This isn’t the most encouraging news for the Pirates…
Andrew McCutchen exited last night’s game against the Brewers in the ninth inning with left knee discomfort and he’s out of the starting lineup tonight. According to Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, McCutchen confirmed this afternoon that the knee was part of his “lower body soreness” during spring training, but not the sole problem. However, he conceded that the pain is more “acute” now.
As of now, McCutchen is confident he won’t need a stint on the disabled list. In fact, he expects to be available to pinch-hit tonight and return to the lineup tomorrow. We’ll soon find out if that’s wishful thinking or not.
The Rays already lost first baseman James Loney earlier this week due to a mild right oblique strain, but now John Jaso will join him on the 15-day disabled list due to a jammed left wrist.
Jaso suffered the injury on a head-first slide into second base on Opening Day on Monday. X-rays and an MRI revealed no structural damage, but the Rays couldn’t afford to short-handed on their bench much longer, so he’ll now get some extended rest.
Taking Jaso’s place on the roster will be 2011 first-round pick Mikie Mahtook. The 25-year-old batted .292/.362/.458 with 12 home runs, 68 RBI, and 18 stolen bases over 132 games last season with Triple-A Durham. The Rays are set to play this Marlins this weekend under National League rules, so Mahtook will provide some bench depth in his first taste of the majors.
Mets right-hander Matt Harvey was mighty impressive in his return from Tommy John surgery today against the Nationals, allowing just four hits and one walk over six scoreless innings while striking out nine batters. Three of those strikeouts were against Bryce Harper, who appeared to be overmatched against Harvey’s wicked stuff.
Harper was complimentary to Harvey after the game and even made a prediction, though it wasn’t exactly bold:
You can see highlights from Harvey’s start here. You’ll notice that the at-bats against Harper ended with a 97 mph fastball, a 97 mph fastball, and a 96 mph fastball. Ridiculous.
According to Brooks Baseball, Harvey induced 15 whiffs in his 91 pitches. It’s safe to say he’s picking up from where he left off nearly 20 months ago.
The Astros knew that they’d have to live with strikeouts when they acquired Evan Gattis from the Braves over the winter, but this is a little extreme.
Gattis went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts for the second straight day on Thursday against the Indians. That’s not a category you want to be in. According to Baseball Reference, Gattis is the first player in Astros history to strike out four times in consecutive games. He’s also the first player since at least 1914 with two four-strikeout games within his team’s first three games in a season. Yikes.
Now 0-for-11 on the year and hearing boo-birds from the home crowd in Houston, Gattis summed up how he felt to Brian McTaggart of MLB.com:
“It’s embarrassing,” he said. “I’m pretty sure I’ve never done [0-for-4 with four strikeouts] in my career before [Wednesday], and then two in a row. … Yeah, it’s disappointing. I’m just a better hitter than what I’ve done so far this year.”
The all-time record for consecutive strikeouts from a non-pitcher is nine, which is shared by Mark Reynolds, Bo Jackson, Reggie Jackson, Eric Davis, Steve Balboni, and Adolfo Phillips. There’s some decent company in there, but Gattis will hope to avoid joining that club next time out.
Correction: Brian McTaggart informs me that the record for a non-pitcher was actually set by Rick Ankiel in 2013, with strikeouts in 10 consecutive plate appearances. So Gattis is two away. My apologies on that.
After going 1-for-6 with a single and a walk over the first two games of the season, Alex Rodriguez was moved into the No. 2 spot for tonight’s game against the Blue Jays. It appeared to be a sign of faith from Yankees manager Joe Girardi and Rodriguez rewarded that faith by taking rookie left-hander Daniel Norris deep in the bottom of the sixth inning for his first home run of the season. Check it out below:
Rodriguez missed the entire 2014 season while serving a PED suspension, so this was his first home run since September 20, 2013. He’s now up to 655 home runs for his career, which puts him five away from tying Willie Mays for fourth on the all-time list. His contract calls for him to receive a $6 million milestone bonus for tying Mays, but the Yankees reportedly plan to try to get out of paying it. But that’s a controversy for another time. A-Rod is hitting home runs again and it looks like he’ll be a productive member of the Yankees lineup as long as he can remain healthy. That’s pretty fun.