Things went from bad to worse quickly for Mike Soroka on Monday night.
The young Braves ace was struggling with his command in the early part of Monday's game against the Mets, having walked four while giving up three hits through his first two-plus innings of work. It was an innocent ground ball to first baseman Freddie Freeman that spelled the most trouble for Soroka and the Braves, though.
Breaking to cover first base on the play, Soroka pushed off with his right foot and then crumpled to the ground in pain. He tried to walk off the field on his own but was sent back to his knees after taking a few steps, careful not to put too much pressure on his right leg. He was eventually helped off the field by Braves personnel.
After the game, the team announced that their worst fears had been realized -- Soroka was diagnosed with a torn right Achilles tendon. The newly-turned 23-year-old will miss the rest of the season and could very well miss a part of the 2021 season as he recovers from the gruesome injury.
The news is brutal for all parties involved, but first and foremost for Soroka. Coming off a breakout season in which he went 13-4 with a 2.68 ERA and 1.11 WHIP, the young right-hander was on his way to more brilliance in 2020. Through two starts this season he owned a 1.59 ERA and 0.97 WHIP before Monday's outing.
For the Braves, it's the latest in a string of tough breaks for their pitching staff. A graphic shown on the broadcast of the game illustrated their woes: Cole Hamels is on the 45-day injured list with left triceps tendinitis; Felix Hernandez opted out of the season; Mike Foltynewicz struggled mightily in his first start of the year and was designated for assignment; and Jhoulys Chacin, signed just a few weeks ago, was also outrighted off the roster after showing poorly in his abbreviated stint with the club.
With Soroka now out for the rest of the year, the Braves may be forced to look outside their organization yet again, or perhaps break the glass on one of their remaining prospect arms. Kyle Wright and Touki Toussaint have already made starts this year, and Bryse Wilson has appeared in nine games over the past two seasons but has yet to make his 2020 debut. Another option is Ian Anderson, a 22-year-old right-hander who was Baseball America's No. 44 prospect in baseball coming into the 2020 season.
If Anderson gets the call he will be worth adding in most leagues for the potential upside. Even Wilson might be worth a speculative add given his pedigree and the Braves' lack of other options. Pay attention to the team's moves in the coming days and be ready to strike.
Angels to Promote Top Prospect Adell
If we can pivot, briefly, to better news: bah gawd, THAT'S JO ADELL'S MUSIC.
The best prospect in the minor leagues not named Wander Franco is no longer a prospect in the minor leagues after it was reported Monday that the Angels intend to promote Adell ahead of their game Tuesday against the Mariners. The Angels will likely get the service of two studly outfielders for their series in Seattle, with new dad Mike Trout also set to rejoin the club Tuesday.
Adell was held down to start the year for service time reasons, but it's not as though he had nothing left to prove in the minors. He's only played 27 games above Double-A, and in those 27 games last year he slashed a pedestrian .264/.321/.355, albeit as a 20-year-old.
If that was the small dose of cold water, though, it's to temper expectations for what has the potential to be a game-changing talent the second he steps into the batter's box Tuesday at T-Mobile Park. The now-21-year-old receives high marks in both power and speed categories, and his defense will keep him in the lineup on a daily basis almost regardless of his offensive performance.
Even those tepid 2019 numbers at Triple-A were part of a larger season in which Adell hit .289/.359/.475 with 10 homers and seven steals in 76 games across three levels. As a whole, the outfielder owns a career .298/.361/.518 line in the minors, with many of his 224 games coming against older competition.
He obviously needs to be rostered in all leagues for his offensive upside, but don't be surprised if he doesn't light the world on fire out of the gate. That's especially possible if he can't crack the top half of a good Angels lineup that, at least in theory, includes the aforementioned Trout, big-ticket free agent signing Anthony Rendon, hitter-pitcher extraordinaire Shohei Ohtani and contributors like David Fletcher and Justin Upton.
Then again, he's Jo Adell. Don't be surprised if he does light the world on fire, either.
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Strain to Keep Ohtani Off Mound, For Now
We now return to your regularly scheduled 2020 hellscape programming.
A day after Shohei Ohtani was removed from his start, the Angels on Monday said the two-way star suffered a grade 1-2 strain of the flexor pronator mass in his right arm. The assessment almost certainly marks the end of his season as a starting pitcher.
"A general timetable for beginning a throwing progression following this injury is 4-6 weeks," Angels general manager Billy Eppler said in a statement.
What it means for his hitting will tell just how big of a loss this is for the Angels and fantasy players. In the same statement Eppler didn't rule out Ohtani serving as the team's designated hitter for the remainder of the season, saying Ohtani "is traveling with the team to Seattle and his status as a DH is day to day."
If the 26-year-old is able to be part of the lineup on a daily basis he can still return a lot of value as a hitter, as evidenced by his .281/.345/.528 line in 216 career games as an offensive player. Ohtani also has an underrated speed component to his game, averaging 17 steals to go with 32 homers over the course of a 162-game season.
One scenario, of course, is that Ohtani or the Angels decide he shouldn't or can't play through the injury and his season ends before it really ever started. For that reason and the ones noted above, the lineup written out by Angels manager Joe Maddon on Tuesday (and beyond) will be worth paying attention to.
National League Quick Hits: Major League Baseball confirmed Monday that the Cardinals' four-game series against the Tigers has been postponed. This decision stems from a widespread COVID-19 outbreak on the Cardinals. As of the latest round of testing, seven players and six staff members have been confirmed as positive. The four-game series between the Cardinals and Tigers was scheduled to run from Tuesday through Thursday, and it's unclear at this point what the status is for the Cardinals' upcoming three-game weekend series against the rival Cubs ... Patrick Corbin and Max Scherzer will start in the two-game series against the Mets this week, beginning on Tuesday. The Nationals didn't play against the Marlins as scheduled this weekend due to concerns over COVID-19, but they are ready to get back out there, likely with Juan Soto in the lineup. Corbin allowed one run in 6 1/3 innings as part of a no-decision in his season debut against the Yankees last Sunday. Scherzer is coming over 7 1/3 scoreless frames with 10 strikeouts against the Blue Jays in his second start of the season ... The Phillies announced that Aaron Nola will start Tuesday against the Yankees. After a COVID-19 scare, the Phillies are set to resume play at Yankee Stadium on Monday, with Jake Arrieta making his season debut against Gerrit Cole. Nola hasn't start since Opening Day on July 24, where he allowed four runs over 5 1/3 innings against the Marlins. The Yankees are slated to go with former Phillies left-hander J.A. Happ on Tuesday ... Mookie Betts (finger) is not in the Dodgers' starting lineup Monday against the Padres. Betts was removed from Sunday's series finale against the Diamondbacks due to swelling in his left middle finger. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts called him "day-to-day" after the game, so hopefully it's nothing overly serious ... Kris Bryant (illness) was back in the Cubs' starting lineup on Monday night against the Royals. Bryant started in left field and batted leadoff versus Kansas City left-hander Danny Duffy after missing two games due to gastrointestinal issues. He showed no ill effects of the illness, finishing 2-for-3 with a double and a solo home run in the win ... Reds activated 1B Joey Votto from the injured list. Votto was placed on the injured list Sunday after reporting some symptoms, but his COVID-19 test came back negative, so he's already back on the active roster. In fact, he started at first base and batted second on Monday night against the Indians, playing hero with a game-winning two-run home run in the sixth inning. Aristides Aquino has been optioned to the Reds' alternate site ... Ozzie Albies (wrist) returned to the Braves' lineup Monday against the Mets. Albies sat out Sunday's game due to lingering soreness in his right wrist. On Monday, he went hitless in four at-bats, striking out three times. It doesn't sound overly concerning right now, but it's something to watch moving forward ... Nick Senzel was scratched from the Reds' starting lineup on Monday due to a sprained left finger. Senzel must have suffered the injury at some point during Sunday's doubleheader against the Tigers. He went 2-for-4 with two doubles and a run scored in the second game while lifting his season OPS to .937 ... Phillies manager Joe Girardi said Monday that RHP prospect Spencer Howard is a "consideration" to start Sunday against the Braves. Howard probably would have already made his MLB debut by now, but the Phillies' season got put on pause as part of the fallout from the Marlins' COVID-19 outbreak. There is going to be another postponement on Tuesday -- this one due to Tropical Storm Isaias -- but that actually serves to open a spot for Howard with the Phils now having to list a TBD for the final game of their weekend series versus Atlanta. The 23-year-old Howard posted a 2.03 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, and 94/16 K/BB ratio in 71 minor league innings last season ... Jeff McNeil was scratched from the Mets' lineup on Monday due to lower back tightness. McNeil is considered day-to-day ... Corey Seager (quad) was back in the Dodgers' lineup Monday night against the Padres. Seager served as the team's DH and batted sixth after missing one game due to a left quad cramp, going 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored ... Mike Moustakas (forearm) was in the Reds' lineup on Monday against the Indians. Moustakas was hit in the left forearm by a pitch in the first game of Sunday's doubleheader and sat out the second game as a result, but he managed to avoid a serious ailment. He went hitless in three at-bats in Monday's victory ... Amed Rosario has been diagnosed with left quad tightness. The quad tightness apparently popped up as Rosario was racing out of the batter's box on a groundout that finished off the top of the third inning Monday night in Atlanta. Andres Gimenez took over at shortstop for the Mets to begin the bottom of the third. There should be more clarity on Rosario's status come Tuesday ... Marlins president Michael Hill told reporters Monday that Jordan Yamamoto will be called up on Tuesday. Yamamoto is a good bet to join the starting rotation right away with the Marlins reeling from a nearly team-wide COVID-19 outbreak. Top outfield prospect Monte Harrison is also going to get the call, as previously reported, and so too will Jorge Guzman, Nick Vincent, Eddy Alvarez, Josh Smith, Ryan Lavarnway, Logan Forsythe, Justin Shafer, Richard Bleier, James Hoyt, Brian Moran, and Mike Morin. Matt Joyce and Lewis Brinson will be activated from the injured list. And there could be even more moves beyond those.
American League Quick Hits: Tuesday's scheduled game in New York between the Yankees and Phillies has been postponed early due to Tropical Storm Isaias. The forecast looks brutal for the Bronx throughout the day Tuesday, so the two teams went ahead and called this one on Monday evening. It'll be made up as part of a doubleheader on Wednesday at Citizens Bank Park, with first pitch scheduled for 4:05 p.m. ET. George A. King III of the New York Post notes that the Yankees will be the home team in one game and the visitors in the other. J.A. Happ was scheduled to face off against Aaron Nola in Tuesday's game, and they'll both presumably pitch Wednesday instead ... Josh Donaldson (calf) remained out of the Twins' starting lineup on Monday against the Pirates. Donaldson hasn't played since exiting Friday night's game against the Indians due to tightness in his right calf. The veteran third baseman is still being called day-to-day ... Twins placed LHP Rich Hill on the 10-day injured list with left shoulder soreness. Twins manager Rocco Baldelli announced on Monday that Hill would not make his scheduled start Tuesday afternoon against the Pirates due to "mild fatigue and back soreness," but the veteran southpaw is clearly dealing with something a little more serious than that. Shoulder issues are scary, especially for a guy who has logged just 63 2/3 regular-season innings since September 2018 due to a variety of physical ailments ... another injured Twins pitcher, Jake Odorizzi (intercostal), threw 52 pitches in a simulated start on Monday. Odorizzi reported feeling "great" after the workout and could potentially be plugged into the Twins' starting rotation sometime this weekend against the Royals. The 30-year-old right-hander landed on the injured list at the end of summer camp because of an intercostal strain. He posted a solid 15-7 record, 3.51 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, and 178/53 K/BB ratio in 30 starts covering 159 innings last season with Minnesota ... White Sox activated OF Nomar Mazara from the 10-day injured list. Mazara missed the start of the season due to an undisclosed illness, but he made his debut with his new team Monday, going 1-for-2 after entering the game as a pinch-hitter. The 25-year-old was acquired from the Rangers during the offseason after batting .268/.318/.469 batting line with 19 home runs and 66 RBI over 116 games last season. It's possible he could form a platoon with Adam Engel in right field ... Carlos Rodon was lifted from his start Monday night against the Brewers due to left shoulder soreness. Rodon's four-seam fastball velocity fell from 92.2 mph in the first inning to 85.6 mph in the second inning, and he did not return for a third inning. The 27-year-old southpaw ultimately yielded one run on three hits over his two frames, with one strikeout and zero walks. He will be reevaluated on Tuesday, per the White Sox.