Matt Adams’ poor start to the season now includes an injury, as the Cardinals first baseman suffered a strained quadriceps muscle Tuesday and is expected to be placed on the disabled list.
Adams hurt his quadriceps while running out a double, his seventh of the season, which improved his numbers at the plate to a .243 batting average and .656 OPS in 42 games. That’s a 120-point drop in OPS compared to last season.
Offseason pickup Mark Reynolds figures to take over as the Cardinals’ starting first baseman for however long Adams is out. He still has 25-homer power if the Cardinals can stomach tons of strikeouts, but the 31-year-old Reynolds hasn’t produced much in a part-time role and hasn’t topped an .800 OPS since 2011.
Last month the Rays released right-hander Grant Balfour from his $7 million big-league contract and then re-signed him to a minor-league deal, but now the veteran reliever has opted out of that contract and been granted his release from Triple-A.
Balfour pitched well at Triple-A, throwing 9.2 innings with a 2.48 ERA and 11/4 K/BB ratio, but he was apparently convinced the Rays had no plans to call him back up to the majors and at age 37 he didn’t want to keep playing for Durham.
Balfour has lost a lot of velocity since his peak as a shutdown late-inning reliever, leaving him with mediocre raw stuff and poor control, so it’s possible he’ll simply decide to retire rather than fight for a middle relief gig somewhere else.
Out since mid-April with a broken toe, Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy has been cleared to begin a minor-league rehab assignment Wednesday at Single-A.
Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that Lucroy is scheduled to play four games there and then, barring a setback, rejoin the Brewers’ active roster Monday.
Lucroy was off to a slow start before the injury, but he’s been one of the best all-around catchers in baseball since 2012 and last season finished fourth in the MVP voting.
Martin Maldonado has served as Lucroy’s primary fill-in and Brewers catchers have combined to hit just .151 this season. Lucroy hit .301 with 13 homers and a league-leading 53 doubles last year.