What happens when a position player taking the mound in a blowout pitches to one of the best power-hitting prospects of the past decade?
Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant hit his first career grand slam off Indians outfielder David Murphy, that’s what.
Bryant surprisingly had zero homers in his first 20 games, but since homering for the first time on May 9 he’s hit .311 with eight homers and a .961 OPS in 35 games. Overall he has an .886 OPS in 55 games, which would be the ninth-best OPS in baseball history for a 23-year-old third baseman and the best since Evan Longoria in 2009.
Marlins right-hander Jose Fernandez was dominant in his second minor-league rehab start Wednesday, striking out 10 batters in 4.2 innings at Single-A as he comes back from Tommy John elbow surgery.
Fernandez served up a solo homer and exited before completing five innings because he was on a pitch count of 80, but the outing was a very encouraging one following the Marlins’ announcement that he’s scheduled to come off the disabled list and rejoin the rotation July 2.
Joe Frisaro of MLB.com reports that Fernandez is slated to make two more rehab starts on June 22 and June 27. He underwent surgery 14 months ago, ending a 2014 season that saw him post a 2.44 ERA with 70 strikeouts in 52 innings through eight starts as a 21-year-old.
It’s been a while since there was an update on Cliff Lee’s progress taking the rest-and-rehab route to avoid surgery on a torn flexor tendon, but it sounds like not much has changed.
Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reports that Lee has been resting at home in Arkansas since spring training and traveled to Philadelphia earlier this week to be examined, with the team telling him afterward to wait another 3-4 weeks before trying to do any throwing.
Here’s what general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. told Salisbury:
He’s doing well. He’s in great shape. He’s taking care of himself, but he’s not really prepared to start throwing yet. We’ll see what happens over the next month or so. Probably in another month or so we’ll know a little more. Best-case [scenario] he’d be throwing right about now. He’s not ready to do it.
Surgery would knock out Lee for ninth months and at age 36 could mean the end of career, which is why the former Cy Young winner is avoiding it at all costs. He’s being paid $25 million this season and the Phillies will buy out his 2016 option for $12.5 million, making him a free agent.
It’s looking more and more like we’ve already seen Lee in a Phillies uniform for the final time.