After a terrible 2014 season spent mostly on the bench, it sounded like the Dodgers couldn’t give Andre Ethier away during the offseason. Oh, how quickly things change.
Ethier continued his solid 2015 campaign with perhaps the best game of his season, hitting a pair of home runs, including a walkoff two-run blast vs. the rival Angels. The outfielder is now hitting .280-12-37 for the season in 93 games.
As usual, Ethier has seen plenty of time off this season in a platoon role, with only 29 at-bats vs. lefties as the team’s impressive bench has prevented him from being overly exposed. Ethier has hit better than .300 in three out of four months this season, though he finished July without a home run.
With Carl Crawford back from an oblique injury, it’s been important for Ethier to maintain his production in order to remain in the lineup. While his RBI and run totals have been limited with his platoon role, Ethier has successfully rehabilitated his fantasy value on a 19 home run pace.
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Norris Cuts Through Hot Knife With Butter
The Tigers acquired several notable prospects for David Price, but the most notable was Daniel Norris. The former second-round pick of the Blue Jays replaced Price in Detroit’s rotation, and promptly delivered on Sunday afternoon.
Norris dominated the Orioles in Baltimore, tossing 7.1 innings and allowing one run on four hits, walking one, and fanning five batters. His only blemish was a Chris Davis home run in the fourth inning.
Norris pitched adequately early this season in Toronto’s rotation, but was too erratic for the Blue Jays to feel comfortable with him. His struggles continued into the minors, with a 4.27 ERA and 41 walks in 90.2 innings for Triple-A Buffalo. However, Norris made two quality starts over his last three appearances in the minors before getting promoted with Detroit this week.
He has a premium arm, as evidenced by his quick ascent in 2014. Norris pitched at four different levels in one season, including the majors late last season.
While Norris consistently threw strikes in Sunday’s start, his control still seems to be a work in progress. He had a career 3.8 BB/9 in the minors that was even worse this season. The Tigers will likely give him opportunities for the remainder of this season as they look toward 2016, but the control will likely limit his short-term value to AL-only leagues.
Kipnis Could Be Headed for DL
This has been quite a rebound season for Jason Kipnis, but it could come to a short halt. Jordan Bastian of MLB.com reports Kipnis could be headed for the DL with a shoulder injury that has recently limited him to DH.
Kipnis had an MRI on the injury Sunday morning, and sat out the Indians’ game later in the afternoon. The severity of the injury remains to be seen, though the fact that Kipnis was playing through the ailment at DH is a good sign.
Veteran Mike Aviles started at second base on Sunday, and will likely see an uptick in at-bats if Kipnis is forced to miss time. Kipnis made his second All-Star team this season, and is hitting .326-6-39 with 11 steals after a rough 2014 season.
American League Quick Hits: Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said that he’d “probably” use Alex Wilson as his closer … Top prospect Henry Owens will make his major league debut on Tuesday, starting vs. the Yankees. He’s replaced Rick Porcello, who was placed on the 15-day DL with right triceps inflammation … Coco Crisp is expected to be activated from the DL on Monday … Ben Zobrist hit his third homer in two games on Sunday for the Royals … Josh Reddick is unlikely to play on Monday after tweaking his back during Sunday’s game … Mookie Betts (concussion) is feeling better and could resume baseball activities next weekend … Matt Moore will be optioned to Triple-A on Monday, and former first-round pick Richie Shaffer will be called up … Jered Weaver (hip) will make a rehab start on Tuesday … MLB Daily Dish reports the White Sox, Rangers, and Orioles are the most likely destinations for Valencia after he was designated for assignment by Toronto … Former A’s closer Sean Doolittle (shoulder) will throw a simulated game this week. He could be ready to start a rehab assignment after throwing … Kyle Blanks (Achilles) is expected to begin a rehab assignment within the next 10 days … Vidal Nuno will take J.A. Happ’s spot in Seattle’s starting rotation … Tanner Scheppers was placed on the 15-day DL by the Rangers with left knee inflammation … Tommy Milone was placed on the 15-day DL by the Twins with a mild left flexor strain. Tyler Duffey will replace him in the rotation.
National League Quick Hits: Giancarlo Stanton said his recovery from hamate bone surgery is going slower than expected. He was hoping to return in early August, but it sounds like he will miss more time … A.J. Burnett (elbow) will undergo an MRI on Monday. He’s currently on the DL … MLB.com reports Dan Haren will “probably” retire after this season … Joe Panik said he’s growing frustrated by the lack of improvement from his nagging back injury. A DL stint sounds possible … Andrelton Simmons is day-to-day with a sprained right thumb … Chase Utley (ankle) began a rehab assignment on Sunday … Kris Bryant was removed from Sunday’s game due to dizziness … Joakim Soria earned the save for the Pirates on Sunday after Mark Melancon was ejected … Kirk Nieuwenhuis was placed on the 15-day DL with a pinched nerve in his back … Carter Capps was removed from Sunday’s game with right elbow stiffness … Brandon Morrow (shoulder) will receive a second opinion this week after being scratched from his last rehab start … Zack Godfrey is moving to the bullpen in order to conserve his innings when Chase Anderson (triceps) returns from the DL.