With the help of his overpowering mid-90s fastball, Garrett Richards was off to a fantastic start for the Angels this year, posting a 2.34 ERA through his first six turns. But recently he has been complaining of arm fatigue – never a good sign one month into the season – and late this week he received bad news: torn UCL. Richards will undergo Tommy John surgery and miss the rest of the season.
The hits keep on coming for the Halos, who already have Andrew Heaney facing elbow problems and Jered Weaver lobbing in the low 80s. Richards had been the best performer in their rotation and will be very tough to replace.
Prospect Nate Smith, owner of a 3.79 ERA in Triple-A, could get a look but it's likely that the Angels will seek a more impactful addition via trade or free agency (John Danks and Tim Lincecum are among the potentially available names).
* It's been an ugly, frustrating and perplexing season for Pablo Sandoval. Now, it's over. The third baseman played in just three games for the Red Sox before going on the disabled list, and he'll be out until 2017 after undergoing surgery on Tuesday to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder.
That injury was obviously the biggest issue, but hardly the only one for Sandoval, who drew the ire of Boston coaches and execs for showing up to spring training out of shape and losing his starting job with a sluggish spring.
The Red Sox owe the 29-year-old a total of $53 million over the next three seasons. They badly need him to rehab that shoulder and work harder on conditioning so that he can actually come back and contribute next year, otherwise that contract is going to turn into a complete clunker.
* Speaking of albatross contracts, the White Sox finally cut one loose this week. John Danks signed a five-year, $65 million extension with Chicago prior to the 2012 season, and over the duration of that deal he went 25-48 with a 4.92 ERA before the Sox finally pulled the plug and designated him for assignment on Tuesday.
He'll land somewhere, but Danks hasn't been close to an average major-league pitcher at any point during the last five years. There's little reason to expect much out of him at this point.
* J.J. Hardy suffered a fracture in his left foot when he fouled a ball into it on Sunday, and is expected to miss six to eight weeks. In his absence, Manny Machado has slid back to his natural position, while Ryan Flaherty has been filling in at third. Pedro Alvarez could also see some time at the hot corner.
* Talk about snakebit: Devin Mesoraco was diagnosed with a torn labrum in his shoulder. He briefly considered trying to play through it but ultimately gave in to the inevitable and opted for surgery, which will take place on Tuesday. He's unlikely to play again this year.
The catcher had a breakout season in 2014, earning an All-Star nod and even a few down-ballot MVP votes, but has now had two straight seasons cut dramatically short by significant injuries, first to his hip and now to his shoulder. It's a real shame, but the good news is that he'll still only be 28 next year.
* Nick Hundley was in the Rockies starting lineup on Thursday, but it was Tony Wolters who came out to bat when the catcher's spot in the lineup arrived. Turns out Hundley tweaked his oblique during BP before the game, and it nagged him enough that he went on the shelf a day later.
Dustin Garneau was recalled from the minors to take over Hundley's roster spot, but Wolters should get the majority of reps over the next couple weeks. There's no fantasy upside there.
* The Pirates activated Jung Ho Kang and he returned with a flare, launching two homers in his season debut on Friday. His playing time will be somewhat limited at first but he should return to being an everyday player quickly, especially with performances like that.
* The Yankees placed Alex Rodriguez on the DL with a hamstring strain. He had just been starting to heat up with a 1389 OPS in his past five games. It's a relatively minor grade and he could return after the minimum, but keep in mind that these things tend to heal more slowly when you're 40.
* Washington activated center fielder Ben Revere on DL on Thursday, and he'll replace interim fill-in Michael Taylor as the Nats' regular. Revere is one of the speediest base runners in the game, so if he's available you'll want to grab him for his steals.
* Matt Cain was shelled by the Rockies for eight runs on Thursday, spiking his ERA to a ghastly 7.84. He and fellow veteran Jake Peavy (9.00 ERA) have both been disastrous thus far, and it's tough to imagine either has much leash left.
* The Astros sent Evan Gattis to the minors so he could work behind the plate and start catching in games. Gattis has played DH exclusively this year, but they want him to serve as a part-time backup to Jason Castro.
* The Braves optioned Adonis Garcia to Triple-A. He was their third baseman and cleanup hitter throughout much of April, and was hitting .317 as recently as a couple weeks ago, but a recent slump combined with poor defense drained the club's patience. Garcia is expected to play left field in the minors and that's probably going to be his new permanent home. Reid Brignac and Daniel Castro will be in the mix for starts at third.