The only thing that can stop Austin Meadows is third base, it seems.
Meadows suffered a right thumb sprain Saturday sliding into third base while legging out a triple, and the Rays placed him on the 10-day injured list before Sunday’s game. He was scheduled to see a hand specialist Sunday, a meeting the results of which should offer a clearer timeline for his recovery.
“They saw some damage but they don’t know how bad it is,” Meadows said. "We’ll see where we’re at later today.
“I slid into third kind of awkwardly. I think I put my right hand down ... and the thumb kind of jammed into the base. It was just kind of a freak accident. It didn’t feel too good."
The injury brought an abrupt stop to the roll Meadows has been on to start the year. Through Saturday’s contest, the 23-year-old was hitting .351/.422/.676 with six homers, 19 RBI, 11 runs scored and three steals.
It’s the kind of production the Rays surely envisioned when they acquired Meadows, Tyler Glasnow and Shane Baz from the Pirates in exchange for Chris Archer last summer. For years prior to last year’s trade, Meadows was a regular on top prospect lists after being a top-10 selection in the 2013 MLB Draft.
With Meadows out for at least 10 days, Avisail Garcia will likely see more time in the outfield, as could Daniel Robertson. Guillermo Heredia, who earned his way onto the Opening Day roster out of spring, started in right field on Sunday and could also see more time with Meadows out.
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Polanco To Debut This Week?
A former Pirates outfielder is down, but a current Pirates outfielder may be back this week ahead of schedule.
Gregory Polanco has been out all year after undergoing labrum surgery on his throwing shoulder last fall, but he’s progressed in his rehab to the point that Bucs general manager Neal Huntington said the 27-year-old could be activated before the end of the team’s homestand, which concludes Thursday.
It’s not without its caveats, though. While Polanco has been playing in minor league games, his shoulder strength isn’t 100 percent, meaning he could be a work in progress upon his return. Learning to play with a compromised throwing shoulder could actually be a benefit in the long run, though, Huntington said.
“We may even have a better-throwing right fielder at some point in time because he understands the value of getting to the ball, getting it underway accurately, quickly, and now he gets some velocity back too,” Huntington said.
Polanco would be a welcome addition at any point but doubly so now, with starters Corey Dickerson and Starling Marte both sidelined. The Pirates featured an outfield of Melky Cabrera, Bryan Reynolds and Jason Martin in Sunday’s loss to the Giants.
Polanco last year hit .254/.340/.499 with 23 homers, 81 RBI and 75 runs scored with 12 steals before the injury ended his season in early September. Managers in weekly leagues might sit this one out, but fantasy players in leagues with daily moves should check the Rotoworld player news page regularly to be aware of the Bucs’ plans for Polanco this week.
Shoemaker Done For The Year
Matt Shoemaker got terrible news Sunday, a day after he left his start against the A’s with a left knee injury.
Shoemaker was diagnosed with a torn ACL in his left knee and will miss the remainder of the season, it was announced Sunday.
“I was really hoping for a knee sprain,” Shoemaker said Sunday. “I knew what I felt. It didn’t feel right.”
It’s a devastating blow for Shoemaker, especially given how well he’d bounced back from arm troubles to pitch this year. Through five starts, the right-hander owned a 1.57 ERA.
“He was one of the best pitchers in baseball in the first month,” Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said. “I feel bad for all of us, but of course for him, because he was doing so great.”
National League Quick Hits: Robinson Cano was seen wearing a soft cast on his injured hand after Sunday's game against the Cardinals and may require additional testing on Monday. Fantasy owners probably thought that they were in the clear after it was announced that Cano's X-rays came back negative, but he may not be out of the woods just yet. Be sure to have a contingency option in place in the event that Cano is forced to miss some time next week … Jacob deGrom (elbow) played catch again Sunday. DeGrom has now played catch on consecutive days even after being placed on the injured list with right elbow soreness. He is tentatively slated to undergo an MRI on Monday when the Mets return to New York, although it's sounding like that might not even be necessary now … Stephen Strasburg struck out 11 batters over eight scoreless innings in the Nationals' 5-0 shutout win over the Marlins on Sunday. Strasburg was brilliant in this one, scattering two hits and two walks over his eight shutout frames while tallying double-digit strikeouts for the first time this season. His ERA dropped from 5.56 to a much more palatable 4.11. The right-hander will try to get that number down into the 3.00s in his next start at home against the Padres … Josh Donaldson clubbed a pair of home runs on Sunday night, leading the Braves to an 11-5 rout over the Indians. After a slow start to the season, Donaldson has been on fire in recent weeks and is now slashing .270/.400/.500 with four long balls and seven RBI on the year … Cody Bellinger went 3-for-4 with a go-ahead solo homer, three RBI and a stolen base to lift the Dodgers to a 6-5 win over the Brewers on Sunday. The 23-year-old five-category fantasy superstar owns a sublime .424/.500/.882 triple-slash line with 26 runs scored, 11 homers and 28 RBI across 100 plate appearances. That’ll do … Rich Hill (knee) will rejoin the Dodgers' rotation next Sunday against the Pirates. Hill made a rehab start last Wednesday and will make a start in extended spring training on Monday in what will be his final tune-up before returning to the majors. The veteran left-hander has been out all season with a strained left knee ... Kirby Yates tossed a scoreless ninth inning Sunday against the Reds, earning his 10th save of the season in a 4-3 win. Yates gave up a leadoff single but recorded a strikeout and induced a game-ending double play to finish it off. He's now a perfect 10-for-10 in save chances, leading the league with his 10 saves. Yates owns a microscopic 0.75 ERA, 0.92 WHIP and 19/3 K/BB ratio over 12 innings to begin the year … Mike Moustakas has been diagnosed with a fracture of the tip of his right ring finger but will not be placed on the injured list. It's an injury that Moustakas can attempt to play through if he's able to handle a little pain, although it's possible he eventually might require an IL stint. For now, though, he's available, although he is not in Sunday's lineup. Hernan Perez is filling in at second base … Buster Posey went 2-for-4 with a go-ahead three-run homer -- his first long ball of the season -- to lift the Giants to a 3-2 win over the Pirates on Sunday. The 32-year-old veteran backstop has gotten off to a slow start in his return from season-ending hip surgery last August. His trademark plate discipline and contact skills have remained intact, but he’s struggled to hit for power this month. He’s shown some signs of life at the plate recently and the two-hit performance raises his triple-slash line to .227/.311/.364 with four runs scored and five RBI in 74 plate appearances. Given the lack of quality options at the catcher position, he remains a must-own fantasy option in all formats … Joey Votto missed a second straight game due to back tightness, but no one is sounding alarms yet … Cubs manager Joe Maddon wouldn't commit to when Jon Lester (hamstring) will rejoin the rotation but noted that the team has an opening on Thursday versus the Dodgers. Lester went through a simulated game with no issues on Saturday and it seems safe to go ahead and pencil him in to return Thursday. He's missed the last two weeks with a strained left hamstring … Jon Gray allowed just one hit over six scoreless innings, striking out five, as the Rockies bested the Phillies 4-1 on Sunday. It's been a theme recently, as Gray has now pitched at least six innings while allowing one run or fewer in each of his last three outings. The strong stretch leaves him with a 2-3 record, 2.78 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and 30/13 K/BB ratio over five starts. The Braves, another team with a formidable offense, will try to tame the Gray Wolf on Saturday … Braves optioned RHP Touki Toussaint to Triple-A Gwinnett. Well, that was fast. Toussaint was a popular waiver wire pick-up last week after a fantastic relief appearance earned him a start, but he was bombed for seven runs over just 1 1/3 innings against the Indians on Saturday. Bryse Wilson has taken his roster spot and could get a start, although Mike Foltynewicz (elbow) might be ready when Toussaint's spot comes up next. The move also means that Mike Soroka should stay around a while.
American League Quick Hits: Yankees placed OF Aaron Judge on the 10-day injured list with a strained left oblique. While the team didn't assign a grade to the strain, manager Aaron Boone referred to it as "pretty significant." He did not reveal a timetable for how long Judge will be sidelined, but at least a month would seem like a given. It's obviously a massive blow to a Yankees team that's been hit hard by injuries. Clint Frazier is batting cleanup Sunday and will be the regular right fielder while Judge is out … James Paxton struck out 12 batters over six shutout innings Sunday in the Yankees' defeat of the Royals. Paxton was sensational for a second straight outing, yielding just three hits and a walk while racking up a dozen strikeouts. He's now sporting a 3.10 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, and 43/8 K/BB ratio through his first 29 innings in pinstripes. Up next is a road start against the Giants … Justin Smoak had a monster day at the dish in Sunday's 5-4 victory over the Athletics, going 4-for-5 with a homer and two RBI. With the four-hit effort, Smoak is now slashing a robust .313/.439/.582 with five long balls and 17 RBI … Joey Gallo went 2-for-3 with five RBI and a run scored to help the Rangers edge the Astros 11-10 on Sunday. The 25-year-old now has eight homers and 22 RBI, and perhaps most surprisingly, he's slashing .281/.382/.734 overall. With advanced numbers suggesting there's some merit to the hot start, it could be the early days of a new and improved Gallo we're seeing … Shane Greene earned his 10th save of the season Sunday in the Tigers' 4-3 defeat of the White Sox. Greene has earned a save in each of the Tigers' 10 victories this season and he is currently tied with Kirby Yates to lead all MLB relievers in that category. The right-hander retired all three batters he faced on Sunday, two via strikeout. It might be wise to sell high on Greene in fantasy considering the likelihood that he will be traded away from Detroit at some point -- probably to a contending team that may already have an established closer ... Danny Duffy (shoulder) is expected to rejoin the Royals' rotation this week. Duffy struck out seven and allowed just one unearned run over 5 1/3 innings in his first rehab start on Saturday and that's apparently the only rehab outing he'll need. The Royals haven't picked a day when he will return yet, but he'd be lined up to pitch Friday versus the Angels ... Tommy La Stella blasted a pair of home runs on Sunday, powering the Angels to an 8-6 victory over the Mariners. The 30-year-old has already eclipsed his previous career high in home runs and is well on his way to having a career year for the Angels. With his 2-for-3 effort on Sunday, he's hitting .246/.348/.579 with six long balls and 12 RBI.