Daily Dose: Halladay and Downs go down
Already wrecked by injuries, the Blue Jays’ pitching staff will likely add two more big names to the disabled list. Roy Halladay experienced a setback with his groin injury during a bullpen session Wednesday and is headed for the shelf, but noted that he “absolutely” expects to rejoin the rotation when eligible on June 28. Brett Cecil seems like the best candidate to fill-in after holding his own in his debut.
Halladay could pitch again this month, but Toronto will probably be without Scott Downs for quite a bit longer after he sprained a toe while hitting Tuesday. Downs has done a great job since taking over closer duties from B.J. Ryan, saving eight games with a 1.98 ERA and 28/4 K/BB ratio, but Ryan may get a second chance after eight straight scoreless appearances. Jason Frasor is the other option.
While the Blue Jays try to stay above .500 with approximately 50 pitchers on the DL, here are some other notes from around baseball ...
* Pedro Martinez has reportedly been working out five days per week recently in the Dominican Republic and said Wednesday that he’s close to signing with an undisclosed team. “There’s a good chance I’ll be signing soon, but there still isn’t anything firm,” Martinez said. He listed the Cubs and Rays as the two teams that “have shown the most interest” before adding that “we’re negotiating with them.”
* It took 14 games and 50 plate appearances, but Matt Wieters hit his first career homer Wednesday against Tim Redding. Wieters is batting .240/.283/.380 with a 12/3 K/BB ratio and four extra-base hits overall, which clearly isn’t the production that owners had in mind when he was called up amid crazy hype last month, but he’s 10-for-35 (.286) over the past 10 games and will get on track soon enough.
* Erik Bedard was placed on the disabled list Wednesday and will have his sore shoulder examined by Dr. James Andrews next week, which could ruin whatever plans the Mariners had of cashing in the impending free agent before the July 31 trading deadline. Bedard is 5-2 with a 2.47 ERA and 65/22 K/BB ratio through 66 innings, so if healthy he would have been very attractive to contending teams.
* John Smoltz made his final minor-league rehab start Wednesday, giving up one run in four innings at Triple-A. He threw just 60 pitches in preparation for his Red Sox debut next week, striking out three, walking one, and allowing three hits. His first matchup will be next Thursday against the Nationals, but mixed leaguers will likely want to take a wait-and-see approach initially.
AL Quick Hits: Brad Penny picked up his 100th career win by allowing one run in five innings Wednesday ... Scott Kazmir (quadriceps) tossed 4.2 shutout innings in his first rehab start Wednesday at Single-A ... Torii Hunter (ribs) came off the bench Wednesday, going 1-for-2 while playing center field ... Derek Jeter (ankle) sat out Wednesday’s game, but an MRI exam revealed no big damage ... Dustin Pedroia was 3-for-5 with three RBIs and two steals Wednesday ... Carl Pavano’s next start has been pushed back four days due to a sore shoulder ... Pat Burrell played the outfield Wednesday for the first time with the Rays ... Scott Richmond had a career-high 11 strikeouts over eight innings of one-run ball Wednesday for his first win since May 3 ... Chien-Ming Wang fell to 0-5 with a 12.65 ERA, giving up three runs over five innings Wednesday as Phil Hughes relieved him with two shutout frames ... Zack Greinke allowed six runs Wednesday for his worst start.
NL Quick Hits: Micah Owings tossed six innings of two-run ball Wednesday and smacked a three-run homer in a 4-3 win ... Gary Sheffield homered Wednesday for the third time in five games, quieting concerns about his knee injury ... Pablo Sandoval started at third base Wednesday for the first time this month and went 0-for-3 ... Ryan Braun left Wednesday’s game with lower back tightness ... Jerry Manuel said Wednesday that Jose Reyes (calf) is at least a week from beginning a rehab stint ... Tim Lincecum allowed four runs in eight innings Wednesday for his first loss since April 12 ... Alfonso Soriano continued to struggle Wednesday by going 0-for-4 with his sixth error ... John Lannan held the Yankees to a pair of runs in 8.1 innings Wednesday before Mike MacDougal got the final two outs for a save ... Joey Votto took batting practice Wednesday and is close to beginning a rehab assignment ... Jonathan Broxton (toe) was unavailable Wednesday.