Don’t ever get into a boxing match with an inanimate object, kids. They are undefeated.
Giants closer Hunter Strickland learned that lesson the hard way on Monday night, as he fractured his right (pitching) hand when he punched a door out of frustration following an ugly blown save against the Marlins. The 29-year-old right-hander faced six batters and gave up three earned runs on three hits and two walks in a 5-4 loss for San Francisco, but he made a bad night even worse in the aftermath.
Strickland will undergo surgery and is expected to be sidelined for the next 6-8 weeks.
This was shaping up as a breakout year in some ways for the longtime Giants setup man, who was anointed as the team’s ninth-inning man on Opening Day with Mark Melancon still battling lingering arm issues. Strickland had tallied 13 saves alongside a 2.84 ERA, with Monday’s ugly outing included.
Melancon was activated from the disabled list at the beginning of June and has fared well in a lower-leverage role over the last three weeks. He could eventually reclaim the closer gig, but Giants manager Bruce Bochy told reporters Tuesday that Tony Watson and Sam Dyson will handle the bulk of save opportunities for now, with the expectation that one of them might run away with the job.
Dyson got the first crack Tuesday with Watson taking a scheduled night off and induced a game-ending double play from Brian Anderson to seal a 6-3 victory for San Francisco.
Dyson holds an impressive 2.45 ERA and 0.97 WHIP in 33 innings this season and could very well be the preferred option, but Watson is also worth adding in most fantasy leagues. The 33-year-old left-hander has posted a 1.87 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, and 40/6 K/BB ratio across 33 2/3 innings.
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Crawford Out Another 4-6 Weeks
Phillies infielder J.P. Crawford didn’t punch a door, but he did suffer a fractured left hand in Tuesday night’s game against the Cardinals when he was struck by a Luke Weaver pitch in the bottom of the fourth inning. The 23-year-old just spent over a month on the disabled list with a right forearm strain and is now expected to be sidelined for another 4-6 weeks.
Crawford has mostly struggled offensively this season, but he did have a .410 on-base percentage in 40 plate appearances since returning to the Phillies’ active roster on June 6, courtesy of six hits and seven walks. For the year, he’s slashing .194/.312/.333 with two home runs and two stolen bases in 34 games. Phillies manager Gabe Kapler wanted to see more -- so much so that he had been starting Crawford at third base over Maikel Franco, with Scott Kingery continuing to get the bulk of playing time at shortstop.
The injury to Crawford likely means a return to an everyday role for Franco, who has posted a disappointing .245 batting average and .290 on-base percentage in 221 plate appearances this season while struggling defensively at the hot corner. He does have decent raw power -- .417 SLG, 9 HR, 36 RBI in 62 games this year -- and he might have some rejuvenated value in mixed fantasy leagues given that the Phillies now must lean heavily on him for at least the next month.
Kershaw Set For One Rehab Outing
The Dodgers split a day-night doubleheader with the Cubs on Tuesday at Wrigley Field, moving to 12-4 since the beginning of June and 22-8 over their last 30 games dating back to May 17.
In another positive development, the reigning NL champs are about to get their ace back.
Clayton Kershaw is scheduled to make a minor league rehab start on Saturday at Triple-A Oklahoma City and should return to the Dodgers’ rotation five or six days later if all goes smoothly in that outing. The 30-year-old left-hander has been limited to eight major league starts this season due to back and biceps issues, but he’s been his typical Kershaw self when healthy -- or close to it -- delivering a 2.76 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, and 53/11 K/BB ratio in 49 innings.
His return will likely come next weekend at Dodger Stadium against the visiting Rockies.
National League Quick Hits: Cubs closer Brandon Morrow was unavailable for Tuesday’s doubleheader against the Dodgers due to back tightness … Trea Turner had a monster night at the plate Tuesday, going 4-for-4 with a solo home run in the Nationals' win over the Orioles … Nationals placed Matt Adams on the 10-day disabled list with a fractured left index finger … Stephen Strasburg (shoulder) still hasn't resumed throwing … Travis Shaw (wrist) remained out of the Brewers' starting lineup Tuesday against the Pirates … Ronald Acuna (knee) is expected to begin a minor league rehab assignment "sooner than later” … Mike Foltynewicz (triceps) is tentatively scheduled to come off the disabled list Sunday … Matt Carpenter hit a two-run double and a go-ahead solo homer Tuesday in the Cardinals’ defeat of the Phillies … Freddy Peralta was excellent in his return to the majors Tuesday, fanning seven over six scoreless frames in the Brewers’ victory over the Pirates … Yu Darvish (triceps) is scheduled to throw a simulated game Wednesday … Johan Camargo went 4-for-5 with a grand slam and five RBI as the Braves crushed the Blue Jays on Tuesday … Mets placed outfielder Jay Bruce on the 10-day disabled list, retroactive to June 18, with a hip injury … Odubel Herrera homered for the third day in a row in the Phillies' loss to the Cardinals on Tuesday … Mike Montgomery held the Dodgers to one run over six innings Tuesday as the Cubs won in extra innings in the second game of a doubleheader … Austin Meadows is day-to-day with a sore right foot … Joey Votto hit a grand slam and walked twice versus the Tigers on Tuesday … Corey Knebel struck out a pair in a scoreless ninth inning to notch a save Tuesday in Pittsburgh … Franchy Cordero (forearm) was pulled off his rehab assignment after feeling something in his elbow on a swing two days ago … Rich Hill’s return to Dodgers’ rotation Tuesday proved fruitful, as he tossed six scoreless innings and settled for a no-decision against the Cubs … A.J. Ramos will undergo season-ending surgery Wednesday for a torn labrum in his right shoulder … Dan Straily was ejected from Tuesday's game against the Giants after hitting Buster Posey with a pitch in the bottom of the second inning … Nick Williams has been diagnosed with a broken nose, but is expected to avoid the disabled list … Brandon Kintzler (forearm) has begun throwing on flat ground … Zach Davies (shoulder) threw 31 pitches over 1 2/3 innings in his first minor league rehab start Tuesday with Triple-A Colorado Springs … Martin Prado (hamstring) is expected to return to the Marlins before the All-Star break … Cardinals placed reliever Matt Bowman on the 10-day disabled list with blisters on his right index and middle fingers.
American League Quick Hits: Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Tuesday that there is no timetable for Chris Davis' return to the starting lineup … Josh Donaldson (calf) is expected to require a short minor league rehab assignment before returning to the Blue Jays' active roster … Mike Clevinger fanned 10 while limiting the White Sox to one run in 7 2/3 innings in a victory Tuesday … Eduardo Escobar had a two-run double and an RBI single as the Twins topped the Red Sox on Tuesday … Brett Gardner (knee) was held out of the Yankees’ lineup again on Tuesday against the Mariners … Dustin Pedroia (knee) is not close to beginning baseball activities … Francisco Liriano (hamstring) will indeed be activated from the disabled list this weekend … Matt Chapman got a cortisone injection for his sore right hand on Tuesday … Domingo German limited the Mariners to two runs – one earned – across seven innings Tuesday in the Yankees’ victory … Marcus Stroman (shoulder) is expected to make his return from the disabled list this weekend against the Angels … Aaron Hicks went 3-for-4 with a two-run home run in the Yankees’ win over the Mariners on Tuesday … Cole Hamels held the Royals to an unearned run over seven innings to win Tuesday … Drew Pomeranz (biceps, neck) played long toss in the outfield on Tuesday … Steve Pearce (oblique) hit a three-run homer in his third rehab game Tuesday at Triple-A Buffalo … Keone Kela pitched a perfect ninth for his 17th save Tuesday against the Royals … Orioles designated veteran slugger Pedro Alvarez for assignment … Blue Jays placed right-hander Sam Gaviglio on the paternity leave list … Matt Joyce (back) is on track to return to the Athletics' active roster this weekend … Byron Buxton (toe) went 0-for-4 in his first rehab game Tuesday with Triple-A Rochester … Tim Beckham (groin) is expected to come off the 60-day disabled list on Saturday … Ervin Santana (finger) threw a 35-pitch bullpen session on Tuesday … Sergio Romo retired two of the three Astros he faced for his fourth save Tuesday … Rangers optioned right-hander Yohander Mendez to Triple-A Round Rock after a violation of team rules; recalled Austin Bibens-Dirkx to start in his place Wednesday against the Royals … Orioles reliever Richard Bleier underwent season-ending surgery for his Grade 3 left lat tear on Tuesday … Tigers reliever Drew VerHagen is likely headed to the disabled list after suffering a broken nose on Tuesday night … Chris Tillman (back) will begin a minor league rehab assignment Wednesday with Low-A Aberdeen … Chris Young was removed from Tuesday's game against the Diamondbacks due to a hamstring injury … Colby Rasmus (hip) could be activated off the 60-day disabled list on Thursday … Daniel Norris (groin) is scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Wednesday in Lakeland, Florida.