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Baseball Daily Dose

Daily Dose: Down Goes DeJong

by David Shovein
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

Down Goes DeJong

Cardinals’ manager Mike Matheny didn’t think much of it when Paul DeJong was hit on the left hand by a pitch from Phillies’ reliever Luis Garcia. DeJong trotted down to first base and didn’t show any signs of any serious injury. He remained in the game, and even took his next at-bat in the ninth inning where he lined out to the shortstop.

Unfortunately, postgame X-rays revealed the surprisingly bad news that DeJong had broken his left hand.

Matheny told reporters on Friday, “You’re always worried when guys get hit in the wrist or the hand, knowing it’s fragile,... to be honest with you when he got to first base I didn’t think much about it because he didn’t think much about it. … It actually kind of went past us because he handled the pain as well as he did.”

DeJong was scheduled to undergo surgery on Friday night, where doctors planned to insert a plate in his hand. The Cardinals have yet to name a definitive timetable for his return, but general manager John Mozeliak said that had he not undergone the surgery he would have likely been sidelined for 8-to-12 weeks.

Mozeliak also expressed his disappointment to reporters, “A lot of adjectives come to mind; disappointing, frustrating, tough to navigate.. that part is a struggle for us to manage, but there is no pity party for us. We’re going to play a game tonight and our expectations are to win it. The guys we roll out there we expect to play at a major-league level.”

His loss will be difficult for the Cardinals to absorb. DeJong had been the only Cardinal to play in every game this season and he’s their team leader with eight home runs while hitting .260 with 19 RBI.

Jedd Gyorko will seemingly be the biggest beneficiary here from a fantasy perspective, as he’s expected to draw the bulk of the starts at shortstop while DeJong is sidelined. Matheny confirmed as much, saying that the club’s offense will be the driving factor behind who gets work in DeJong’s absence.

Yairo Munoz was recalled from Triple-A Memphis on Friday and will also see action there, though he remains largely irrelevant in most fantasy leagues.

Matheny, ever the optimist, remained upbeat and chose to look on the bright side of the situation going forward, “I love the challenge our club has in front of us right now… I believe any of the doubt that is out there right now about what we can do is an insult. We take it that way. We’ve got guys who are completely capable of going out there and doing special things… There’s so much room for us to climb and grow and get better. I can’t wait to watch it happen.”

While it’s easy for him to remain upbeat and use the “next man up” approach, it’ll be far more difficult for fantasy owners to replace DeJong’s power production. If indeed Gyorko sees the lion’s share of the at-bats at the position, he makes for a viable pickup if he’s available. Another decent option that is available in over 70 percent of Yahoo leagues is Brandon Crawford. The Giants’ shortstop is slashing .291/.325/.424 with three homers and 15 RBI in his 43 games. Dansby Swanson, who will be activated from the disabled list on Saturday, is another intriguing option if available.

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Jacob deGrom’s return from the disabled list did not go well on Sunday, as the right-hander labored through one inning of work, issuing three walks along the way. It led to some speculation that he still wasn’t right physically and was rushed back from the disabled list too quickly after dealing with a hyperextended right elbow.

The Mets’ right-hander silenced those doubters on Friday.

DeGrom was electrifying in Friday’s victory over the Diamondbacks, matching his career-high with 13 strikeouts over seven innings of one-run baseball. It’s the third time this season, and 24th time in his career, that deGrom has reached double-digit strikeouts in a game.

He scattered just six hits in the contest and didn’t walk a batter. The only blemish on his brilliant outing was an RBI double by Jake Lamb in the sixth inning that snapped his career-best 24 ⅓ inning scoreless streak.

Mets’ catcher Devin Mesoraco was certainly impressed with what he saw from deGrom on Friday, telling reporters, "He has about six putaway pitches… he's got so many weapons that they can't really look for one. And he had them all going today."

Mets’ manager Mickey Callaway had some reservations about putting him back out there for the seventh inning, but ultimately let the right-hander go back to the mound. ''I was a little worried that he would tire out, just because he's had such a crazy schedule… I was hesitant to put him back out there (in the seventh), but he really wanted it so we let him go back out and he did a great job.''

DeGrom now sits at 4-0 on the season. He has won each of his first four decisions for the first time in his career and owns an outstanding 1.75 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and 69/14 K/BB ratio over 51 ⅓ innings on the season.

Souza Sidelined

Steven Souza Jr. was a breakout star of the 2017 fantasy season, as he managed to stay (relatively) healthy for the first time in his career. He clubbed a career-best 30 home runs while slashing .239/.351/.459 with 78 runs scored, 78 RBI and 16 stolen bases.

With the move to a better lineup and a much more favorable home ballpark, many prognosticators predicted big things for Souza Jr. in 2018. Unfortunately, his season got derailed before it began, suffering a right pectoral strain during spring training that caused him to begin the season on the disabled list.

He didn’t make his Diamondbacks’ debut until May 3 and has shown signs of rust since returning. Through his first 13 games, he’s hitting just .167/.239/.190 with no homers, one RBI, one stolen base and a 12/4 K/BB ratio in 46 plate appearances.

Now, he could be heading back to the disabled list.

Souza Jr. was removed from Friday’s game against the Mets due to renewed soreness in his right pectoral muscle. He said afterwards that the injury didn’t feel as bad as the one he suffered during the spring, but was noticeably dejected over the situation.

He’ll undergo an MRI on Saturday to determine the severity of the injury, but fantasy owners should prepare to be without him for a few days at a minimum and what could be another extended absence.

American League Quick Hits: Avisail Garcia (hamstring) made it through some outfield drills on Friday, but is still a long ways away from a return to the White Sox… The Orioles released outfielder Alex PresleyMatt Duffy (hamstring) is on track to return to the Rays on Saturday… Carlos Gomez (groin) is hopeful that he’ll be able to return from the disabled list as soon as he’s eligible… Cole Hamels (neck) is hoping to make his scheduled start on Saturday against the White Sox… The Blue Jays put Jaime Garcia on the 10-day disabled list with inflammation in his pitching shoulder. Sam Gaviglio will take his place in the rotation… Teoscar Hernandez (back) is expected to return to the Jays’ lineup on Saturday… Ervin Santana (finger) will make his first extended spring training start on Tuesday… Miguel Sano (hamstring) will begin a minor league rehab assignment at Triple-A Rochester on Saturday… Josh Reddick was scratched from the Astros’ starting lineup on Friday due to left leg irritation… Justin Upton (hand) is unable  to grip a bat yet and expected to miss a couple of games… The Rangers signed Cliff Pennington to a minor league contract… David Hale elected free agency after getting designated for assignment by the Yankees earlier in the week… Brett Anderson was removed from Friday’s start against the Blue Jays after one inning due to tightness in his shoulder and is likely headed to the disabled list… Dustin Fowler belted his first career home run and swiped a base in a victory over the Blue Jays… Nick Delmonico fractured the third metacarpal in his right hand when he was hit by a pitch on Friday and is expected to miss the next 4-to-6 weeks… Mookie Betts clubbed his 14th home run of the season, tying him with Manny Machado for the major league lead… Charlie Morton improved to 6-0, striking out eight over seven innings of one-run ball against the Indians… Whit Merrifield went 3-for-4 and swiped three bases in a win over the Yankees… Joe Mauer left Friday’s game with a stiff neck and could miss the remainder of the weekend series… Shin-Soo Choo belted a grand slam as the Rangers routed the White Sox… Wilson Ramos homered twice and plated three runs as the Rays beat the Angels...Mike Trout socked his 13th dinger in a losing effort.

National League Quick Hits: Friday’s game between the Nationals and Dodgers was postponed due to rain. It’ll be made up as part of a doubleheader on Saturday… The Padres released veteran third baseman Chase HeadleyAlex Reyes (elbow) is expected to make two more minor league rehab starts before joining the Cardinals, perhaps as early as May 29… The Rockies have considered calling up prospect Garrett Hampson to man second base while DJ LeMahieu is sidelined… The Dodgers claimed Erik Goeddel off of waivers from the Mariners… Clayton Kershaw (biceps) had an aggressive throwing session from 120 feet on Friday and could soon be cleared to resume throwing from the mound… Juan Lagares landed on the 10-day disabled list with a hyperextended left big toe… Dansby Swanson (wrist) will be activated from the disabled list on Saturday… Robbie Erlin will start for the Padres on Monday in place of the injured Joey LucchesiJason Vargas will return to the Mets’ rotation on Monday against the Marlins… Illness has prevented Daniel Murphy (knee) from playing in any extended  spring training games yet… Mac Williamson (concussion) began a minor league rehab assignment with Triple-A Sacramento on Friday… Clay Buchholz will start for the Diamondbacks on Saturday against the Mets… Brandon Belt sat out Friday’s contest due to knee soreness… Carlos Martinez (lat) will resume his throwing program on Monday after a follow-up MRI exam revealed encouraging results… The Mets signed Eqequiel Carrera and Christian Colon to minor league deals... Michael Conforto went 4-for-4 with a pair of RBI in a win over the Diamondbacks...Austin Meadows went 2-for-4 with a pair of singles and a stolen base in his MLB debut against the Padres… Dan Straily fired seven shutout innings in a victory over the Braves… Jorge Alfaro left Friday’s game with right knee soreness. He’s considered day-to-day… Jesus Aguilar belted a pair of home runs and drove in three as the Brewers topped the Twins… Ian Desmond swatted a three-run homer, leading the Rockies past the Giants… Jose Martinez went 4-for-5 with a homer and five RBI as the Cardinals crushed the Phillies… Addison Russell went 4-for-4 and stole a base as the Cubs beat the Reds…. Jon Lester fanned eight over six innings of one-run baseball in that victory.

David Shovein

Dave Shovein is a baseball writer for NBC Sports Edge. You can follow him on Twitter @DaveShovein.