Marlins ace and 22-year-old phenom Jose Fernandez will complete his comeback from Tommy John elbow surgery this afternoon against the Giants, returning to the rotation following 13 months on the sidelines.
Fernandez had an underwhelming final minor-league rehab start at Double-A on June 27, but overall in five rehab starts he struck out 33 batters in 24 innings and worked in the mid-90s with his fastball to show his pre-surgery velocity is still there.
Expecting him to pick up right where he left off in mid-2013 is unrealistic, in part because Fernandez will likely be on limited pitch counts and could struggle with his command at times and in part because he was insanely good before the injury. Fernandez made 36 starts through age 21, posting a 2.25 ERA and 257 strikeouts in 224 innings.
And even after missing more than a year he returns to the Marlins’ rotation one month before his 23rd birthday.
There’s no official announcement yet, but Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com reports that the Twins are calling up third base prospect Miguel Sano from Double-A for his MLB debut.
Following this afternoon’s game the Twins demoted first baseman/designated hitter Kennys Vargas to the minors for the second time this season. His last demotion was to Triple-A, but this time they sent Vargas to Double-A. No corresponding move was announced, but Sano is not in the Double-A Chattanooga lineup tonight.
Sano missed all of last season following Tommy John elbow surgery and got off to a slow start this year, but over his last 50 games he’s hit .310 with 12 homers and a 1.002 OPS. Few prospects in baseball have more power potential than the 6-foot-5, 260-pound Sano and slotting the 22-year-old into the DH spot initially would allow him to simply focus on offensive production.
Despite missing all of last year Sano came into this season as a top-20 prospect according to Baseball America, MLB.com, and Baseball Prospectus.
Making official what was reported last night, Jerry Dipoto has resigned as Angels general manager, stepping down from the job he’s held since 2011 after losing an apparent power struggle with manager Mike Scioscia.
Stories about Dipoto and Scioscia not getting along well have been common for the past 2-3 years, but the relationship apparently reached a boiling point recently and Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com documented the drama in a lengthy article detailing the feud.
Some reports today suggested that Angels owner Arte Moreno would try to talk Dipoto out of leaving the job, hoping to salvage the relationship or at least keep other members of the front office from leaving along with him, but that apparently failed.
Dipoto’s decision-making track record is a mixed bag, but it’s worth noting that some of his least successful moves–and specifically signing Josh Hamilton for $125 million–were forced upon him by Moreno and Scioscia has also played a role in some prominent personnel changes that turned out poorly for the Angels.
Scioscia is the longest-tenured manager in baseball with 16 years on the job and also reportedly had star first baseman Albert Pujols on his side, so it’s no surprise that Moreno picked them over Dipoto. In fact, Dipoto’s predecessor, Tony Reagins, was fired at least in part because he clashed with Scioscia.
For better or worse, Moreno is standing with Scioscia.