Andrew Benintendi had just begun hitting his stride as Boston’s regular left fielder, but it could be a while before we see him again. Maybe even 2017.
Benintendi had to be helped off the turf by trainers Wednesday night at Tropicana Field after toppling awkwardly over his left leg while trying to scamper back to second base on a grounder up the middle from Dustin Pedroia in the top of the seventh inning. The injury is being called a left knee sprain for now, but an MRI is coming Thursday and the news could be rough. On top of the knee injury, Benintendi also appeared to roll his left ankle badly. Watch the replay at this link if you’re not squeamish.
The seventh overall pick in 2015 out of the University of Arkansas, Benintendi was promoted to the major leagues on August 2 after batting .312/.378/.532 in 418 plate appearances this summer between High-A Salem and Double-A Portland. He went 0-for-2 with a strikeout as a late substitute in his first-ever major league game but entered play Wednesday boasting a .339/.387/.518 batting line over his last 62 plate appearances with the Red Sox. And he doubled Wednesday night before exiting, giving him an impressive .850 OPS through his first 21 big league contests.
Rob Bradford of WEEI.com says Benintendi walked out of the visitors clubhouse “very slowly” late Wednesday while putting almost no weight or pressure on the injured left leg.
If this turns out to be as serious as it looked, the Red Sox will likely have to turn to Chris Young as their primary left fielder for the stretch run. Young just returned Monday from a two-month hamstring injury and tends to struggle against right-handed pitching, but the 32-year-old does have a decent .278/.347/.511 overall batting line in 2016 and he carries the kind of power-speed profile that is intriguing to fantasy baseball enthusiasts. Brock Holt is another option for that left field spot in Boston, but he's hitting just .251/.317/.381 overall this season.
Young makes for a worthwhile claim in deeper mixed leagues with Benintendi almost certainly headed to the 15-day disabled list and almost certain to miss more than 15 days.
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Bregman’s Offensive Burst Rolls On
If you decided to drop Astros top prospect Alex Bregman after his sluggish first 10 games as a major leaguer … well … that just wasn’t a very intelligent move.
Bregman continued his predictable offensive surge on Wednesday afternoon against the Pirates, tallying his ninth double in 18 games and scoring his 16th run in that same 18-game span. The ultra-talented 22-year-old had a .469 OPS just 10 days ago. It’s now up to .694 and figures to continue swiftly rising.
The second overall pick in 2015 out of LSU, Bregman was promoted to the big leagues on July 25 after slashing .306/.406/.580 with 20 home runs, 61 RBI, and 71 runs scored in 80 games this year between Double-A Corpus Christi and Triple-A Fresno. He has the goods to rake his way into a big September before possibly catching the casual-baseball-fan spotlight in October.
Houston continues to use Bregman at the hot corner with Cuban third baseman Yulieski Gurriel nursing a tight right hamstring. Bregman is expected to shift to left field when Gurriel is ready.
Hill Shines In First Start For Dodgers
Veteran left-hander Rich Hill finally made his Dodgers debut on Wednesday night against the rival Giants, more than three weeks after being acquired from the Athletics. It was worth the wait.
Hill, who had been sidelined since early July by a severe blister, yielded just five hits -- all singles -- over six scoreless innings, walking none and whiffing three while delivering 63 of his 81 pitches for strikes. He probably could have worked much deeper into the game, but Dodgers manager Dave Roberts opted for a cautious approach after Hill skipped a minor league rehab assignment entirely. Los Angeles went on to beat San Francisco by a score of 1-0.
Hill now boasts a 2.09 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, and 93 strikeouts in 82 innings this season between the Athletics and Dodgers. He should be allowed to go as long as he wants (within reason, of course) in his next scheduled start on the road against the Rockies.
National League Quick Hits: Marlins acquired Jeff Francoeur as part of a three-team trade with the Braves and Rangers … Mets slugger Yoenis Cespedes reiterated Tuesday that he does not plan to exercise his opt-out this winter … Marlins ace Jose Fernandez left with a calf cramp after throwing seven scoreless innings Wednesday against the Royals … DJ LeMahieu remained absent from the Rockies’ lineup Wednesday due to left wrist inflammation … Aroldis Chapman struck out the side to secure his ninth save with the Cubs in Wednesday's win over the Padres … Cardinals ace Carlos Martinez held the Mets to one run in eight innings to cruise to a win Wednesday … Dodgers swingman Ross Stripling will start against the Giants on Thursday … Pirates right-hander Tyler Glasnow (shoulder) will move his rehab assignment to Triple-A Indianapolis this weekend … Ryan Braun slugged a pair of home runs Wednesday in the Brewers' rout of the Rockies … Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy went 3-for-5 with a grand slam and five RBI against the Orioles on Wednesday … Yasmany Tomas remains day-to-day with mid-back stiffness … Tommy Joseph collected his 17th homer and his 11th double Wednesday to help the Phillies beat the White Sox … Cubs reliever Hector Rondon (triceps) reported feeling good after playing catch Wednesday for the first time since landing on the disabled list … Zack Cozart (knee, heel) remained out of the Reds’ starting lineup on Wednesday … Phillies veterans Carlos Ruiz and Ryan Howard have cleared waivers and can now be traded to any team … Mets outfielder Jay Bruce was lifted from Wednesday's game against the Cardinals due to a right calf cramp … Jung Ho Kang (shoulder) has begun playing catch and fielding grounders … Mets left-hander Jon Niese needs season-ending knee surgery … Shelby Miller will make another start at Triple-A Reno on Thursday before possibly returning to the Diamondbacks … Nationals infielder Stephen Drew visited an inner-ear specialist Wednesday and received a shot.
American League Quick Hits: Blue Jays second baseman Devon Travis remained out Wednesday with discomfort in the third knuckle on his right hand … Ken Giles tallied his fifth save Wednesday in the Astros' victory over the Pirates … Mariners slugger Nelson Cruz left Wednesday's game against the Yankees due to back spasms … Albert Pujols drilled a solo home run and drove in three on a 4-for-4 night against the Blue Jays on Wednesday … Masahiro Tanaka delivered seven shutout innings Wednesday in the Yankees’ blanking of the Mariners … Orioles placed starter Chris Tillman on the 15-day disabled list with right shoulder bursitis … Evan Longoria hit his 30th homer Wednesday as the Rays beat the Red Sox … Kyle Seager was held out of the Mariners’ starting lineup on Wednesday after fouling a ball off his foot on Tuesday night … Carlos Gomez is set to join the Rangers on Thursday … A’s right-hander Kendall Graveman fired 6 2/3 innings of one-run ball Wednesday in a win over the Indians … Huston Street underwent season-ending surgery on his right knee Wednesday … Twins slugger Byung Ho Park will undergo season-ending surgery on his right wrist … Ian Desmond drilled a solo homer, scored twice, and swiped a base as the Rangers beat the Reds on Wednesday … Colby Rasmus (ear) has been cleared to resume baseball activities … Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski reiterated Wednesday morning that the team is still waiting on a decision from free agent Jonathan Papelbon … Manny Machado went 4-for-6 with a homer and four total RBI to lead the Orioles over the Nationals on Wednesday … Billy Butler said Wednesday that he's making good progress in his recovery from a concussion and also apologized for his role in the fight that led to the head injury … Hector Santiago has been scratched from his scheduled Friday start against the Blue Jays due to a bruised thumb … A’s right-hander Jesse Hahn (shoulder) is scheduled to make a rehab start with Triple-A Nashville next Tuesday … Justin Upton blasted a three-run jack to help lead the Tigers over the Twins on Wednesday … Pablo Sandoval has reportedly lost 22 pounds during his rehab from season-ending shoulder surgery … Angels reliever Cam Bedrosian has been diagnosed with a blood clot in his upper right arm and could be done for the year.