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.
The Padres may have some interest in acquiring Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco, according to a recent report from Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. It seems unlikely that the team would deal their starting third baseman with J.P. Crawford (fractured left hand) sidelined through July; to that end, however, they signed infielder Danny Espinosa as minor league depth on Friday and have reportedly been eying the Rangers’ Adrian Beltre, among other veteran options.
Franco, 25, entered Sunday batting .255/.297/.425 with nine home runs and a .721 OPS in 229 plate appearances this season. While he has yet to live up to the .280+ average, 1.9+ fWAR he posted during his rookie campaign, he’s been a solid 20+ home run producer over the last few years and shown some stability at the hot corner. He’s also under team control for the next three years and could provide some much-needed insurance behind the Padres’ current third base option, 27-year-old Christian Villanueva.
Rosenthal notes that the Phillies could strike a deal for one of San Diego’s relievers, though no one specific has been connected to the team yet — and the club probably wouldn’t be able to finesse a one-for-one deal given the quality of the Padres’ pitchers. The Phillies’ bullpen has looked downright abysmal over the last month, placing 11th-worst in the league with a collective 5.34 ERA and 0.3 fWAR. Their failure to procure a viable reliever beyond Seranthony Dominguez, Victor Arano and Edubray Ramos lends a certain urgency to any potential deal they make over the next few weeks, though the official trade deadline is still over a month away.