A changing of the guard in Cincinnati precipitated Brandon Phillips' exit.
Now in Atlanta, it's déjà vu all over again for the veteran second baseman.
The Braves on Tuesday promoted top prospect Ozzie Albies, and Braves manager Brian Snitker shortly after pledged to start the 20-year-old at second base for the majority of the rest of the season. That pushes 36-year-old Phillips to the side.
The left side, mostly. Phillips is expected to get a shot at holding down the third base job, with Freddie Freeman sliding back to first base and some combination of Matt Adams, Danny Santana and Sean Rodriguez playing left field.
“I’m excited and I’m ready,” Albies told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The baseball world is excited, too. The infielder was hitting .285/.330/.440 with nine homers and 21 steals in 97 games at Triple-A this season. Albies ranked as the no. 11 prospect in baseball by Baseball America and MLB.com prior to the season.
For his part, Phillips continues to produce, even as the sun sets on his career. Through Tuesday, the veteran was hitting .292/.335/.436 with eight homers and nine steals in 95 games this year.
Just as he was traded from the Reds to the Braves this past winter, Phillips could once again find work by way of a trade before the August 31 waiver trade deadline. The Braves are in no position to make a postseason run and could at least get something in return for Phillips before he leaves as a free agent after the season.
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Scherzer Homers, Exits Tuesday Start
It wasn't quite a walk-off homer, but Max Scherzer homered and then he walked off Tuesday.
The Nationals' ace hit a three-run home run in the top of the second inning, the first of his career, before leaving the game after one warmup pitch in the bottom half of the frame, forced to exit due to neck spasms.
“I’m done,” Scherzer told Manager Dusty Baker when he walked out. “I can’t go.”
A spokesperson said Scherzer had a neck spasm after he “slept on it funny” and took himself out as “a precaution.”
That's certainly the hope for the Nats and fantasy owners. The right-hander is 12-5 with a 2.21 ERA, 0.84 WHIP and 201/36 K/BB ratio through 22 starts, ranking at the top of the National League in strikeouts, WHIP and innings pitched. He's also second in the league in ERA and third in wins.
With Stephen Strasburg sidelined and Joe Ross already having had season-ending surgery, the club also can't afford for Scherzer to miss any time. The team bolstered its bullpen at and before the deadline, acquiring relievers Sean Doolittle, Ryan Madson and Brandon Kintzler, but opted not to improve its rotation headlined by Scherzer, Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez and Tanner Roark.
The 33-year-old should have a better grasp on his outlook Wednesday and in subsequent days, but the designation as a precaution suggests he should be good to go for his next scheduled start. Stay tuned.
Volquez Facing Tommy John Surgery
The author of the season's first no-hitter sustained a huge hit Tuesday.
Edinson Volquez, who threw a no-hitter against the Diamondbacks nearly two months ago, is set to undergo Tommy John surgery on his right elbow Friday after being diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament. The tear was revealed Tuesday after an MRI of the elbow.
“It’s a devastating blow, no question,” Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill said.
It was an up and down season for the 34-year-old, peaking with the no-no after reaching a valley just a few days prior when his record fell to 0-7 out of the gate. His season ends with a 4-8 record, 4.19 ERA and 1.42 WHIP in 17 starts.
The timing of the surgery means the right-hander will likely miss all of next year as well. Volquez was signed to a two-year, $22 million deal prior to the 2017 season, meaning he may have also thrown his last pitch for the Marlins organization.
National League Quick Hits: Johnny Cueto has been diagnosed with a mild flexor strain. Luckily he was able to avoid any damage to his UCL. Regardless, the injury puts Cueto's season in jeopardy. Teammate Matt Cain was sidelined for two months with a similar injury earlier this year and there are less than two months left in the season. He'll be reevaluated after a week of rest. The Giants are optimistic Cueto will pitch again this year, though there's obviously no need for him to rush back with San Francisco's playoff hopes already dashed ... Mets officially recalled SS Amed Rosario from Triple-A Las Vegas. The crown jewel of New York's farm system and arguably the top prospect in all of baseball made his debut against the Rockies, going 1-for-4 in a loss ... Braves prospect Lucas Sims made his major league debut Tuesday against the Dodgers. And he held his own, allowing three runs over six innings in a loss ... Jonathan Lucroy was scratched from Tuesday's game against the Mets with a stomach illness. Lucroy had been slated to make his Rockies debut on Tuesday night but came down with a stomach bug about an hour before first pitch. Consider Lucroy day-to-day ... Anthony Rizzo went 3-for-5 with a two-run homer and a solo shot in the Cubs' blowout win over the Diamondbacks. Rizzo has six home runs over 16 games since the All-Star break ... Matt Adams left Tuesday's game against the Dodgers with dizziness. Adams was playing the outfield for the first time in months. Consider him day-to-day ... Jesse Winker socked a solo home run and was robbed of a two-run shot in Tuesday's win over the Pirates. Winker crushed one over the center field wall in the fourth inning and it looked like he was going to have another dinger in the fifth, but Starling Marte reached over the left field wall to pull it back. He also drew a walk. Winker should see a good amount of playing time in right field while Scott Schebler (shoulder) is sidelined, and he batted second Tuesday. Winker's power has really faded the last two seasons in the minors, but he can get on base and could carve out some deep league value ... Brewers recalled OF Keon Broxton from Triple-A Colorado Springs. He's taking the spot of Kirk Nieuwenhuis, who was designated for assignment on Monday. Broxton is back after a brief detour in the minor leagues. He'll resume his role as Milwaukee's regular center fielder with Lewis Brinson coming off the bench. Before his demotion, Broxton was hitting .218 with 14 HR, 36 RBI and 17 steals over 293 at-bats for the Brew Crew.
American League Quick Hits: Evan Longoria hit for the cycle Tuesday as the Rays beat the Astros 6-4. The double came in the ninth, and Longoria was originally ruled out on the play before replay correctly overturned the call. Longoria's triple came in the third and was his first of the year. He hit his 17th homer in the first ... David Price (elbow) played catch Tuesday for the first time since landing on the disabled list. He made 25 throws from 60 feet, though it was only light tossing. That's good news for Price, who was placed on the disabled list last week with left elbow inflammation. He's expected to miss more than the minimum, though the Red Sox are confident it's not as serious as the issue he dealt with in the spring ... Yoan Moncada (knee) was not in Tuesday's lineup against the Blue Jays. Moncada suffered a bruised right knee in a collision with teammate Willy Garcia on Monday. Garcia (concussion) ended up getting the worst of it. Yolmer Sanchez filled in at second base on Tuesday, but Moncada should be back in there soon ... Red Sox placed 2B Dustin Pedroia on the 10-day disabled list, retroactive to July 29, with left knee inflammation. Pedroia has already missed a few days and will now get some extended rest for his knee. The recently-acquired Eduardo Nunez should be locked in as a regular in the short-term ... Twins activated OF Byron Buxton from the 10-day disabled list. Buxton, out since mid-July with a left groin strain, went 5-for-12 with two homers over three rehab games with Triple-A Rochester. The 23-year-old went 1-for-3 with a stolen base in Tuesday's loss to the Padres ... Joey Gallo slugged a solo homer and a three-run shot in Tuesday's loss to the Mariners. Gallo had a two-homer game last Monday, as well, and now has 27 dingers on the season, putting him on pace for 41. Adam Dunn's .204 average in 2012 is the lowest ever for a 40-homer hitter. Gallo is currently batting .202 ... Christian Vazquez went 3-for-5 with a walkoff three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth as the Red Sox topped the Indians 12-10 on Tuesday. It was a crazy finish to a game that Vazquez wasn't supposed to start; Sandy Leon is Chris Sale's personal catcher, but he was bothered by a sore knee. Sale ended up turning in his worst start of the season, and Vazquez could have been considered the goat after allowing a go-ahead wild pitch with Craig Kimbrel in the top of the ninth. Instead, Vazquez turned it around in a huge way, hitting just his second homer of the year off a tough closer in Cody Allen.