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Baseball Daily Dose

Daily Dose: September Calls

by Nathan Grimm
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

If Friday was the last chance for a contending club to add some new blood, Saturday was an opportunity for contenders and pretenders alike to promote some fresh faces.


Friday's waiver trade deadline preceded team rosters expanding Saturday, and most all clubs made additions to bolster their postseason run or, in the case of teams playing for 2019, to give them a chance to see what they've got in some young players.


The biggest name getting the call was Kyle Wright, the No. 5 overall player in the 2017 MLB Draft. Wright is the latest in a line of young, talented Braves pitchers to make it to the big leagues. Wright earned the call after posting a 3.46 ERA with 133 strikeouts in 138 innings between Double-A and Triple-A this season.


“Anything is possible,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said of the Braves' use of Wright, “but right now we just foresee him coming out of the bullpen.” 


For Wright, this month offers an opportunity to prove himself ahead of a potentially impactful role in 2019. For others, September will offer a chance at redemption. Domingo Santana, who slugged 30 homers with 85 RBI and 88 runs scored in a breakout 2017 season before struggling through much of this season's first half, was recalled Saturday and will have a chance to make a positive impact on the Brewers' playoff push. Similarly, Aaron Altherr, who lost playing time and eventually his roster spot after struggles earlier this year, was called up by the Phillies to help with their march toward October.


Finally, one of the more interesting promotions was a shrewd move by the NL Central-leading Cubs. Last month, the club acquired speedy Terrance Gore from the Royals, calling him up Saturday. Gore, as he's been deployed in past Septembers and, during two deep postseason runs with the Royals in 2014 and 2015, October as well, will be used primarily as a pinch-runner down the stretch. Gore has 21 career steals and just 14 plate appearances to his name.


For fans of call-ups, don't fret -- more are coming in the approaching days as minor league seasons come to a close.


Buxton Told His 2018 Season Is Over


Some of the day's biggest news was also about who *wasn't* called up.


Byron Buxton, who has been limited to just 28 major league games this year due to injury and ineffectiveness, got news late Saturday that he's taken his last major league at-bat in 2018. Buxton finishes the 2018 season with a .156/.183/.200 line in just 28 games played at the major league level.


Twins general manager Thad Levine said a left wrist injury has continued to bother Buxton despite his ability recently to play through it. That, along with concerns about his on-field performance and a lack of available playing time in the majors, contributed to the Twins' decision to see Buxton's season end.


They weren't the only reasons, though. While Buxton will be eligible for salary arbitration for the first time this offseason, he will fall 13 days shy of the service time threshold that would give him three full years in the majors. As such, the Twins are able to gain an extra year of club control over Buxton by keeping him under that threshold.


“I think part of our jobs is we’re supposed to be responsible to factoring service time into every decision we make,” Levine said. “I still feel pretty resolute in saying that the other three factors were more present for us in this decision-making process than that. We wouldn’t be doing our jobs if we weren’t at least aware of service-time impacts on decisions we make.”


Buxton remains supremely talented and is still just 24 years old. A healthy, motivated Buxton could be a post-hype sleeper heading into the 2019 season.


Upton Day To Day With Mild Concussion


Justin Upton can't catch a break.


Days after returning from the disabled list for a finger he cut on a wine glass, Upton left Saturday's game against the Astros after hitting his head on the outfield grass while trying to avoid teammate Andrelton Simmons. Simmons, coming out from his shortstop position, made the catch while Upton scrambled to get out of the way, slipping and falling in the process.


The team said Upton is day to day.


"With Justin, he knows he's got to get into kind of a slide to make that catch because Andrelton is coming full bore. I think he was focused on the ball," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "I think he hit his head on the turf, or hit hard on the turf and it jolted him because there was no contact between him and Andrelton. There's no doubt that your heart kind of skips a beat for a second, and you're obviously worried about both guys.


"Andrelton made an incredible play, and Justin was there too to try to make the catch. Unfortunately, he came away with a little concussion. Thank God they didn't hit, that would have been worse."


Concussions affect everyone differently, so while the team is saying Upton's is mild it's hard to say when to expect him back in the lineup. Upton owners should check back Sunday before setting their lineups.


National League Quick Hits: Cubs activated 3B Kris Bryant from the 10-day disabled list. Bryant missed the better part of two months with a left shoulder injury but went through the rehab and recently completed a rehab assignment without issue. He was immediately inserted back into the Cubs lineup Saturday, playing third base and batting fifth against the Phillies, finishing the day 2-for-4 with a run scored ... Hunter Renfroe slugged a pair of solo home runs as his team fell to the Rockies on Saturday. Renfroe has been surging at the plate in recent weeks and now has an .830 OPS for the season ... Nick Kingham will start Sunday's game against the Braves in place of Ivan Nova. Nova, the scheduled starter, is away from the team for a personal issue, the Pirates announced Saturday. Kingham has made two relief appearances since being recalled on August 25 after serving as a starter during his first go-round with the club. He may be able to give the club five innings but against a good Braves team we're not going to recommend the 26-year-old too strongly as a streaming option ... Luis Castillo racked up a career-high 11 strikeouts across 6 2/3 shutout innings Saturday in the Reds’ 4-0 victory over the Cardinals. Castillo was pitching on six days’ rest and certainly looked fresh, taming a red-hot Cardinals lineup. He has a nice matchup next week versus the Padres ... Jeff Brigham will start and make his MLB debut Sunday against the Blue Jays. Brigham posted a 2.36 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 94/22 K/BB ratio across 95 1/3 innings in the minors this year, and now the Marlins want to see what he can do at the highest level. The Jays are beatable and even with this being the 26-year-old's debut, there's some streaming appeal here ... Wei-Yin Chen held the Blue Jays to one run on three hits over eight innings in a win on Saturday. He struck out seven batters without issuing a base-on-balls. He improves to 6-9 with a 4.64 ERA after 22 starts. He has 92 strikeouts and 40 walks in 114 1/3 innings.


American League Quick Hits: Yankees' general manager Brian Cashman said Saturday that the expectation is that Aroldis Chapman (knee) will return this season, but that they can't be sure. Cashman noted that no surgical concerns have been raised, but the timetable for his recovery from tendinitis in his left knee still looks incredibly murky. David Robertson has emerged as the leading candidate for save chances in Chapman's absence ... Eduardo Rodriguez was electric in his return from the disabled list Saturday, whiffing 12 batters across 5 2/3 frames of one-run ball in the Red Sox' 6-1 win over the White Sox. Rodriguez was perfect through his first four innings, striking out 10 batters in the process. Rodriguez looked dominant while on his rehab assignment, as well, and should be rolled out there by fantasy owners down the stretch ... Yankees activated C Gary Sanchez from the 10-day disabled list. The hard-hitting backstop made his long-awaited return to the Yankees' lineup on Saturday against the Tigers, going hitless in four at-bats. He'd been on the shelf for the last month after aggravating an existing groin injury ... Jean Segura (shin) returned to the Mariners' lineup for Saturday's game against the Athletics. Segura was out of the lineup Thursday and Friday with a deep bone bruise on his shin, but it wasn't enough to keep him out for long. He was back at shortstop and batting second for Saturday's contest, finshing 3-for-4 with a pair of RBI in the win ... Royals manager Ned Yost said Salvador Perez (thumb) will likely be out for at least a week. Perez is dealing with a thumb sprain that would probably send him to the DL under normal circumstances but because it's now September, the team has enough room on the active roster to keep him available despite his not really being available ... Whit Merrifield went 2-for-5 and won the game with a walk-off home run in Saturday's 5-4 triumph over the Orioles. He drilled a two-run shot off closer Mychal Givens in the bottom of the ninth inning to end the contest in style. Merrifield is following up last year's breakout with another fine fantasy season. He has a .311 batting average with 11 home runs, 50 RBI and 68 runs scored. He is tied for fourth in the majors with 29 stolen bases ... Blake Snell was superb again Saturday, yielding two runs – one earned – while striking out nine over 6 2/3 innings in the Rays’ 5-3 win over the Indians. Amazingly, Snell has allowed one or fewer earned runs in 14 of his last 16 starts. He’s now 17-5 and boasts a 2.02 ERA and is right in the thick of the American League Cy Young race ... Kevin Kiermaier left Saturday's game against the Indians due to back spasms. That doesn't sound overly serious, but we'll see how he feels Sunday.