Hunter Pence isn’t playing, but that seems well explained. B.J. Upton’s absence from Tampa Bay’s lineup for the second time in four games, on the other hand, could and probably should be taken that a deal is close.
Also notable: there’s no Ian Desmond in the lineup for the Nationals tonight. Washington has long been considered a likely destination for Upton, and the Rays may well want a shortstop in return after Reid Brignac’s spectacular flameout this year.
You can bet we’ll be keeping an eye on things.
7:50 p.m. EDT update: Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times is hearing that there’s no deal currently in place for Upton. That doesn’t mean something isn’t close.
8:20 p.m. EDT update: Upton said he was told by Maddon it was just a day off and that “there’s nothing going on.” Upton has been slumping, but it’s still very odd to see him getting a second day off in four days, particularly since there’s no disciplinary reason for the move.
It’s been one issue after the next for Indians reliever Andrew Miller, and on Saturday, the left-hander landed back on the 10-day disabled list with right knee inflammation. According to comments made by club manager Terry Francona, Miller’s knee has been a problem since the start of the year. The team has yet to determine a concrete timetable for his return to the bullpen.
Miller, 33, hasn’t looked like his usual sub-2.00 ERA, 2.0+ fWAR self this season, though he paired a 4.40 ERA and 6.3 BB/9 with an impressive 14.4 SO/9 across his first 14 1/3 innings. A left hamstring strain and minor back injury hampered his effectiveness on the mound, though this appears to be a more serious issue — especially given the five weeks he spent recovering from a tendon injury in his right knee last year.
In corresponding moves, the Indians designated right-hander Oliver Drake for assignment and recalled Triple-A right-handers Ben Taylor and Evan Marshall. Taylor, 25, was working on a 3.63 ERA, 1.0 BB/9 and 11.4 SO/9 through 17 1/3 innings in Triple-A Columbus, while 28-year-old Marshall turned in a terrific 0.77 ERA, 0.8 BB/9 and 6.9 SO/9 over his first 11 2/3 innings. Neither reliever has pitched more than a handful of innings at the big league level in 2018.