People are really angry this Sunday, it seems. The Reds and Pirates had a benches-clearing incident in Cincinnati, and so did the Blue Jays and Royals.
Royals starter Edinson Volquez hit Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson with a first-pitch fastball in the first inning. Donaldson didn’t like it, and glared at Volquez, but took his spot at first base. Volquez brushed Donaldson back with a first-pitch up-and-in fastball in the third inning.
In the bottom of the seventh, with a runner on second base and one out, Royals reliever Ryan Madson hit Blue Jays shortstop Troy Tulowitzki on the elbow with a 2-2 fastball, the seventh-pitch of the at-bat. Madson, on a 2-2 count against Donaldson, threw another fastball up-and-in, nearly hitting Donaldson in the head. Donaldson clearly wasn’t happy, nor was manager John Gibbons, who was ejected by home plate umpire Jim Wolf.
In the top of the eighth, Blue Jays reliever Aaron Sanchez threw a 2-0 fastball at the knees of Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar. Wolf ejected Sanchez from the game. Blue Jays bench coach Demarlo Hale was also ejected. Then the benches cleared. Yodvano Ventura, who didn’t start, was clearly agitated, but his teammates held him back. In the end, it was a typical benches-clearing incident: just a lot of yelling. No one else was ejected. The Royals went on to lose 5-2.
Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star reports that the Royals are “pushing hard” for Reds right-hander Johnny Cueto. He adds, however, that their needs for an outfielder — particularly following the unfortunate injury to Alex Gordon — may trump their need for a starter.
Cueto, 29, has put together another terrific season, owning a 2.73 ERA with a 113/22 K/BB ratio over 118 2/3 innings. The 40-47, fourth-place Reds are shopping Cueto as he is eligible for free agency after the season.
Meanwhile, the 53-35, first-place Royals are looking to bolster a rotation currently led by Edinson Volquez and is otherwise not reliable for late season drama or in a short post-season series. Jeremy Guthrie, Yordano Ventura, and Danny Duffy have ERA’s of 4.65 or worse.
As expected, the Astros placed outfielder George Springer on the 15-day disabled list with a fractured right wrist. But he’s going to be gone longer than 15 days. The estimate: six weeks. All thanks to an Edinson Volquez fastball whch hit Springer on the wrist while traveling at a brisk 96 m.p.h. last night.
Springer has been hot of late, having been moved up to the leadoff spot where he has hit .325 with 12 RBI since June 1 and with a nice mix of speed and power. Now it’ll be up to Alex Presley, who was called up from Triple-A Fresno to take his place in right field, to fill his shoes.
Astros outfielder George Springer was hit on the right wrist by an Edinson Volquez pitch in last night’s game. X-rays had not been taken by the time the press spoke to manager A.J. Hinch last night, but Hinch did not wax optimistic about the status of Springer, saying that it seems inevitable that he’ll be on the disabled list.
Spring is hitting .264/.365/.457 with 13 homers and 14 stolen bases on the year. His loss will be a blow to the Astros.
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.