From Eric Stephen at SB Nation’s True Blue LA:
GLENDALE — Dodgers relief pitcher Scott Elbert had his appendix removed on January 28, delaying his rehab from Tommy John surgery.
“It didn’t burst, but it was going to,” Elbert said. “It was hurting for a couple days and I didn’t know what it was, I thought it was the flu virus.”
Elbert was already expected to miss the first two months of the 2014 season for elbow rehab, and this appendectomy might tack on another few weeks.
The 28-year-old left-hander posted an impressive 2.32 ERA and 8.6 K/9 in 90 appearances for the Dodgers between 2011-2012, but injuries have been a near-constant frustration for him in recent years. Elbert was the 17th overall pick in the 2004 MLB Amateur Draft out of Seneca High School near Joplin, Missouri.
No surprise here: The Astros are headed back to the postseason to defend their title following a landslide 11-3 win over the Angels on Friday. This figures to be their third playoff run since 2015, though they have yet to wrap up the AL West with a division title.
First baseman Yuli Gurriel led the charge on Friday, smashing a grand slam in the first inning and tacking on a two-run homer in the second and RBI single in the fifth to help the Astros to a seven-run lead. The Angels eventually returned fire, first with Mike Trout‘s 418-foot homer in the sixth, then with an RBI hit from Francisco Arcia in the seventh, but they couldn’t close the gap in time to overtake the Astros.
On the mound, right-hander Gerrit Cole clinched his 15th win of the year after holding the Angels to seven innings of three-run, 12-strikeout ball. His sixth strikeout of the night — delivered on an 83.1-MPH knuckle curveball to Kaleb Cowart — also marked the 1,000th strikeout of his career to date. He was backed by flawless performances by lefty reliever Tony Sipp and rookie right-hander Dean Deetz, both of whom turned in scoreless innings as the offense barreled toward an 11-3 finish with Jake Marisnick‘s sac bunt and George Springer‘s three-run shot in the eighth.
Despite having qualified for the playoffs, the Astros still carry a magic number of 6 as they look to clinch a third straight division title. They’re currently up against the Athletics, who entered Friday’s contest against the Twins just four games back of first place in the AL West.