Adam Wainwright's elbow injury may not be too serious, but all certainly doesn't appear to be well with the right-hander.
The Cardinals have likened Wainwright's injury to "tennis elbow" and have said the injury doesn't involve the ligament, but it came out Sunday that the club will start Carlos Martinez, not Wainwright, on Monday against the Mets. The spot would normally be Wainwright's turn in the rotation.
The Cardinals had told Martinez he would be given a shot to start this year, but after a strong spring he was moved to the bullpen in favor of Joe Kelly. When Kelly went down, the Cardinals turned to Tyler Lyons and eventually Jaime Garcia to fill the role, leaving Martinez without an opportunity. On Sunday, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny called the move to start Martinez "part necessity and part keeping to our word."
“I think it’s part of keeping our word,” Matheny said. “We’ve had other opportunities that didn’t seem quite right. The role that he was filling in the bullpen didn’t really allow us the freedom to bounce him into a start. That’s what we had told him – to keep working and he was going to get a chance. He still has a big role for us in the bullpen, but this is an opportunity. And it is also a necessity.
“We need somebody to step up and take this start for Adam.”
The necessity part is of most concern to Wainwright's fantasy owners. Wainwright held the Rays scoreless over seven innings on Tuesday despite not having his best stuff, and after the game he talked of the bumps and bruises he's pitched through this year. Shortly after, it came out that Wainwright felt some soreness in the elbow, and he returned to St. Louis for an MRI. The MRI was negative, and Wainwright received a cortisone shot in hopes he'd be able to pitch Monday.
The silver lining of Monday's starter swap is that Wainwright remains on the active roster for the time being. The Cardinals made a move for a reliever to back up Martinez -- the Cardinals are expecting Martinez to throw about 60 pitches in the start -- but Wainwright wasn't placed on the disabled list in conjunction with the move. That suggests the team doesn't think he's too far away from being able to return.
Martinez is an exciting player with electric stuff, but he's struggled to the tune of a 4.67 ERA in the bullpen this season. He's transitioned to more of a long relief role of late, but he hasn't gone more than 2 2/3 innings in a single appearance this year, another reason to think there's little to get excited about for Monday. The Cardinals would be happy if he made it through five innings, but he's more risk than reward for fantasy owners in the spot start.
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Latos Dazzles In Debut
Mat Latos was upset the Reds made him go on one more rehab start before returning to the rotation.
Maybe he had a point.
In his 2014 debut, Latos dominated the Brewers on Saturday, tossing six shutout innings while allowing just two hits. The right-hander struck out four and left with a lead, but the Reds bullpen couldn't hold on to give Latos his first win of the season. Instead, he had to settle for an encouraging start.
"(It was) emotional, for sure," Latos said after the game. "You know, first time back, and its been a while. It's been a struggle to get where I was today, so it's definitely good. The outcome kind of sucks, but that's baseball."
Latos was able to throw 87 pitches in the outing, his first since returning from a flexor mass strain in his right elbow. He'll likely be without restriction in his next start against the Blue Jays. It's a tough matchup for any pitcher, no less for one making his second start of the season, but Latos is a must-start in all formats now that he's back and pitching like the pitcher we remember.
Yelich Out, Marisnick Up
Any injury to a key player is bad news, but the timing of Christian Yelich's back injury is especially disappointing.
The 22-year-old will be placed on the 15-day disabled list on Monday with a lower back strain, an injury that comes just as Yelich was getting locked in at the plate. Yelich left Friday's game and didn't play in either game over the weekend, so the Marlins decided to play it safe rather than push their young outfielder.
The injury comes at a time when Yelich is hitting just .259/.342/.418, but he'd enjoyed some success in the games leading up to Friday. Since June 6, Yelich was 10-for-24 (.417) with three doubles, a home run, five RBI, three runs scored and two stolen bases. Yelich has six home runs, 10 stolen bases and 41 runs scored atop the Marlins lineup this season.
One stat-sheet stuffer's injury makes way for the return of a similar-type player, as Yelich's trip to the DL will likely result in Jake Marisnick being recalled by the Marlins. Marisnick got a 40-game look in 2013 and hit a paltry .183/.231/.248 in 109 at-bats, but the 23-year-old is hitting .264/.306/.404 with six home runs and 17 stolen bases with Triple-A New Orleans this season.
The Marlins are actually playing good baseball right now, a factor that could work against Marisnick's value during Yelich's absence, but Reed Johnson went 1-for-13 over the weekend in Yelich's place. Marisnick will need to perform better this go-round to be worth a spot on any roster, but the outfielder is at worst a speculative NL-only add and at best a deep league flier who can do a lot of things well.
National League Quick Hits: Cuban right-hander Raicel Iglesias is said to be nearing a deal with the Reds worth $15 million over five or six years. He projects as a reliever in the majors, and he could find his way to the Reds' bullpen before the year's end ... Tommy La Stella went 3-for-3 with a two-run double in the Braves' win over the Angels. The second baseman has hit a silly .411/.476/.446 through his first 56 at-bats in the bigs ... Troy Tulowitzki went 3-for-4 with his 18th home run of the season. He's first in the NL in batting average, home runs, runs scored, slugging percentage and OPS ... Evan Gattis extended his hitting streak to 15 games in Sunday's win over the Angels ... Giants manager Bruce Bochy said he's hopeful Angel Pagan (back) will be able to return to the lineup on Tuesday. Pagan was scratched from Sunday's lineup late ... Todd Frazier continued his assault on National League pitching, blasting his 15th home run of the season and driving in four in a win over the Brewers. Frazier had two of the Reds' 19 hits on the day.
American League Quick Hits: With Grant Balfour on the outs, Jake McGee notched his first save of the season on Sunday. The southpaw worked a perfect ninth inning and should be viewed as the favorite for save chances moving forward, at least until Balfour regains his previous form ... In his first rehab start since Tommy John surgery, Dylan Bundy struck out six over five innings of work at Class-A Aberdeen. The right-hander allowed one run in the first of what will likely be many rehab outings as he continues to work his way back ... Kyle Seager went 4-for-4 with three RBI in the win over the Rangers. The third baseman is 16-for-57 (.280) with nine RBI thus far this month ... Erick Aybar left Sunday's game with a hip injury, but Angels manager Mike Scioscia said he doesn't think it's serious. Aybar could be back in the Angels' lineup as soon as Monday ... Coco Crisp hit one of the Athletics' two three-run homers in a win over the Yankees. The outfielder scored three runs in all in the 10-5 beatdown ... Salvador Perez extended his modest hitting streak to nine games with a 2-for-3 day on Sunday. The catcher hit a three-run home run in the contest, his seventh homer of the year.