Another day, another throwdown between the Royals and an American League foe.
Less than a week after Yordano Ventura got tossed for hitting Brett Lawrie with a pitch -- the third straight start in which Ventura left before throwing his 88th pitch -- Ventura was in the middle of the action again Thursday against the White Sox. The young right-hander hit Jose Abreu in the fourth inning, an act that, purposeful or not, drew retaliation from White Sox ace Chris Sale in the form of a high fastball off the chest of Mike Moustakas.
That could have been the end of it -- Ventura hit the White Sox' best player, so Sale hit, uh, Mike Moustakas -- but Ventura wasn't finished. The 23-year-old fielded a weak grounder from Adam Eaton to end the seventh inning, and he took the opportunity to whisper the secret word to Eaton as he ran down the first-base line.
Benches cleared and punches, mostly of the unlanded variety, were thrown as tempers flared. Jeff Samardzija and Lorenzo Cain needed to be restrained. When the dust settled, Ventura, Sale, Samardzija, Cain and Edinson Volquez -- who took a swing at Samardzija as the pitcher was falling to the ground -- were ejected.
The incident was the third such involving Ventura already this season. On April 12, Ventura and Mike Trout got into it for reasons unknown to anyone besides Ventura, with catcher Salvador Perez having to intervene before things escalated.
Intensity is one thing, but idiocy is quite another. Ventura continues to show his youth, but his high-90s fastball is a weapon he wields too freely. Ventura skated after previous incidents, but Major League Baseball may not be so forgiving for his involvement in Thursday's spat.
Bautista Feeling Better
Jose Bautista may not be back in the Blue Jays' lineup this weekend, but it shouldn't be 15 days before we see the slugger, either.
Bautista, who has missed two straight games with a strained right shoulder, could miss a few more games in the coming days, but Jays manager John Gibbons said he doesn't think a trip to the disabled list is in the cards at this juncture.
"I don't think we're going to have to DL him, he's feeling much better today," Gibbons said. "Maybe it's only a couple more days. When he comes back, it'll be primarily as a DH for a few days."
Bautista had been dealing with soreness in the shoulder for roughly a week before aggravating the injury in Tuesday's game. The 34-year-old hurt the shoulder trying to throw Delmon Young out at first base on a single to the outfield.
The injury is a complement to the insult that has been the majority of Bautista's first month at the plate. Bautista is batting .149/.322/.426 through 47 at-bats, having hit safely in just five of his 14 games.
Daily fantasy players and owners in leagues with daily lineups should monitor Bautista's progress over the next few days. Owners in weekly leagues are safe to leave the masher in their lineups, as it appears he'll be back and ready to go by the start of next week at the latest.
Corey Dickerson isn't at 100 percent, but you wouldn't know it by watching him hit.
The 25-year-old outfielder is battling plantar fasciitis in his left foot, an affliction that forced him to leave Monday's game and kept him out Tuesday as well. Since his return Wednesday, all Dickerson has done is hit three home runs, including a game-winning homer Thursday.
Dickerson's success isn't terribly surprising after he batted .312/.364/.567 with 24 homers and 76 RBI last season, but it's perhaps surprising in how quickly he's become a bonafide star. At this point last season, Dickerson had started just four games in the Rockies outfield. What a difference a year makes.
An unquestioned starter and middle-of-the-order hitter on a Rockies team that has no shortage of middle-of-the-order-caliber hitters, Dickerson is hitting .321/.367/.679 with five home runs and 13 RBI through his first 16 games this season. Through Thursday's games, Dickerson is third in the National League in homers, fourth in slugging percentage and OPS, sixth in RBI and seventh in runs scored.
And there's no reason to expect less from the 25-year-old going forward. Dickerson should continue to hit in a run-producing position in the lineup, and with guys like Carlos Gonzalez, Troy Tulowitzki and Nolan Arenado hitting in front of him there's every reason to believe Dickerson will improve on his 2014 numbers. The plantar fasciitis may have something to say about that, but it appears to be the only thing capable of slowing him down at this point.
National League Quick Hits: Rumors have suggested as much in recent days, but Padres manager Bud Black made it official Thursday, saying Ian Kennedy will be activated from the disabled list to start Saturday's game against the Dodgers. Kennedy has been out since his first start of the season with a left hamstring strain ... Rafael Soriano's agent, Scott Boras, told reporters Thursday that calls on his client are "increasing." Soriano is out of work after faltering down the stretch with the Nationals last season, but the 35-year-old might still have something left in the tank to offer a bullpen in need of help ... John Axford was called on to record the save for the Rockies Thursday, causing some to wonder whether he, not Adam Ottavino, will get save chances moving forward. After the game, Rockies manager Walt Weiss said he wanted to give Ottavino the day off to combat what Ottavino described as usual soreness. Nothing to see here, it seems ... Matt Carpenter is another hitter who can't be stopped in the early stages of the season. The third baseman had two more hits Thursday, against Max Scherzer no less, to push his hitting streak to 10 games. Carpenter is hitting .386/.444/.684 with three home runs, 11 RBI and 13 runs scored on the year ... Martin Prado batted second and made it count Thursday, finishing 3-for-5 with four RBI and a run scored in a win over the Phillies. Prado raised his overall line to .300/.328/.400 with the standout performance, and he may have bought himself some more looks hitting between speedy Dee Gordon and powerful Giancarlo Stanton in the Marlins' lineup, a prime spot to be ... Marlon Byrd broke through for his first home run of the year Thursday. It was one of his only hits this season, as the outfielder is hitting .115 through Thursday's game ... Daniel Murphy had four RBI in Thursday's defeat of the Braves. The win was the Mets' 11th in a row and completed their first-ever 10-0 homestand ... one of two walk-off hits on the day belonged to Justin Maxwell, whose RBI single gave the Giants a 10-inning win over and subsequent sweep of the rival Dodgers. Maxwell is hitting .300/.400/.500 in 35 plate appearances in Hunter Pence's stead.
American League Quick Hits: An injury scare turned out to be a forearm cramp for Steven Souza on Wednesday, and the outfielder was back in the Rays' lineup for Thursday's series finale against the Red Sox. Souza is needed by the Rays, as he's hitting .268/.349/.536 with four homers and four steals through 16 games ... Manny Machado tried his best to lift the Orioles past the Blue Jays, but his two-homer, four-RBI night wasn't enough. The homers were his second and third of the season, and Machado now has 11 RBI while hitting just .218/.281/.418 ... Shane Victorino left Wednesday's game with a tight right hamstring, and the outfielder sat out Thursday as well. It was a scheduled day off prior to the ailment, so he could be back in the lineup as early as Friday ... Jacoby Ellsbury recently caught flak for not driving in a run before Wednesday's game, but he managed to score both the Yankees' runs in Thursday's win. Ellsbury went 1-for-2 with a double, two walks and a steal to raise his line to .286/.384/.317 ... Nick Tropeano, filling in while Matt Shoemaker is on the bereavement list, fired six shutout innings to earn the win over the Athletics. With Garrett Richards now back and Shoemaker expected to return next week the club doesn't appear to have an opening in its rotation, but Tropeano may have pitched well enough that the 6-9 Angels would be remiss not to give him another start in five days.