Athletics place Yoenis Cespedes on disabled list with strained muscle in hand

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According to Casey Pratt of CSNBayArea.com, the Athletics have placed outfielder Yoenis Cespedes on the 15-day disabled list with a strained muscle in his left hand. Michael Taylor has been recalled from Triple-A Sacramento to replace him on the active roster.

Cespedes was injured last night on an awkward slide into second while attempting to steal a base in the eighth inning. He stayed in the game initially, but was eventually replaced for a pinch-hitter in the 11th inning. The good news is that X-rays and an MRI ruled out any structural damage, so the A’s are hoping that he’ll be ready to return as soon as he’s eligible.

Seth Smith, Chris Young and Taylor could all be in the mix for playing time in left field in the coming days. Coco Crisp was forced to exit last night’s game with a left groin strain, but Pratt hears that could return to the lineup as soon as tomorrow.

Cespedes is hitting .200 (8-for-40) with three home runs and seven RBI through 11 games this season. The Cuban outfielder launched 23 homers in 129 games as a rookie last season.

Report: Indians, Padres still talking about starting pitching trade

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The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports that the Indians and Padres are still discussing a potential trade for a starting pitcher, namely Corey Kluber or Trevor Bauer. Rosenthal adds that a deal isn’t close and is unlikely to occur before Opening Day. The Padres are balking at the Indians’ asking prices for the two starters.

The Padres could certainly use an ace at the top of the rotation. With the addition of Manny Machado, the lineup is looking decent, but beyond Joey Lucchesi, the starting pitching doesn’t inspire confidence.

Kluber, who turns 33 years old next month, has club options for the next two seasons at $13.5 million and $14 million with $1 million buyouts each. Last year, the right-hander finished third in AL Cy Young balloting, finishing 20-7 with a 2.89 ERA and a 222/34 K/BB ratio in 215 innings.

Bauer, 28, is earning $13 million this season and will enter his fourth and final year of arbitration heading into 2020. Last year, Bauer went 12-6 with a 2.21 ERA and a 221/57 K/BB ratio across 175 1/3 innings.

The Indians are the prohibitive favorites in the AL Central once again, but that has as much to do with the mediocrity of the rest of the division as the Indians’ commitment to competing. If the Indians were to trade either or both starters, that would be good news for the Twins, who are projected to be 15 games worse than the Indians but still finish in second place, according to PECOTA from Baseball Prospectus.