Brandon McCarthy finally had a fully healthy season in 2014, making 30 starts and reaching 200 innings for the first time in his career. The righty then netted a four-year, $48 million contract from the Dodgers over the winter.
He’s done after 23 frames in the first year of that deal.
An MRI has revealed a torn ulnar collateral ligament in McCarthy’s right elbow, and the hurler is expected to undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery soon. McCarthy aims to rejoin the Dodgers’ rotation around midseason in 2016.
It’s really a tough break for McCarthy. He had finally appeared to be putting his chronic shoulder issues behind him, upping his velocity and posting great peripherals. Now, instead of a potential breakthrough 2015 campaign, he’ll spend it rehabbing after having made just four starts.
The Dodgers have arguably the best 1-2 punch in the majors with Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke at the top of the rotation, but it’s tough sledding after that. Hyun-Jin Ryu remains sidelined with a shoulder issue and just now resumed throwing from a mound. He’s still multiple weeks away from a return, and with shoulder ailments there’s no telling how long he’ll be able to stay healthy. With both McCarthy and Ryu on the shelf, the brittle Brett Anderson is currently the club’s No. 3 starter.
Scott Baker looked pretty good against the Padres on Sunday and will stick around for now as the No. 4 starter, and Mike Bolsinger should be given a chance to return after a nice spot start last week. Neither of them have much appeal in fantasy leagues, though. Joe Wieland is off to a great start at Triple-A Oklahoma City and could also be given a look. And then there’s Brandon Beachy, but he won’t be back from Tommy John surgery until at least June.
Given that they essentially have unlimited resources, a healthy farm system and a contending team, the odds of the Dodgers going after a marquee pitcher before the trade deadline would seem to be quite high, especially if Ryu is unable to escape his shoulder woes. They were one of the clubs heavily linked to Cole Hamels over the offseason.
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Bad News for Bailey
Unfortunately, McCarthy wasn’t the only notable pitcher to land on the disabled list Monday with a major elbow injury. The Reds put Homer Bailey on the DL with a right elbow sprain, which is a nice way of saying his ligament is damaged.
Bailey, of course, began the season on the disabled list while working his way back from surgery last September to repair a torn flexor mass tendon near his right elbow. He didn’t look like himself in his two outings after returning, allowing seven runs over 11 1/3 frames to go along with a 3/4 K/BB ratio. Bailey’s velocity was down and is slider was flat, and, as it turns out, he was feeling some “stiffness and soreness” after each of his starts.
"He had what you would consider typical stiffness and soreness postgame throwing in both of his starts," manager Bryan Price told MLB.com. "That's consistent with a guy coming back from an elbow injury and just consistent with a guy that's perfectly healthy. He'll have some tenderness in his elbow. We just didn't anticipate that it would eventually lead to problems that would shut him down."
The Reds don’t appear ready at this juncture to say that Bailey will have Tommy John surgery, although it’s likely inevitable.
"He certainly won't be pitching here in the near future," Price said.
The top two candidates to replace Bailey in the rotation are likely Raisel Iglesias and Michael Lorenzen. Iglesias showed some promise in a start with the Reds earlier this month, but the club sent him down in order to get stretched out and he still hasn’t gone beyond five innings in any outing. He could ideally use a little more time at Triple-A Louisville, but Bailey’s injury might force the club’s hand. After being a late cut in spring training, Lorenzen boasts a 2.84 ERA over his first three starts at Louisville. His future is probably in the bullpen, but the Reds’ lack of rotation depth could give him a shot to start with the big club. Iglesias could be an intriguing deep league option if he gets a shot.
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MRI Confirms Achilles Tear for Wainwright
The Cardinals were expecting the worst when they sent Adam Wainwright for an MRI on his left foot Monday. Their fears were confirmed, as the ace does indeed have a torn Achilles tendon and will miss the remainder of the season. Wainwright will have surgery on Thursday and will need 9-12 months of rehab, although general manager John Mozeliak expressed confidence that the ace will be ready to go for spring training next year.
"Unfortunate news, but not unexpected after what we saw on Saturday night," Mozeliak told MLB.com. "This is a fairly common injury that happens to people. But the most important part of these types of injuries is what happens after surgery. Everybody I've talked to from the medical world has just said to be patient, don't try to push it and allow it to have the proper time to heal."
The Cards will call upon either Tyler Lyons or Tim Cooney to start on Thursday against the Phillies. Cooney was scratched from a scheduled turn for Triple-A Memphis on Monday, although Mozeliak said not to read too much into it, as the club could still choose Lyons to start Thursday.
Whichever left-hander the teams opts for might only be needed for a couple starts, as another southpaw, Marco Gonzales, is viewed as the likely long-term solution for the fifth starter spot. Gonzales is currently sidelined at Memphis with a pectoral/shoulder issue but will resume throwing later this week. He should be ready for St. Louis around mid-May, provided he doesn’t have any setbacks. Speaking of setbacks, the Cards also still have Jaime Garcia (shoulder) around. Garcia is facing hitters again, but he’s still a long ways away from a return and the team would surely consider anything they can get from him a bonus. Gonzales is mixed league-worthy in fantasy leagues and Garcia would be, as well, should he make his way into the rotation.
National League Quick Hits: The Marlins designated Jarrod Saltalamacchia for assignment on Monday ... Adam Ottavino was placed on the disabled list Monday with right triceps inflammation ... Carl Crawford had to leave Monday's game against the Giants with tightness in his right side ... Tyler Matzek exited Monday's outing versus the Diamondbacks with a left hamstring cramp ... Cole Hamels yielded just one run over seven innings on Monday in a win over the Cardinals ... Gregory Polanco is considered day-to-day with tightness in his left groin ... Jay Bruce walked three times and smacked a two-run home run Monday in a win against the Brewers ... Yunel Escobar expects to miss 1-2 games with a lacerated hand ... Jason Hammel whiffed seven over eight shutout frames in Monday’s win over the Pirates ... Daniel Murphy slugging a go-ahead, three-run home run in the ninth inning of Monday’s comeback win over the Marlins ... Jarred Cosart spun eight shutout innings but took a no-decision against the Mets ... Hunter Pence (forearm) is about a week away from taking batting practice ... Domonic Brown (Achilles) could be sent to Triple-A Lehigh Valley once activated from the disabled list rather than being added to the major league roster ... Max Scherzer (thumb) was officially ruled out for Tuesday’s start but is expected to be pushed back only a couple days ... Yadier Molina (knee) went hitless in four at-bats Monday in his return to the lineup ...
American League Quite Hits: The Rangers finalized their trade for Josh Hamilton on Monday ... Jose Reyes was placed on the disabled list after Monday’s game with a small fracture in his left rib cage ... Blue Jays manager John Gibbons indicated after Monday’s game that Miguel Castro and Brett Cecil will be used in a committee at closer ... Jed Lowrie exited Monday's game against the Padres with a right thumb injury ... Taijuan Walker allowed just an unearned run in seven innings of Monday’s victory over the Rangers ... Yoenis Cespedes doubled and hit a three-run home run as the Tigers edged the Twins on Monday ... Brian McCann went 2-for-4 with a solo home run in Monday’s win over the Rays ... Corey Kluber had a rare clunker Monday, surrendering six runs -- four earned -- over 6 1/3 innings in a loss to the Royals ... Mike Moustakas pushed his batting line to .342/.419/.526 with a four-hit night on Monday ... Devon Travis clubbed his sixth home run of the season in Monday’s loss to the Red Sox ... Pablo Sandoval left Monday's game versus the Blue Jays with neck soreness but expects to play Tuesday ... Jose Bautista (shoulder) went 0-for-3 with a walk in his return to action Monday ... Alex Colome (illness) will rejoin the Rays' rotation this weekend in Baltimore ... Nick Franklin (oblique) expects to begin a minor league rehab assignment at some point this week ...