Saturday, May 22, 2010

Another solid start for Vazquez, X-rays negative

After getting off to a horrible start (9.78 ERA as of May 1st), New York Yankees pitcher Javier Vazquez looks like he's finally turning the corner.

Vazquez threw six innings of one-hit baseball against the Mets last night although he left the game prematurely (70 pitches) after taking a pitch off his right index finger on a bunt attempt.

"It's frustrating, but the good news is that the finger is good and the X-rays were negative," Vazquez said, per Mark Feinsand of the NY Daily News. "I'm pretty sure I'm going to make my next start."

Over the past 13 1/3 innings, Vazquez has allowed only six hits and two earned runs. In addition, he has struck out 14 batters.

"He picked up right where he left off," [Yankees manager] Joe Girardi said. "The last three times out, he's thrown the ball well. It looks like he's getting his stuff back and locating again."

Next up for Vazquez are the Minnesota Twins on Thursday.

Jimmy Rollins leaves game due to calf strain

More bad luck for Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins and his fantasy owners.

After missing five weeks due to a calf strain, it's possible that Rollins could land back on the disabled list (DL).

Rollins, who returned to the leadoff spot in the Phillies' lineup, left Friday's game in the sixth inning after straining his calf on a single.

When asked about the potential of another DL stint, Rollins responded that he has "about as good (of an idea) as yours," per David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News.

As Murphy points out, if Rollins doesn't return to the DL, it's safe to say that he'll be kept out of the lineup for the remainder of the weekend.

In 11 games played, Rollins has an on-base percentage of .458 and has scored 11 runs.

Chad Billingsley wins third straight

In 14 starts after last year's All-Star Break, Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Chad Billingsley struggled by posting a record of 3-7 and an ERA of 5.20.

And in his first three starts of 2010, Billingsley posted an ERA of 7.07 and allowed 20 hits and seven walks in only 14 innings pitched.

Since then, he's had only one bad outing (four earned runs in six innings versus Milwaukee on May 5th) in six appearances including Friday's 4-1 win over the Detroit Tigers.

Or, in other words, Billingsley allowed 11 earned runs in 14 innings in his first three starts compared to only 10 earned runs in 37 2/3 innings in his past six starts.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Jacoby Ellsbury to return Saturday

Outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury is expected to return to the Red Sox lineup on Saturday night against the Phillies, according to Amalie Benjamin of the Boston Globe.

Ellsbury hasn't played since April 11th when he fractured four ribs in a collision with Adrian Beltre.

He gives us a different element,’’ [Red Sox manager Terry] Francona said. “It gives us that game-changing speed. It gives us the same headaches we have when we have to face guys like Carl Crawford. He gives us a certain look when he’s in there that we don’t have when he’s not in there.’’

Although Ellsbury will be out of the lineup tonight, he doesn't expect some lingering pain in his ribs to cause him to miss any games.

“I still feel it right now,’’ Ellsbury said. “It’s going to be one of those things, it’s going to be there for a little while.’’

Ellsbury, who has only played six games this year, led the majors in steals (70) in 2010.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Still unknown if Ethier will land on DL

According to Jim Peltz of the Los Angeles Times, it's not yet known whether outfielder Andre Ethier will land on the 15-day disabled list or not.

During batting practice on Saturday, Ethier broke a bone in his right pinkie.

"My guess is we're going to wait a couple of days," [manager Joe] Torre said. "By that time we should have a clearer idea of where we're going, if he's not going to stay active."

In May, he was hitting nearly .500 (24-for-49) as he had nine multi-hit games in 12 games played. He also has five home runs and 19 runs batted in this month.

Either, who is currently the top-ranked player in Yahoo! Fantasy Baseball, is leading the National League in all three Triple Crown categories: batting average (.392), home runs (11) and runs batted in (38).

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Wrist surgery in Nick Johnson's future?

Yankees designated hitter Nick Johnson, who received a cortisone shot on May 7th, may need wrist surgery, according to general manager Brian Cashman.

Of course, it he needs surgery, Johnson's return from the disabled list will be further delayed.

"The best case scenario is he's back in four weeks (from the time of the shot), three weeks from now, he goes through rehab games and he's back," Cashman said, per Kristie Ackert of the NY Daily News. "The alternate is he needs surgery and he's sidelined for four to six weeks."

Although Cashman said Johnson would "be a $15 million a year player if he didn't have this history of injuries," he can never seem to stay healthy.

In 2002, Johnson played 129 games as a 23-year-old. Since then, he's played 100+ games in only three times in the past six seasons.

Jose Reyes to leadoff tonight vs Marlins

When the Mets face the Marlins in Miami tonight, shortstop Jose Reyes will return to a familiar spot. (And, no, I don't mean the disabled list.)

Reyes, who is hitting only .207 on the season since returning from the DL, will be the leadoff hitter in tonight's lineup, according to Brian Costa of the Newark Star-Ledger.

Meanwhile, Angel Pagan will bat third in the order in front of left fielder Jason Bay tonight.

Only six teams have a lower batting average than the Mets (.240).

Through 55 at bats so far in May, Reyes has only ten hits (.182 batting average), but he has stolen four bases.

In addition to struggling in May (even more so than in April), Reyes is struggling on the road (.136 average and .329 OPS). His home batting average is a solid .290 with an OPS of .763.

Reyes is hitless in his past three road games and has never faced Nate Robertson, who will start for the Marlins tonight.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Beckett's next start pushed back to Friday

Instead of pitching on Wednesday against the Blue Jays, Red Sox starter Josh Beckett will take the mound on Friday against the Tigers, according to Amalie Benjamin of the Boston Globe.

Tim Wakefield will pitch tomorrow.

Beckett, who was taking batting practice, suffered some back spasms and will get his back checked out.

We’ll get him checked out in the morning,’’ [manager Terry] Francona said. “He had a stiff back the other day a little bit, and he was kind of starting to swing the bat and he felt it and it grabbed him a little bit. We’ll get him checked out.’’

On the season, Beckett has an ERA of 7.46, a WHIP of 1.66 and opposing batters are hitting .311 against him. He's allowed five (or more) earned runs in four of his seven starts.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Report: Tulowitzki has MRI, DL possible

Colorado Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki underwent an MRI and could possibly land of the disabled list (DL), according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post.

Tulowitzki, who left yesterday's game in the fifth inning due to a strained quadriceps, said that “it’s nothing like” the quad injury that sidelined him for two months in 2008.

On the season, Tulo is hitting .311 (second among shortstops) and has scored 24 runs (first), but he has only hit one home run.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Teixeira hits three (of his five) HRs today

New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox

His slow start in April was well-publicized. His history of slow starts has been well-publicized.

Entering today's game versus the Red Sox, however, Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira was hitting only .181 with two home runs on the season.

After a four-hit, three-home-run performance today, Teixeira may only be hitting .207 on the season, but it looks like, as usual at this time of year, the worst is behind him.

In April, he hit only .136 with only 11 hits, two home runs and nine runs batted in.

Through today's game (in which he became the second Yankee in team history to homer three times versus the Red Sox), Teixeira is hitting .400 for May with 12 hits, three home runs and 11 runs batted in.

The other Yankee to homer three times against the Red Sox in a game is Hall-of-Famer Lou Gehrig.

Well, it looks like any opportunity to steal Teixeira away from a disgruntled fantasy owner is long gone like the three bombs he hit today.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Kinsler just said 'no' to a day off

From a fantasy baseball perspective, the knock on drafting Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler in the first two rounds was his history of missing a considerable number of games each season and his relatively low batting average (.253 last season).

Well, after playing five straight days since his disabled-list stint, Kinsler refused a day off on Wednesday, according to Jeff Wilson of the Dallas Morning News.

"It's getting better every day, and my legs are starting to feel better," he said. "I feel like I'm ready to play every day."

Since returning from the DL, Kinsler has hit safely in five of his six games and is batting .292. But he has yet to hit a home run, steal a base or drive in a run.

Even though he missed 18 games in 2009, Kinsler was the only player to finish with a 30-30 season. It's not unreasonable that Kinsler approaches 30-30 again this year provided he stays healthy for the remainder of the season. That's a big if, I know.

But having no steals or home runs as of May 6th could mean that a frustrated Kinsler owner could be willing to part ways with him at a discounted price. It may, at least, be worth testing the waters to see what it would take before Kinsler starts to produce.