Daily Dose: Beltran joins teammates on DL

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Carlos Beltran had been hoping to play through the bone bruise in his
right knee, but instead joined the Mets’ crowded disabled list after
undergoing an MRI exam Monday. General manager Omar Minaya indicated
that the DL stint may last just two weeks, but there’s no official
diagnosis yet. Beltran has been playing through various injuries all
season, yet never slowed down while hitting .336/.425/.527.

Jeremy Reed started in Beltran’s place Monday night, but went
0-for-4 as his line dropped to .278/.307/.347 on the year, and the Mets
could give an extended shot to Fernando Martinez after recalling him
from Triple-A. Martinez has hit .291 with a strong .885 OPS in 44 games
at Triple-A, but looked overmatched while going 12-for-62 (.194) with
the Mets and the 20-year-old likely isn’t ready to thrive yet.

While the Mets close to 1.5 games in the NL East despite running out
of healthy players, here are some other notes from around baseball …

* Speaking of Mets on the shelf, Oliver Perez and John Maine
rehabbed together at Single-A by each starting one game of a
doubleheader Monday. Maine tossed six innings of one-run ball as he
comes back from shoulder soreness, but Perez allowed six runs in three
innings in his recovery from a knee injury. Neither looks ready to
rejoin the rotation, but Maine could be back after one more rehab
start.

* Having oddly decided to start him in 38 straight games fresh off
hip surgery the Yankees have apparently now concluded that Alex
Rodriguez needs rest. He sat out Friday and Saturday and the team
announced Monday that he’s scheduled to receive one day off per week
through the All-Star break. He’s a career .304 hitter who’s never
batted under .285, so much is being made of his lowly .213 average.

However, with nine homers, six doubles, and 30 walks in 170 plate
appearances his power and patience have been just fine and Rodriguez is
actually striking out less often than he has in any season since 1998.
He’s in a 9-for-59 (.153) slump this month and giving him regular days
off should have always been in the plans, but much of his struggles can
be traced to some singles not falling in. Be patient.

* Ervin Santana felt soreness in his forearm while throwing a
bullpen session this weekend, so the Angels scratched him from his
scheduled Tuesday start against the Rockies and put him on the disabled
list. While clearly a setback, the move is retroactive to June 12 and
would allow Santana to return from the DL as soon as this Friday.
However, that seems unlikely given his ugly 7.47 ERA in six outings.

Note: As the first half comes to a close, we’re now offering a “Midseason Report” that includes all the outstanding content from our “Season Pass” product plus a ton of new articles, rankings, and projections tailored for the second half.

AL Quick Hits: Grady Sizemore (elbow) is planning to come off
the disabled list Tuesday, but remains one setback from season-ending
surgery … Scott Kazmir (elbow) tossed six innings of one-run ball in a
rehab outing Monday at Triple-A, striking out five and walking zero …
Angels general manager Tony Reagins said Monday that the team isn’t
interested in Pedro Martinez … Out since April with a partially torn
elbow ligament, Xavier Nady is set to start a rehab stint Wednesday at
Triple-A … Akinori Iwamura tore his ACL last month, but is now hoping
to play again this season after undergoing surgery Monday … Josh Outman
is expected to miss Wednesday’s start because of elbow soreness … CC
Sabathia (biceps) remains optimistic about not missing a start, but the
Yankees won’t make a call until after his bullpen session Wednesday …
Asdrubal Cabrera (shoulder) began what’s slated to be a three-week
rehab assignment Monday at Double-A.

NL Quick Hits: Out since last month, Joey Votto has reportedly
joined the Reds in Toronto and is expected to be in the lineup Tuesday
night … Ryan Howard’s status remains unclear after being diagnosed with
acute sinusitis … Albert Pujols reportedly “called his shot” before
blasting a game-breaking grand slam Sunday, which apparently surprised no one
… Alfonso Soriano is just 12-for-73 (.164) this month, so he got Monday
off while the Cubs were shut out … Manny Ramirez is expected to begin
playing in minor-league games Tuesday in preparation for his July 3
return from suspension … Yunel Escobar was scratched from Monday’s
lineup with a strained hip, which is the same injury that sidelined him
for a week last month … Javier Vazquez worked around 11 base runners
while throwing 6.2 shutout innings Monday … Alex Gonzalez will miss 4-6
weeks following surgery Monday to remove bone chips from his elbow.

Marlins, Giants get into heated beanball war

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You may have heard that Giants closer Hunter Strickland broke his hand punching a door in frustration after Monday night’s subpar performance. He’ll miss six to eight weeks as a result. Strickland came in to protect a 4-2 lead but ended up giving up three runs. The tying run was knocked in by Lewis Brinson on a single to right field. Brinson moved to third base on a go-ahead single by Miguel Rojas, which prompted manager Bruce Bochy to take Strickland out of the game.

On his way to the dugout, Strickland started chirping at Brinson. Much like Bryce Harper and Strickland, Brinson and Strickland have a bit of a history. Last Thursday, Brinson handed Strickland a blown save with a sacrifice fly to deep center field. Brinson was happy to help his team tie the game, pumping his fast and saying, “Let’s go” at no one in particular. That rubbed Strickland the wrong way. Everything seems to rub Strickland the wrong way.

During Tuesday night’s game, Giants starter Dereck Rodriguez threw at Brinson with the first pitch, a 92 MPH fastball. Home plate umpire Andy Fletcher issued warnings to both benches. Manager Don Mattingly came out to argue, suggesting that his team hadn’t done anything wrong so it was unfair to essentially take the inside part of the plate away from his pitchers. On his way back to the dugout, Mattingly could be seen saying, “You’re next” to catcher Buster Posey.

The Giants scored twice in the bottom of the second against Dan Straily to extend their lead to 3-0. Posey came to the plate with a runner on first base and one out. Straily hit Posey with a 91 MPH fastball on the first pitch, prompting ejections of both Straily and Mattingly. Posey was hit on the arm. If the pitch had come in a bit lower and hit Posey on the wrist or hand, Posey might have had to go on the disabled list for a couple months. Or if the pitch had hit Posey a couple of inches higher, in the head, then who knows what would have happened.

Things calmed down from there, thankfully. The two clubs have one more game against each other in San Francisco on Wednesday and that will be the final time they meet this season. If anything further is going to happen — and hopefully, nothing happens — then it will come tomorrow.

Straily will almost certainly be facing a suspension and a fine, as will Mattingly. It’s less clear if Rodriguez and/or Bochy will be reprimanded for throwing at Brinson, even though it was fairly obvious the pitch was intentional. Regardless, the punishments amount to just one missed start for the pitchers, which isn’t nearly enough of a detriment to deter beanball wars.