Last season Hector Rondon emerged as one of Cleveland’s best pitching prospects by posting a 3.38 ERA and 137/29 K/BB ratio in 146 innings between Double-A and Triple-A, but he followed that up with an 8.53 ERA in 32 innings at Triple-A before being shut down in mid-May and yesterday he underwent Tommy John elbow surgery.
That certainly explains his awful performance at Triple-A, but also means Rondon will be sidelined for the next 12-18 months and may miss the entire 2011 season. He had been viewed as a possible mid-rotation option who was close to MLB-ready, so it’s a tough break for the 22-year-old right-hander.
Chad Jennings of the New York Journal News reports that Lance Berkman will definitely be ready to come off the disabled list when eligible next week and in fact writes that “Berkman has been healthy for a while.”
According to Jennings “he could have played this week” and “is on the phantom disabled list so that Eduardo Nunez has a roster spot.”
When placed on the DL last week Berkman made it pretty clear that he felt healthy enough to play through the ankle injury, but obviously “phantom disabled list” is a much stronger way of phrasing it.
Berkman hit just .179 through his first 12 games with the Yankees and they didn’t feel like playing short-handed for even a handful of days, so they put him on the shelf and called Nunez up to serve as a utility man. Jennings calls it “amazing … how easily he talks about the situation” and says Berkman has “no bitterness, no frustration.”
Manny Ramirez is not in the Dodgers’ lineup this afternoon, but it likely has more to do with manager Joe Torre resting him for a day game following a night game than it does his waiver wire status.
However, if he doesn’t come off the bench as a pinch-hitter this afternoon there’s a slight chance that Ramirez has already played his last game as a Dodger. His time on the waiver wire reportedly expires tomorrow afternoon and the Dodgers don’t play until tomorrow night, although they do have until early next week to work out a deal if he’s claimed.
If he is moved before tomorrow night Ramirez went out on a high note, going 2-for-2 with two doubles and two walks in a 5-4 victory. He’s now hitting .313/.407/.513, which is good for a .920 OPS that ranks fifth in the league. That’s pretty damn good considering how many people are acting like Ramirez is all washed up.
Beyond that the Dodgers are now 5.5 games back in the NL Wild Card race and the White Sox, who reportedly plan to place a waiver claim on Ramirez, are 3.5 games back in the AL Central. Seems like if Ramirez and his .920 OPS can help Chicago he can also still help Los Angeles, doesn’t it?
Last night Albert Pujols went 0-for-4 in a loss to the Pirates while Joey Votto went 4-for-7 with two homers and four RBIs in a wild extra-inning win over the Giants, so here’s how the Triple Crown picture looks right now:
JOEY VOTTO .326
Carlos Gonzalez .320
ALBERT PUJOLS .319
ALBERT PUJOLS 33
JOEY VOTTO 31
Adam Dunn 31
RUNS BATTED IN
ALBERT PUJOLS 92
JOEY VOTTO 90
Carlos Gonzalez 84
As noted earlier this week, Omar Infante still lurks as a possible roadblock to the batting title for Pujols or Votto. After going 1-for-5 with a homer last night Infante is now hitting .347 and he’s inching closer to the plate appearances needed to qualify.
Last night Felix Hernandez beat the Red Sox while racking up seven strikeouts in 7.2 innings of two-run ball and in doing so became the fourth-youngest pitcher in baseball history to reach 1,000 career strikeouts.
Here are the leaders, according to Elias Sports Bureau:
Bob Feller 1941 22 years, 179 days
Bert Blyleven 1974 23 years, 131 days
Dwight Gooden 1988 23 years, 249 days
Felix Hernandez 2010 24 years, 139 days
That’s an interesting list, because while Blyleven ranks fifth all time with 3,701 career strikeouts neither Feller nor Gooden crack the top 25. Feller ranks 26th with 2,581 and Gooden ranks 46th with 2,293.
As for King Felix this season, poor run support from the Mariners’ horrendous offense leaves him with a 10-10 record despite leading the league with 205 innings and posting a career-best 2.47 ERA that ranks third in the AL. Last season he finished second in the Cy Young voting while posting a 2.49 ERA in 239 innings, but also had a 19-5 record to help his cause with voters.