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Baseball Daily Dose

Dose: ‘Stros Sans Springer

by Bill Baer
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

Follow @Baer_Bill and @Rotoworld_BB on Twitter.

The Astros placed George Springer on the 7-day concussion disabled list on Wednesday after the outfielder hurt himself running into the right field wall at Minute Maid Park on Tuesday. Springer managed to hold on to the ball, scalded on a line by Adrian Beltre, for the final out of the seventh inning against the Rangers. The team called up Preston Tucker from Triple-A Fresno to take Springer’s place on the roster. Shortstop Jed Lowrie moved from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day disabled list to create room on the 40-man roster for Tucker.


Concussion issues are taken seriously nowadays, and for good reason, so it’s tough to say right now if Springer can be expected back in a week. He has proven dynamic for the Astros – and for fantasy owners – in the first month of the regular season despite a mediocre .685 OPS as he has hit four home runs, knocked in 12 runs, scored 14 runs, stolen 10 bases in 11 attempts, and played stellar defense in right field. There are myriad reasons why the Astros have jumped out to an 18-10 record, but Springer is certainly one of them.


The Astros were short-handed in Wednesday’s loss to the Rangers, so manager A.J. Hinch had to get creative. From left to right, Robbie Grossman, Jake Marisnick, and Colby Rasmus were the starters, but in the eighth inning, Rasmus shifted to center, Grossman went to right, and catcher Hank Conger – who pinch-hit in the bottom of the seventh -- entered the game in left field. The Astros surely won’t need to make things that complex going forward, but it still illustrates what a linchpin Springer is to the team. They certainly hope to get the multi-talented outfielder back at full health sooner rather than later, but you can never be too careful with head injuries.


Tucker, 24, has been hitting quite well at the dish with Fresno, batting .320/.378/.650 with 10 home runs and 32 RBI in 111 plate appearances. The rookie should only be with the big club for a week or two, but he’ll be auditioning for future use during the season and a potential starting job next season.


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Salty Could Sign Thursday

Free agent catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia could sign as early as Thursday, according to a report from Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. Salty was designated for assignment by the Marlins on April 27 and granted his release on May 5, despite owing him $15 million between 2015 and ’16. Cafardo lists the Mariners, Orioles, Royals, and Diamondbacks as potential landing spots for the backstop.


Saltalamacchia batted a meager .069/.182/.207 with a double and a solo home run in 33 trips to the plate for the Marlins to begin the season. The team increasingly began to favor 24-year-old rookie J.T. Realmuto until Saltalamacchia was no longer getting regular starts.


The Diamondbacks make the most sense for Saltalamacchia as they’re desperate for catching help. Tuffy Gosewisch, a 31-year-old career minor leaguer, has served as the team’s regular catcher as the team didn’t bolster the position in the offseason, then watched Gerald Laird and Oscar Hernandez succumbed to injuries. The D-Backs would only need to pay Saltalamacchia the league minimum as the Marlins are on the hook for his remaining contract.


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Orioles Could Welcome J.J. Hardy Back Thursday

Orioles manager Buck Showalter told the media on Wednesday, including CSN Baltimore’s Rich Dubroff, that shortstop J.J. Hardy could be activated from the disabled list on Thursday in time for a series opener against the Yankees. The veteran has been sidelined with a strained left shoulder suffered at the very end of spring training.


Showalter said of Hardy’s possible return, “It’s possible. It’s possible. We’ll see how the night goes, see how he feels,” Showalter said. “He’s not having any problems with his shoulder, knock on wood. He could stay down there two weeks, which he legally can do, he’s going to have some adjustments in the big leagues.”


The O’s have been using Everth Cabrera at shortstop in Hardy’s stead, but it hasn’t gone well. Cabrera is batting .213/.226/.238 in 85 plate appearances. Despite failing to homer until June 21 last season, Hardy finished with nine in total along with 52 RBI and a .268/.309/.372 triple-slash line. Power-wise, it was a far cry from his 2013 output, when he hit 25 round-trippers and slugged .433. The O’s are hopeful the 32-year-old can return to his power-hitting ways of old.


National League Quick Hits: Mets second baseman Dilson Herrera went 3-for-3 with a home run and three RBI in Wednesday’s win against the Orioles… Michael Foltynewicz improved to 2-0 in two starters after beating the Phillies on Wednesday … Giancarlo Stanton homered in a loss to the Nationals on Wednesday afternoon, giving him seven home runs and 27 RBI on the season … Stephen Strasburg (shoulder) played catch on Wednesday after exiting Tuesday’s start early, but his next scheduled start is still up in the air … Ben Revere doubled three times in a 4-for-5 effort as the Phillies lost to the Braves on Wednesday … Cardinals manager Mike Matheny is leaning toward starting Tyler Lyon against the Pirates on Saturday … Anthony Rizzo homered in a win against the Cardinals on Wednesday, boosting his batting line up to .341/.474/.593 … Joey Votto was ejected from Wednesday’s game after bumping into home plate umpire Chris Conroy, which will likely result in a suspension and/or a fine … Josh Harrison went 0-for-4 in Wednesday’s loss to the Reds, bringing his average to a measly .180 … Wily Peralta tossed eight strong innings in a win against the Dodgers on Wednesday … Joc Pederson hit two solo home runs in a loss to the Brewers on Wednesday, giving him nine on the season … If Jake Peavy (back) gets through a bullpen session on Friday with no issues, he could be cleared for a rehab assignment … Jedd Gyorko has had a miserable year at the plate but had two hits and two RBI in Wednesday’s victory against the Giants … The Rockies lost both ends of Wednesday’s doubleheader against the Diamondbacks, bringing their losing streak to seven games … Yasmany Tomas went 3-for-6 with three RBI in the first game of Wednesday’s doubleheader sweep against the Rockies, bringing his average up to .310.


American League Quick Hits: CC Sabathia fell to 0-5 after allowing four runs in 6 1/3 innings to the Blue Jays on Wednesday … Evan Longoria homered twice in a win over the Red Sox on Wednesday, but he has only three homers and eight RBI on the season … Manny Machado had two hits and two steals in a loss to the Mets on Wednesday, making him a perfect 5-for-5 in stolen base attempts … Hanley Ramirez (shoulder) is expected to begin taking dry swings on Thursday and could return to the Red Sox lineup by the weekend … Russell Martin homered again in a win over the Yankees on Wednesday, giving him homers in four consecutive starts … Greg Holland was activated from the disabled list on Wednesday, but the Royals didn’t use him in a loss to the Indians… J.D. Martinez went 0-for-2 with three walks in a loss to the White Sox on Wednesday, leaving him 0-for-18 with 13 strikeouts since April 30 … Eduardo Escobar knocked in five runs as the Twins routed the Athletics on Wednesday … Melky Cabrera’s eighth-inning three-run home run helped the White Sox come back to beat the Tigers on Wednesday … Lefty Bruce Chen will make a spot start for the Indians on Saturday against the Twins … Chris Carter hit his fourth home run in a loss to the Rangers on Wednesday but is hitting just .152 … Angels starter Tyler Skaggs (elbow) is scheduled to begin throwing off of a mound on July 1 … Athletics closer Sean Doolittle (shoulder) will face live hitters on Friday … Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said starter Hisashi Iwakuma (lat) is “a ways away” from returning … Carlos Peguero homered twice in Wednesday’s win against the Astros.

Bill Baer
Bill Baer writes for HardballTalk and Rotoworld and covers the Phillies at his site Crashburn Alley. You can follow him on Twitter @Baer_Bill.