Clearing The Bases: AL News & Notes
Baltimore Orioles: The O’s are having some problems in their bullpen of late. Closer Jim Johnson has blown three straight saves after nailing 35 straight. There have always been some doubts about Johnson’s ability to be the closer long term, the question is, are those doubts coming to fruition earlier than first thought or is this just a bump in the road. When a team loses a game late it’s a heartbreaker, can certainly demoralize a team, but the great thing about baseball is that there is a game to be played the next day. The O’s may have some issues, so does every team, but I really don’t believe Johnson is one of them, and certainly believe he deserves the benefit of the doubt, plus, it’s not like they have another closer in waiting.
Boston Red Sox: Outfielder Shane Victorino is once again out for the Sox as he strained his hamstring beating out an infield hit Monday, it’s not considered to be serious, and he shouldn’t be out of the lineup long, but this is just another in a steady stream of injuries to Victorino so far this season…..Shortstop Stephen Drew is back in the lineup however as he seems to be over his back injury, have a feeling this won’t be the last time he misses time this season…..One good thing about the injury to Victorino is more playing time for Daniel Nava who has been hitting the ball quite well of late.
Chicago White Sox: There are some interesting goings on in Chicago. The team seems to realize this isn’t going to be there year, and also realizes they don’t have all that many great pieces to trade away. One piece they do have that could garner some interest would be SS Alexei Ramirez and it’s very interesting that 2B Gordon Beckham is currently playing SS on his rehab assignment. Ramirez would have a good deal of interest on the trade market, can someone say St. Louis…..With John Danks getting closer to a return to action, it looks like Dylan Axelrod will be the odd man out. He is pitching well however.
Cleveland Indians: Have to admit I find it hard to believe that Cleveland is in 1st place at this point in the season but I can’t see it lasting. I know Ubaldo Jimenez is pitching well again but how long can that possibly last? Scott Kazmir, has he really had a revival, Justin Masterson a true ace? Bigger question may be whether or not Cleveland will be players at the trade deadline…..Speaking of pitching, Brett Myers should be ready to re-join the rotation at some point next week. I’m assuming you think this is a good thing.
Detroit Tigers: How good is 3B Miguel Cabrera? Don’t think we can make an argument that he isn’t the best hitter in the game today. Texas manager Ron Washington actually walked him Sunday with runners on first and second, thus loading the bases. Can’t really fault the strategy, Miggy had already hit two bombs in the game and looked prime for a third, but what really separates him from the days when Giants OF Barry Bonds was consistently IBB is that he has 1B Prince Fielder hitting behind him. Prince may not be the best hitter in the game, but he’s in the top 10.
Houston Astros: Outfielder Justin Maxwell has begun hitting off of a tee and looks like he could be ready to begin a rehab stint shortly…..For what it’s worth OF Brandon Barnes leads all rookies with at .317 AVG, not that this matters all that much, he’s far from a can’t miss prospect.
Kansas City Royals: What is going on with 3B Mike Moustakas? He is now batting a robust .178 on the season. It looked like he was breaking out of his season long slump when the Royals faced the Yankees two weekends ago but has now gone 1-33. The Royals don’t have a great solution to replace him, Miguel Tejada, but it’s fair to wonder now if a trip to AAA is in order so that Mike can get his confidence back…..So much for that planned platoon of OFs Jeff Francoeur and Jarrod Dyson. Dyson was placed on the DL with a sprained ankle.
Los Angeles Angels: Keep hearing speculation that manager Mike Scioscia is on the hot seat. Would be pretty surprised to see owner Arte Moreno fire Mike. As I have said before, he still has six years on his contract and you just know, their cross town rivals, Los Angeles Dodgers, would just trip over themselves to fire Don Mattingly and hire Scioscia who used to play for them…..Jered Weaver is still on track to return to the team during the first week of June…..Outfielders Mike Trout and Mark Trumbo have been killing the ball of late. Not surprised about Trout, but would like to see if Trumbo could continue to hit the entire season, some consistency would be nice.
Minnesota Twins: Have to admit I was a bit disappointed that the Twins decided not to call up SP Kyle Gibson for Friday’s start. I don’t blame them, no reason to start his arbitration clock, but still I wanted to is see the youngster go…..The Twins are also letting it be known that they are unlikely to trade 1B Justin Morneau before the deadline. This doesn’t make as much sense to me. You’re not going anywhere this season, Morneau is a free agent after the season which means you can always re-sign him, why not get what you can for him now.
New York Yankees: Hey, the Yankees played a game without suffering an injury. Here are your updates. First baseman Mark Teixeira is playing in simulated games and looks like he could be back during the first week in June. Shortstop Derek Jeter is still in a walking boot and the All-Star break is still the earliest he could return. The same is true for 3B Alex Rodriguez as for his return date, but he is taking part in baseball activities. Still think ARod could return earlier, but the Yanks insist otherwise. Their backups, SS Eduardo Nunez and Kevin Youkilis still aren’t playing in games and are likely out until at least next week, possibly longer. Nunez may not have a job when he returns as the Yankees have made a couple of additions in David Adams and Reid Brignac since he went on the DL. Adams is playing well but doesn’t play SS while Brignac is all glove no hit, but the Yanks may want to keep him and Nunez still has options left. Catcher Francisco Cervelli should be ready to play when he is eligible to come off the DL in late June. As for the pitching, Joba Chamberlain’s return keeps getting pushed back, same with Ivan Nova, but both should be back within the next 7-10 days, although Nova could be sent to the minors if David Phelps continues to impress while Andy Pettitte should be back when he is eligible, first week in June. Deep breath now.
Oakland Athletics: Really wish I didn’t buy into SP Brett Anderson this year. He has so much talent but just can’t stay healthy. I’m a believer that staying healthy is a skill like any other, and it’s a skill he doesn’t have. His sprained ankle turned into a stress fracture, not even sure what to say anymore, sigh…..Outfielder’s Coco Crisp and Chris Young returned for the A’s. Crisp is of particular interest as he was off to a hot start to the season before his injury…..Where did 3B Josh Donaldson come from?
Seattle Mariners: Wouldn’t worry to much about RP Tom Wilhelmsen’s first blown save of the season. Although it was a crushing way to lose a game, it wasn’t his pitching that did him in, but rather his fielding…..Outfielder Raul Ibanez came back to New York with a bang. I’m pretty sure he enjoyed all those jogs around the bases…..Aaron Harang who missed his start last Wednesday is expected to take the mound Tuesday versus the Angels, lucky him.
Tampa Bay Rays: Matt Moore is off to a terrific start to the season but he is going to have to learn how to go deeper into games…..Jake Odorizzi, the other top prospect acquire in the James Shields deal, made his first start for Tampa on Monday. Now he didn’t pitch great, but did show why at one point he was one of the top prospects in baseball…..Wil Myers, the top prospect acquired in that deal, isn’t tearing it up in AAA, but still it’s just a matter of time until he gets called up. The Rays need the offense and are just waiting for the super two arbitration deadline to pass…..If anyone knows what is wrong with SP Jeremy Hellickson, please contact manager Joe Maddon.
Texas Rangers: Have to hand it to 1B Mitch Moreland, apparently he heard the whispers that his job could be in jeopardy and has responded in a big way…..The player who theoretically would’ve taken his job was super prospect, Jurickson Profar. Now Profar was called up this past weekend anyway when 2B Ian Kinsler went on the DL, but this is probably just a two week audition for Profar. Even if he’s tearing it up, there still isn’t a position for him to play unless Texas suffers another injury. Those in fantasy leagues who used a good deal of their FAAB or their top waiver priority are going to be severely disappointed.
Toronto Blue Jays: Just when you thought the Jays were starting to figure things out, they get swept by the Yankees, they are now 1-8 against New York this season…..Josh Johnson is pitching in rehab games, building up arm strength, and could return to the team sometime around Memorial Day…..R.A. Dickey finally looked like the CY Young award winner from last season in his start Monday. The Jays are going to need him to pitch like an ace for the remainder of the season if they have any prayer of getting back into the playoff race…..Starting pitcher Mark Buehrle should be begging for a trade back to the National League.
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