hit at some point this week, but the out-of-contention Rockies likely won’t force the issue.

Gonzalez, 27, is batting .302/.367/.591 with 26 home runs and 70 RBI in 103 games this season for the Rockies, who are currently 12 1/2 games out of the National League Wild Card hunt.

Miguel Cabrera is back in the Tigers lineup

Miguel Cabrera

Miguel Cabrera hasn’t played for three games with an abdominal injury but he’s back in tonight’s lineup against the Red Sox.

You sorta have to wonder about Cabrera’s injury, don’t you? It’s been described as an abdominal injury for the most part. I’m told Dave Dombrowski referred to it as a groin injury the other day. Perhaps he was just mistaken or confused, but you do get the sense that Cabrera is maybe hurting more than the Tigers want to let on. Or at least in a place where they don’t want to let on.

Still: he’s Miguel Cabrera. And after every little tweak or pull this year, he’s come back and continued to hit like Babe Ruth, so if the Tigers aren’t worried, why should we be?

Justin Masterson is out with an oblique injury

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Here’s a potentially big blow to the Indians’ already dwindling playoff hopes: Justin Masterson will miss at least one start with an oblique injury suffered during his abbreviated outing yesterday.

One start wouldn’t be so bad, but very few oblique injuries tend to be that minor and if anything it’s an injury type that lingers more than most. Plenty of players have missed a month or more with oblique strains, although obviously it depends on the severity in this case.

Either way, the Indians are looking at being without Masterson for a while after he posted a 3.52 ERA in 29 starts while racking up 188 strikeouts in 189 innings and holding opponents to a .224 batting average.