As if an 0-8 start wasn’t bad enough ...
Before losing yet again Wednesday night against the White Sox -- this time in 3-0 shutout fashion -- the Twins announced that closer Glen Perkins was being placed on the 15-day disabled list because of a left posterior shoulder strain. Perkins fell apart down the stretch in 2015 and blew his first save opportunity of the season Sunday in Kansas City, yielding two runs on three hits in the bottom of the ninth inning. He showed diminished velocity all spring and carried that into April. And now it’s anyone’s guess when we might see the left-handed stopper again as shoulder injuries don’t lend themselves to predictability.
The first fill-in for save chances will probably be Kevin Jepsen, who got off to a rough start this season but registered an impressive 2.33 ERA and 1.13 WHIP in 69 2/3 innings last year between Tampa Bay and Minnesota. He also vultured 15 saves.
The 31-year-old righty had a 2.63 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, and 75 strikeouts in 65 innings with the Angels in 2014.
If the Jepsen experiment doesn’t work, next up could be former top prospect Trevor May, who seems to have found a comfort zone in the bullpen after trying to make it a starter. The 26-year-old right-hander owns a career 3.20 ERA and 11.2 K/9 as a reliever. He had a 5.61 ERA and 8.2 K/9 while starting.
Perkins shouldn’t be dropped in leagues until there is a more official diagnosis and a better idea about a recovery timetable. But it’s a safe guess that he is going to be on the shelf for an extended period of time.
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Conley Coming Into His Own
Marlins left-hander Adam Conley was one of our favorite fantasy sleepers for 2016 here at Rotoworld. He had a rough, rain-shortened season debut last week against the Nationals, but the 25-year-old got nice weather for his second start Wednesday afternoon at Citi Field in New York and he celebrated the sunshine by striking out nine Mets over six scoreless innings in a no-decision. Conley walked one and yielded only four total hits, all singles. Miami wound up losing 2-1 when reliever Dustin McGowan gave up two runs in the seventh.
Conley registered a 3.76 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, and 59/21 K/BB ratio over his first 67 major league innings last season and then displayed an uptick in fastball velocity this spring in the Grapefruit League, posting a 1.86 ERA across three appearances. The former second-round pick (2011, out of Washington State) has done nothing but show improvement over the last 12 months and he’s looking like a must-own in all standard fantasy leagues moving forward.
Conley totaled 174 innings last year between Triple-A and the majors, so he shouldn’t have a workload limit.
Olivera Arrested In The D.C. Area
Put another case on the docket for Major League Baseball’s new initiative to curb domestic violence.
Braves outfielder Hector Olivera was taken into custody early Wednesday morning in Arlington, Virginia after a woman called 911 from the Ritz Carlton Hotel at Pentagon City to report an assault. A few hours later, it was revealed that Olivera was being charged with misdemeanor assault and battery. Major League Baseball has placed him on administrative leave until it can conduct an investigation of its own. There is no timetable for Olivera’s return to the Braves’ active roster.
The 31-year-old Cuban defector has mostly disappointed since signing a six-year, $62.5 million contract with the Dodgers in March 2015. Los Angeles traded him to Atlanta last July as part of a three-team, 13-player deal and he’s batted just .245/.296/.378 over his first 108 major league plate appearances.
If you drafted Olivera in an NL-only fantasy league, it’s probably fine to go ahead and dump him. Even if he is not convicted of assaulting that woman, a lengthy suspension is undoubtedly coming. Kelly Johnson and Jeff Francoeur will share time in left field for the Braves for the foreseeable future. This might also mean that young speedster Mallex Smith can outlast Ender Inciarte’s (hamstring) return from the disabled list.
National League Quick Hits: Giants catcher Buster Posey was held out for a second straight game Wednesday with a bruised right foot … Stephen Strasburg was scratched from his scheduled start Wednesday night against the Braves due to the flu, but he is hoping to start Thursday’s series finale … Jacob deGrom (lat) will meet up with the Mets in Cleveland on Friday and try to throw a side session … Phillies right-hander Jerad Eickhoff dazzled on Wednesday with nine strikeouts and no walks in seven scoreless innings against the Padres … Reds shortstop Zack Cozart remains day-to-day with tightness in his lower right quad … Mets right-hander Logan Verrett tossed six shutout innings in a spot start Wednesday against the Marlins … Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon locked down his fifth save of the season in a victory over the Braves on Wednesday night in D.C. … Nolan Arenado went 4-for-5 with two homers, a double, and seven RBI in leading the Rockies past the Giants on Wednesday … Cardinals infielder Ruben Tejada (quad) will begin a minor league rehab assignment with Double-A Springfield on Thursday … Jung Ho Kang (knee) has been medically cleared to play in extended spring training games without restriction … Brewers closer Jeremy Jeffress earned his fourth save of the season Wednesday versus the Cardinals … Giants setup man Sergio Romo is heading back to San Francisco to have his elbow examined … Brewers shortstop Jonathan Villar is day-to-day with a minor ankle injury … Alex Wood fired seven innings of one-run ball Wednesday as the Dodgers downed the Diamondbacks … Phillies first baseman Darin Ruf remains day-to-day with a contusion on his left shoulder … Cardinals left-hander Marco Gonzales will undergo Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery … Pirates designated 1B/OF Michael Morse for assignment … Braves released veteran outfielder Michael Bourn.
American League Quick Hits: Orioles center fielder Adam Jones was held out of the starting lineup again on Wednesday because of oblique discomfort, but the hope is that he will finally be able to return Thursday … Mike Trout went 3-for-5 with a double, a stolen base, and three runs scored Wednesday in the Angels’ win over the A’s … Red Sox backup third baseman Pablo Sandoval was placed on the disabled list Wednesday with a left shoulder sprain … Yankees catcher Brian McCann remains day-to-day with a bruised foot … Mariners first baseman Dae Ho Lee connected for a walk-off two-run homer in the 10th inning of Wednesday's defeat of the Rangers … Aroldis Chapman threw a perfect inning Wednesday at extended spring training … Carlos Carrasco cruised through eight innings against Tampa Bay on Wednesday, allowing a single run and striking out eight … Yu Darvish (elbow) threw a successful round of live batting practice Wednesday in Arlington, Texas … Blue Jays lefty J.A. Happ only allowed one run in six innings of work against the Yankees on Wednesday, picking up his first win of the season ... Mariners setup man Joaquin Benoit (shoulder) is expected to be available Friday … With usual closer Wade Davis getting the night off, Joakim Soria pitched a scoreless ninth for his first save on Wednesday versus the Astros … Rangers catcher Chris Gimenez (ankle) has resumed throwing … Henderson Alvarez (shoulder) will throw a simulated game Friday in Oakland … Tigers catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia slugged a grand slam in the Tigers’ defeat of the Pirates on Wednesday … Rays right-hander Chase Whitley (elbow) made 20 throws from a half-mound on Tuesday … Blue Jays recalled switch-pitcher Pat Venditte … Red Sox optioned OF Rusney Castillo to Triple-A Pawtucket.