Justin Verlander will make his long-awaited season debut this afternoon against the Indians and an important part of the Tigers’ lineup isn’t too far away from a return.
According to Jason Beck of MLB.com, the plan calls for Victor Martinez to begin a minor league rehab assignment tomorrow with Triple-A Toledo as he works his way back from inflammation in his surgically-repaired left knee. He’s slated to play four games before being re-evaluated.
Martinez, 36, had surgery on the knee in the spring and it has clearly impacted his performance at the plate. He was batting just .216 with one home run and a .516 OPS through 130 plate appearances prior to landing on the disabled list last month. The hope is that he rest will prove beneficial.
The Mets traded Kirk Nieuwenhuis to the Angels late last month, but Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reports that the outfielder has returned to the team on a waiver claim.
Nieuwenhuis was designated for assignment by New York a little less than a month ago after starting the season in a 3-for-38 (.079) funk. The 27-year-old was eventually dealt to the Angels for cash considerations, but he hit just .136 (3-for-22) over 10 games before being designated for assignment again this week. He’s a .226/.299/.368 career hitter.
Per Rubin, it’s unclear whether Nieuwenhuis will be added to the active roster or if the Mets will try to get him through waivers to stash him in Triple-A. Darrell Ceciliani took over as a backup outfielder and left-handed bat off the bench when Nieuwenhuis was designated for assignment last month. He’s hitting .241 (7-for-29) with two doubles, two RBI, and three stolen bases over his first 20 games in the majors.
UPDATE: Rubin adds that Nieuwenhuis is expected to join the major league roster.
Rickie Weeks signed a one-year, $2 million deal with the Mariners over the winter, but he was designated for assignment this afternoon after struggling in part-time duty.
Weeks, 32, batted just .167/.263/.250 with two home runs and nine RBI over 95 plate appearances while seeing most of his playing time against left-handed pitching. He exclusively played second base in the majors coming into this season, but the Mariners used him as a left fielder and designated hitter. His role has been diminished since the Mark Trumbo deal, so Seattle decided to turn the page.
The Mariners have called up right-hander Danny Farquhar from Triple-A Tacoma to replace Weeks and will go with an eight-man bullpen for the time being.
The Royals just announced that left-hander Jason Vargas is headed back to the disabled list due to a recurrence of a left flexor strain.
Vargas struggled with a 5.26 ERA over his first five starts prior to his first stint on the disabled list in early May. He missed three weeks and posted a 2.25 ERA with an 11/1 K/BB ratio in 16 innings over three starts since returning, but apparently he’s still not feeling right.
Vargas was scheduled to start Sunday against the Cardinals, but Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star writes that Chris Young will move up a day to take his place. Meanwhile, Edinson Volquez will start Monday’s series opener against the Brewers before Joe Blanton will enter the rotation to start Tuesday. It’s worth noting that Yordano Ventura left last night’s start with irritation in his ulnar nerve, but Yost told McCullough that they don’t believe he’ll have to miss a start.
The Royals called up left-hander Brandon Finnegan to take Vargas’ spot on the active roster.
Another encouraging update here on 44-year-old Tonya Carpenter, the fan who suffered what was initially described as life-threatening injuries when she was struck in the head by a piece of a broken bat last Friday at Fenway Park.
According to Alec Shirkey of MLB.com, a hospital spokeswoman said that Carpenter was discharged from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center on Friday and transferred to a rehabilitation facility. After being listed in serious condition last weekend, Carpenter was upgraded to fair condition on Monday and good condition on Thursday.
Beth Israel neurosurgeon Dr. Efstathios Papavassiliou released the following statement Friday afternoon regarding Carpenter’s condition:
“Ms. Carpenter’s recovery so far has been excellent,” Papavassiliou said. “She’s getting stronger every day, and we’ve seen tremendous progress. We’re confident she’s ready to move forward with the next phase of her care.”
Great to hear.