Japanese pitcher/hitter Shohei Otani is expected to miss up to six weeks with a thigh muscle strain, the Associated Press reported on Sunday. Otani injured his left thigh during the Nippon Ham Fighters’ game on Saturday when he tried to leg out a single.
This is the second significant injury Otani has sustained this year after rehabbing an injured ankle in February. He has yet to pitch for the Nippon Ham Fighters in 2017, and, according to the report, is expected to increase his focus on batting this season.
Otani’s prowess as the best pitcher and one of the best hitters in NPB is well-documented, and he told 60 Minutes that he intends to sign with an MLB club after the 2017 season. Due to international spending caps that kicked in with the latest collective bargaining agreement, Otani’s signing bonus would likely fall between $4.75 and 10 million, a bargain for any major league suitor given the 22-year-old’s versatility and breathtaking success in Japan.
The Diamondbacks announced on Monday that starter Shelby Miller has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with right elbow inflammation. Miller will get a second opinion on his elbow on Tuesday, per MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert. Pitcher Silvino Bracho has been called up from Triple-A Reno to take Miller’s spot on the roster.
Miller, 26, left Sunday’s start with what was described at the time as forearm tightness. Through his first four starts, Miller is carrying a 4.09 ERA with a 20/12 K/BB ratio in 22 innings.
Bracho, 24, has pitched quite well in 6 2/3 innings of relief at Reno. He’s given up just one unearned run on four hits and a walk (intentional) with 12 strikeouts.
Archie Bradley figures to take Miller’s spot in the starting rotation as Bracho will work middle relief.
And John Lackey is livid.
The Brewers’ first baseman homered in each of his first two plate appearances against Reds starter Amir Garrett on Monday evening, helping his team to a 6-1 lead after two frames. The first was a solo blast in the first inning, and the second was a two-run shot to the opposite field in the second inning.
According to MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, Thames has tied the Brewers’ record for home runs in April with 10. Carlos Lee also hit 10 homers in April 2006.
Seven of Thames’ 10 home runs have come against the Reds. Including his first two at-bats on Monday night, Thames is hitting .379/.474/.924 with 17 RBI along with the 10 dingers. Not too shabby from a guy the Brewers signed to a three-year, $16 million contract during the offseason.
Lackey and Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio both recently implied Thames is using performance-enhancing drugs, but Thames was tested immediately after last Monday’s game against the Cubs.