While the Athletics plan to give Manny Ramirez more time in the minors to get tuned up for major league pitching, the Rays are going a different route with Hideki Matsui.
According to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, Matsui is expected to be added to the Rays’ roster tomorrow. It’s a bit of a surprise to see him join the big league club so quickly, as he’s hitting just .170 (8-for-47) with two doubles, four RBI and a 10/4 K/BB ratio over 13 games with Triple-A Durham.
Of course, the Rays don’t have much to lose if Matsui turns out to be a bust, as he’s set to make a prorated salary of around $900,000 when he is added to the major league roster. The 38-year-old figures to share at-bats with Luke Scott out of the designated hitter spot.
Matsui batted .251/.321/.375 with 12 home runs, 72 RBI and a .696 OPS in 141 games with the Athletics last season.
Nationals starter Max Scherzer bunted a ball into his face during batting practice on Tuesday, breaking his nose in the process. He ended up with a gnarly looking shiner around his right eye, making him appear a bit like Terminator. Scherzer still took the ball to start the second game of Wednesday night’s doubleheader against the Phillies.
Despite the injury, Scherzer was incredibly effective, limiting the Phillies to four hits and two walks across seven shutout innings, striking out 10 batters in the process. He might even have had some extra adrenaline going, as he averaged 96.2 MPH on his fastball, his highest average fastball velocity in a game since September 2012, per MLB.com’s Jamal Collier. The Nationals provided Scherzer with just one run of support, coming on a Brian Dozier solo home run off of Jake Arrieta in the second inning, but it was enough.
Wander Suero worked a scoreless top of the eighth with a pair of strikeouts. Victor Robles added a solo homer off of Pat Neshek in the bottom half. Closer Sean Doolittle took over in the ninth, working a 1-2-3 frame to give the Nats their 2-0 victory.
Over his last six starts, Scherzer now has a 0.88 ERA with a 59/8 K/BB ratio across 41 innings. He has gone six innings, struck out at least nine batters, and held the opposition to two or fewer runs in each of those six starts.