Daily Dose: Kinsler Hits DL; Feliz Up
As Aaron Gleeman ventures his way back from another successful SABR Convention in Washington, D.C., I’m happy to be your guide to Sunday’s goings-on in the baseball world. No worries, you’ll be back to your regularly scheduled Daily Dose soon enough.
There was bad news and good news for Rangers fans on Sunday. While they took a serious hit with second baseman Ian Kinsler being placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left hamstring, the blow was softened by news that top prospect Neftali Feliz is on his way from Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Acquired from the Braves in the Mark Teixeira deal, the 21-year-old Feliz has garnered tons of attention for his 100+ MPH fastball, recently averaging 99.4 MPH on his heater during July’s Futures Game. He was named the organization’s top prospect by Baseball America over the winter. The Dominican flamethrower began the year as a starter but recently moved to the RedHawks bullpen in anticipation of a promotion to the big club, compiling a 2.16 ERA and 20/3 K/BB ratio over 16 2/3 innings.
Make no mistake, the club still views him as a starting pitcher in the long-term, but much like fellow blue-chipper Derek Holland, he’ll cut his teeth in the pen, joining C.J. Wilson, the newly-activated Frank Francisco and Darren O’Day in a relief corp that was already one of the best in the American League. Get ready to pounce in keeper leagues.
As for Kinsler, he was placed on the disabled list retroactive to July 29, so it’s conceivable that he could return by the end of next week. Perhaps a bit of a respite isn’t the worst thing in the world for Kinsler and the Rangers anyway; since a ridiculous .322/.384/.656 showing in April, Kinsler has hit just .219/.293/.431, including a lowly .157 batting average in July. Still, fantasy owners will have to find a replacement for a player who leads all major league second basemen with 22 stolen bases and is in the top five in homers, RBI and runs scored. Not the easiest task, but there are plenty of quality options available in most mixed-leagues (Maicer Izturis, for one).
* After suffering a setback in his recovery last week, Brandon Webb will undergo season-ending shoulder surgery on Monday. It’s the culmination of a roller coaster season for Webb, who hasn’t pitched since Opening Day. Dealing with nagging stiffness and soreness in his right shoulder, Webb opted for a more conservative approach to his rehab, rejecting the notion of surgery as recently as last month.
Saying that Webb “exhausted every other course of treatment,” executive vice president and general manager Josh Byrnes stated that the team supports his decision for surgery, but it presents quite the dilemma for the Diamondbacks. The team holds an $8.5 million dollar option on Webb for 2010, one which they will almost surely decline, unless the 30-year-old right-hander is given an abnormally optimistic recovery time. It sounds crazy to say this, but his days in Arizona might be numbered.
* Scott Downs found himself back on the disabled list on Sunday after aggravating the same toe injury that cost him nearly three weeks earlier this season. Downs was brilliant after supplanting B.J. Ryan as the team’s closer, posting a 1.98 ERA and 0.88 WHIP in 26 games before injuring the big toe on his left foot while running the bases back on June 16. He just hasn’t been the same pitcher since returning on July 8, putting up a 9.00 ERA over nine appearances and blowing two out of three save opportunities. Manager Cito Gaston hinted that the 33-year-old southpaw may have returned a little too soon last time, so expect the club to show a bit more caution before activating him.
In the meantime, look for Jason Frasor, who stepped in for the fallen Downs to secure a 6-5 win over the Athletics on Saturday, to get the majority of save chances. Frasor has a 2.09 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and 35/10 K/BB ratio in 38 2/3 innings this season. He was Gaston’s go-to-guy during Downs’ earlier stint on the disabled list, notching two saves. Brandon League may figure in on some nights too, but Frasor is the clear choice in mixed leagues.
* As I wrote on our Circling the Bases blog, Victor Martinez entered Sunday’s action batting just .198 since June 4, but true to form, he went out and tied a career-high with five hits while driving in four runs as the Red Sox trounced the Orioles 18-10. Martinez was acquired from the Indians on Friday in exchange for Justin Masterson and minor-league pitchers Nick Hagadone and Bryan Price. So far, Martinez has started at first base and catcher in his first two games with Boston. Expect the shuffling to continue. Martinez joined a crowded 1B/C/DH/3B scenario that includes Jason Varitek, Kevin Youkilis, Mike Lowell, David Ortiz and the newly-acquired Casey Kotchman.
On it’s face, this looks like a brilliant move by general manager Theo Epstein. In one fell swoop, he managed to land additional insurance on Mike Lowell, who is still nursing a hip injury, and Jason Varitek, who doesn’t have to carry as big of a burden behind the plate anymore. It may end up being a winning strategy for Boston, but the biggest losers in this scenario just might be fantasy owners. Be sure to watch those lineup cards closely, folks.
AL Quick Hits: Melky Cabrera became the 15th player in Yankees history to hit for the cycle on Sunday ... Orioles 2008 first-round pick Brian Matusz is expected to make his major league debut on Tuesday against the Tigers ... Clay Buchholz was rocked for seven runs over four-plus innings on Sunday, continuing to show that he is not yet mixed-league worthy ... Melvin Mora expressed his displeasure with manager Dave Trembley after being benched on Sunday -- the third time in the last four games -- saying it might be time for him to “move on” ... J.D. Drew slashed a three-run double in the top of the first on Sunday, but left in the second inning with a tight right groin ... The Yankees will shuffle their starting rotation so that Joba Chamberlain can start Thursday’s opener against the Red Sox ... Likewise, Jon Lester is being moved up for a start against the Rays on Tuesday so that he can face the Yankees ...
NL Quick Hits: Corey Hart had his appendix removed on Sunday and is out indefinitely; Bill Hall will be recalled from Triple-A Nashville ... Freddy Sanchez was 2-for-4 with an RBI double in his Giants’ debut on Sunday ... Chad Billingsley blanked the Braves over five innings on Sunday before leaving with a hamstring cramp; he is expected to make his next start ... ... Jeff Francoeur has four home runs and 19 RBI in 19 games since joining the Mets, but just one walk ... Scott Rolen left Sunday’s game with the Rockies after getting plunked in the helmet by Jason Marquis, but shouldn’t miss any time ... In his major league debut on Sunday, Bud Norris hurled seven shutout innings in a 2-0 win over the Cardinals ... Hanley Ramirez was out of the starting lineup on Sunday after leaving the night before with a bruised left knee, but appeared as a pinch-hitter ... The Mets activated Gary Sheffield from the disabled list on Sunday, but relegated him to a bench role ...