MLB Notes: Red Sox put Dustin Pedroia back on DL with knee woes

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MLB Notes: Red Sox put Dustin Pedroia back on DL with knee woes

NEW YORK -- The Boston Red Sox have put star second baseman Dustin Pedroia back on the 10-day disabled list for the third time this season because of knee trouble.

The AL East leaders made the move before playing at Yankee Stadium on Saturday. The move was retroactive to Thursday, and left-hander Robby Scott was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket.

Pedroia is out with inflammation. He has been hobbled by knee problems since being injured in a late slide by Manny Machado in Baltimore on April 21.

The 33-year-old Pedroia leads the team with a .303 batting average and a .378 on-base percentage. He has six home runs and 54 RBIs.

Pedroia tops major league second basemen with a .997 fielding percentage, making only one error this year. That miscue ended his Red Sox-record of 114 straight games without an error by a second baseman.

Pedroia was 0 for 4 as a designated hitter Wednesday at Tampa Bay in his first game since July 28. He also was on the DL from May 30 to June 9.

Scott was 1-1 with a 3.38 ERA in 41 games for Boston this year (see full story).

Yankees: RHP Tanaka placed on DL with shoulder inflammation
NEW YORK -- The New York Yankees have put right-hander Masahiro Tanaka on the 10-day disabled list because of shoulder inflammation.

The Yankees made the move Saturday before hosting the AL East-leading Boston Red Sox. Righty Giovanny Gallegos was recalled from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Tanaka issued a career-high five walks in four-plus innings at Toronto on Wednesday. After the game, Tanaka told the team he was ailing.

"We decided he needs a break," manager Joe Girardi said.

Girardi said there is nothing structurally wrong with Tanaka. Rather, he'll rest and strengthen his shoulder, and is expected back soon.

The former Japanese ace is 8-10 with a 4.92 ERA in 23 starts during an up-and-down season. He was scheduled to start Monday night when the New York Mets play at Yankee Stadium.

Girardi said Bryan Mitchell and Luis Cessa are candidates to pitch in Tanaka's place (see full story).

Yankees: LHP Montgomery OK after hit in head at batting practice
NEW YORK -- Yankees pitcher Jordan Montgomery is in uniform after being hit in the head by a flyball while signing autographs as the Boston Red Sox took batting practice.

The accident happened Saturday while the AL East-leading Red Sox warmed up at Yankee Stadium.

The Yankees said the 6-foot-6 rookie was examined by the team's medical staff. The club said Montgomery was expected to make his start Sunday night against Boston ace Chris Sale.

Montgomery was in foul territory far down the right field line and behind a protective screen when the ball flew over and struck him. He got help leaving the field. It was not known which Red Sox player hit the ball.

Montgomery is 7-6 with a 4.05 ERA in 21 starts for New York since making his major league debut this season.

The lefty recently lost his rotation spot and was sent to the minors when the Yankees traded for starters Sonny Gray and Jaime Garcia. He was recalled from Triple-A when CC Sabathia was put on the disabled list Friday.

Jake Arrieta delights crowd, breaks bats

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Jake Arrieta delights crowd, breaks bats

CLEARWATER, Fla. – Spectrum Field was sold out, filled with fans clad in green and smeared with sunblock for a game against the Atlanta Braves on a festive St. Paddy’s Day.
But the main event Saturday took place several hundred yards away at the minor-league complex, two hours before the big-league game even began.
Five days after signing a three-year, $75 million contract with the Phillies, Jake Arrieta climbed atop a mound and threw a 31-pitch (two-inning) simulated game. Scott Kingery, Jorge Alfaro, Logan Moore and Andrew Pullin were the hitters. Andrew Knapp was the catcher. Players, coaches, minor-league instructors and manager Gabe Kapler all peeked in. Dozens of fans hugged the chain-link fence to get a look at the newest Phillie. They applauded when Arrieta took the mound and again when he finished.
“It was great,” the 32-year-old pitcher said moments after the workout ended. “There’s a lot of people out here. A lot of people are excited for the Phillies in 2018. We’ve got a lot of good things going on here. A lot of guys are healthy and competing, there’s a lot of youth. It’s a really fun time to be in this organization.”
Arrieta said he felt “really good physically,” not a surprise because he came into camp in terrific shape and had gotten to over 60 pitches in bullpen sessions back home in Austin, Texas. He threw all his pitches, including a couple of knee-buckling curveballs. He broke two of Alfaro’s bats, one with a sinker, one with a cutter.
“My goal was to throw everything in the arsenal for strikes and throw my off-speed pitches in and out of the zone where I could get some chases,” Arrieta said.
Arrieta did allow some contact, mostly ground balls.
Arrieta won the 2015 NL Cy Young Award with the Cubs. He won 22 games and had a 1.77 ERA that season.
A deceptive delivery is one of Arrieta’s strengths. He throws across his body and that crossfire action makes it difficult for a hitter to pick up the ball.
“It’s extremely deceptive,” Kingery said. “Every pitch is extremely deceptive. That’s what hit me. His curveball looks like it’s coming at your head then it drops.”
Arrieta is still hoping to be ready for the first week of the regular season, but the Phillies have not formulated a firm game plan. One thing is certain: They won’t rush him. They want him for the long haul. They could hold him back 10 days or so, allowing him to build more arm strength, and he’d still make 30 starts.
Arrieta expects to throw a bullpen session in the next day or two and try to get up around 60 pitches in his next outing. That could be in a minor-league game or in another simulated game.
“As long as we continue to get my pitch count up, I think I’ll be fine going into the season,” he said.

Alex Cobb? Matt Klentak discusses replacing Jerad Eickhoff

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Alex Cobb? Matt Klentak discusses replacing Jerad Eickhoff

CLEARWATER, Fla. — The Phillies signed free-agent right-hander Jake Arrieta earlier this week.

That's probably going to be the extent of their pitching additions for now.

Jerad Eickhoff is out until at least May with a strained right lat muscle and that creates a sizable hole in the Phillies rotation.

The hole is likely to be filled internally, according to general manager Matt Klentak. The team is not likely to make a run at Alex Cobb, who remains on the free-agent market.

"I doubt it," Klentak said when asked if he would look outside the organization to fill Eickhoff's spot. "I don't think we have to. I think a lot of our guys have shown very well in camp. They have gotten their pitch counts up, they're getting to the point of being fully stretched out.

"More than anything, I think we're going to have some tough decisions on figuring out who is in the rotation, who is in the bullpen, who goes into the Triple-A rotation, who goes into the Double-A rotation. We've got a lot of tough decisions to make on that front, but I don't think we're in a position where we have to go outside. We have a lot of candidates to take the ball at the big league level so we'll be fine."

Aaron Nola will start on opening day. Arrieta will be in the rotation, though he might need an extra week or so to get ready. Vince Velasquez and Nick Pivetta are likely to hold down spots. That leaves Zach Eflin, Ben Lively, Mark Leiter Jr., Jake Thompson, Drew Hutchison and Tom Eshelman in the running for the final spot in the five-man rotation. Eshelman, strike-thrower extraordinaire, was the Phillies' minor-league pitcher of the year last year and projects to be in Philadelphia before long. However, it might not be at the outset of the season because he is not on the 40-man roster. Neither is Hutchison.

The Phillies do not need a fifth starter until April 11 so they could employ some creative roster construction until then. They could go with four starters and an extra reliever or bench man. Or they could bring an extra starter and "piggyback" him with Arrieta, a move that would allow Arrieta to make an abbreviated start during the first week of the season.

"There's a decent chance we open the season with somewhat of a non-traditional 25-man roster, not because we're trying to be cute but because we don't need the fifth starter until the 11th," Klentak said. "We're going to do whatever puts us in the best position to win those first 10 days of the season."

The Phillies made one transaction on Friday. They added utility man Pedro Florimon to the 40-man roster. He had a provision in his minor-league contract that allowed him to become a free agent if he wasn't on the 40-man roster by March 15. Florimon is a candidate for a spot on the Phillies' bench. The move doesn't guarantee that Florimon will win a spot, but it gives the team more time to evaluate him. To make room for Florimon, the Phillies designated infielder Eliezer Alvarez for assignment.

Florimon homered in the Phillies' 6-4 loss to Toronto in Clearwater Friday. Cam Rupp and Cesar Hernandez also homered. Velasquez gave up five hits and a run in 2⅔ innings. He struck out five.

In Lakeland, Pivetta allowed two runs over five innings as the Phils and Tigers played to a 6-6 tie. J.P. Crawford and Ryan Flaherty both homered.