Blue Jays place Drew Hutchison on disabled list with UCL sprain

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After leaving last night’s start in the first inning with what was described as right elbow soreness, Blue Jays right-hander Drew Hutchison was placed on the disabled list this morning with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament.

According to Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com, Hutchison will be shut down for the next two weeks before being re-evaluated. Blue Jays manager John Farrell told Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca that all signs point toward him avoiding Tommy John surgery, but he will likely seek a second opinion to rule out a possible tear of the ligament.

Hutchison, 21, made his major league debut on April 21 and posted a 4.60 ERA and 49/20 K/BB ratio in 58 2/3 innings prior to the injury.

The Blue Jays recalled right-hander Robert Coello from Triple-A Las Vegas to replace Hutchison on the active roster, but he is expected to pitch out of the bullpen. Carlos Villanueva pitched four scoreless innings in relief last night against the Phillies and could be a candidate to take Hutchison’s spot in the rotation. The 28-year-old right-hander made 13 starts with the Jays last year, but also missed some time with a forearm strain.

The Giants are winning but they’re still gonna sell

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The state of baseball in general, the state of the National League in particular and the state of the San Francisco Giants as a competitor are conspiring to create what seems like at least a mildly absurd situation.

The Giants, a veteran-laden team that, as recently as this past offseason but definitely within the past couple of years, were at least talking about being on a win-now footing, just swept a four-game series, have won five straight games and have won 12 of 14 to pull themselves to within two and a half games of a playoff spot.

Yet, that’s all for temporary show, because they’re about to sell off. At least according to Jeff Passan at ESPN. Giants president Farhan Zaidi tried to push back on that in a radio interview yesterday, denying that the club has foreclosed the possibility of a postseason push, but I’m not really buying that and I don’t think most people are.

On one level it makes sense to ignore the recent surge and forge on with a rebuild. Sure, the Giants are winning but they’re not exactly good. They’re two and a half out of the Wild Card, but there are many teams ahead of them. There’s a lot of reason to think that they’re playing in good fortune right now and that that, rather than finding some extra gear of sustainable better play, is what’s to credit. Hot streaks can happen at any time but the trade deadline only comes once a year. When you have the best starter available in Madison Bumgarner and the best reliever available in Will Smith, you gotta make those deals. That’s what I’d probably do if I ran the Giants and I think that that’s, wisely, what Zaidi will do.

Still, it’s an odd look, less for the Giants specifically than for baseball as a whole. We may in an era of cheap front offices who don’t like to contend if it means spending money, but it’s unfair to paint the Giants with that brush. They’ve spent money and acquired talent and have done whatever they can to extend their 2010-2014 mini-dynasty a few more years and in doing so they’ve made a lot of fans happy. That team has pretty much reached the end and, even in an earlier, more competitive era, they’d not be properly criticized for starting in on a rebuild. Heck, they’d be excused if they had done it a year or two earlier, frankly.

But, because so many teams have punted on improving themselves, these aging Giants are at least superficially competitive. As such, when they do sell off in the coming days, it’ll look to some like they’re waving a white flag or something when they’re not really doing that. I mean, the Rockies and the Pirates, among other teams, should be much better than they are but didn’t seem all that interested in improving, thereby helping the Giants look better, right? It’s less a knock on the Giants for rebuilding when they’re within striking distance of the playoffs than it is on the rest of the league for allowing a team like the Giants to be within striking distance of a playoff spot.

But that’s where we are right now. An insanely competitive Wild Card race from teams that, on the whole, are rather unconcerned with being competitive. What a time to be a baseball fan.