It's not often in sports that an injury appears worse than it turns out to be -- in many cases, the opposite is true -- so Monday's news out of Toronto was a bit of a pleasant surprise for Jose Bautista owners.
Bautista injured his left hamstring running to second base during Sunday's game, and the ailment appeared serious enough that there was some concern Bautista may require a healthy stint on the disabled list before returning. Bautista underwent an MRI on Monday so the team could get a clearer picture of what his timetable might look like.
Then something good happened for a change. The MRI showed only a mild hamstring strain for Bautista, an injury mild enough that the team is holding off on a DL trip for the time being.
"I heard definitely some of the best news I could have gotten," Bautista said of his MRI. "I could have gotten the news of a torn hamstring, or a higher grade strain, but it’s the lowest grade strain, grade one, so it’s day-by-day. How it feels is the biggest determinant of how quickly I’m going to be able to come back. …
"There’s a really good chance I can avoid (the DL)."
That news was even more heartening after it was learned Brett Lawrie would miss three-to-six weeks after fracturing his finger in Sunday's tilt. Losing Bautista for any serious amount of time would greatly affect the AL East-leading Blue Jays.
Instead, Bautista will likely only miss a few days -- he'll test out the hamstring daily to gauge when the leg is strong enough for him to return to the lineup -- and could feasibly be back in time for the weekend series against the Orioles. In the meantime, Anthony Gose and Kevin Pillar will split duties in right field for the Jays.
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Top Prospect Gonzales To Start For Cards
With one of their first-round picks a few years back, the Cardinals targeted a college pitcher with an advanced changeup who moved quickly through the system and, before long, found himself starting at the big league level.
Gonzales, a left-hander, was drafted with the No. 19 pick in the 2013 MLB Draft out of Gonzaga University. Gonzales threw 23 1/3 innings last year and has pitched 76 1/3 innings this season between High-A and Double-A, and on Wednesday the 22-year-old will make his major league debut for the Cardinals in his home state of Colorado.
"It could be an advantage to a sense," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said of Gonzales being from Colorado, knowing Coors Field. "He’s grown up here. A lot of people come into Colorado not knowing what’s to be expected. This is what he grew up with. He’ll be excited. He’ll be elated to have his debut here, his home state. I think he’s ready."
Ready, maybe, but it likely won't be for long. With just 19 career starts in the minors -- granted, with a 2.08 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and 101/26 K/BB ratio over his 99 2/3 innings of work there -- Gonzales' stay with the Cardinals will most likely be abbreviated. Joe Kelly is on a rehab assignment that will likely put him back in St. Louis sometime next week, meaning the Cardinals will once again have too many starters for not enough rotation spots.
Gonzales will one day be a name to know for fantasy purposes -- soon, if Wacha's ascent to the majors is any indication -- but making his first major league start at Coors Field isn't the best spot for him. If he remains in the rotation for more than one or two starts, though, he'll be an interesting lottery ticket on which fantasy owners can speculate.
Mesoraco Homers In Fourth Straight
Devin Mesoraco is just making up for lost time.
The 26-year-old didn't make his season debut until April 8 due to an oblique injury, and a hamstring strain forced him to miss two weeks at the end of April and beginning of May.
Now healthy, Mesoraco has been terrorizing National League pitching. On Monday, Mesoraco hit a grand slam off Cubs reliever Hector Rondon that turned a one-run game into a comfortable victory. The homer was his 13th of the season, and it was incredibly his fourth straight game with a home run.
It's not completely unexpected from the backstop -- Mesoraco was a first-round pick of the Reds in 2007 -- but he's trending toward having one of the more notable breakout seasons of 2014. Mesoraco is in the top five among catchers in the National League in nearly every batting category, as he's hitting .315/.384/.651 with 38 RBI and 23 runs scored. Factor in that Mesoraco has played roughly 25 fewer games than his counterparts, and his numbers are that much more impressive.
What will he do for (another) encore? Check the box score on Tuesday to find out.
National League Quick Hits: Brandon Belt (thumb) may be being a rehab assignment as early as Wednesday, with the weekend looking like a strong possibility if not. Belt is hoping for a July 4 activation ... Bryce Harper (thumb) will play some center field during his rehab stint with High-A Potomac. With Ryan Zimmerman now in left and Danny Espinosa holding down the keystone, Harper's return could push Denard Span to the bench, at least some of the time ... Mike Morse and Ryan Braun, both nagged by injuries on Sunday, returned to their respective lineups on Monday. Angel Pagan (back) did not, and a trip to the DL could be in the discussion ... After a performance-based demotion three weeks ago, Travis d'Arnaud has earned a performance-based promotion with his play at Triple-A Las Vegas. The catcher will be recalled on Tuesday after hitting .403/.448/871 with seven home runs and 18 RBI through 17 games at Triple-A. He should slide back into the starting lineup for the Mets and is worth a pickup in NL-only leagues ... Marco Scutaro (back) is set to begin a rehab assignment with the rookie-level Arizona League Giants on Tuesday, his first game action since spring. Scutaro will play three innings in the field as he begins the slow climb back to the majors. When that journey ends is still up in the air ... Andrew Cashner (shoulder) hit the DL on Monday. Starting in his place, all Odrisamer Despaigne did in his major league debut was hold the NL West-leading Giants to four hits and no runs over seven innings. Andrew who?
American League Quick Hits: On the same night that he proclaimed he's been "sucking" lately, Chris Davis delivered a pinch-hit, three-run walk-off homer against the White Sox. Davis hit the bomb off Ronald Belisario, who's hold on the closer job on the south side is, like Davis' homer, long gone ... Astros former No. 1 overall pick Carlos Correa sustained an ankle injury Saturday that will require him to "miss a significant period of time," according to general manager Jeff Luhnow. He'll see an ankle specialist for a more concrete diagnosis, but there's fear that the injury is a major one ... Logan Morrison had two home runs, four runs scored and five RBI in 61 at-bats going into Monday's game against the Red Sox. After 65 at-bats, Morrison now has four home runs, seven runs scored and nine RBI. Needless to say, it was a good night.