Daily Dose: Phillies turn to Madson as closer
Brad Lidge was flawless last year, converting 41-of-41 save chances with a 1.95 ERA, but blew six saves in 19 tries this season while posting a 7.27 ERA and the Phillies placed him on the disabled list Tuesday. Shutting Lidge down for a while may be the only way to stop manager Charlie Manuel from using him in the ninth inning, so giving his knee and arm some rest was the right move for the Phillies.
Ryan Madson was fantastic as Lidge’s primary setup man last season and hasn’t missed a beat this year, posting a 2.84 ERA and 98/32 K/BB ratio in 111 innings since the beginning of 2008. He’ll take over ninth-inning duties and is an obvious must-own in all leagues, with J.C. Romero stepping back into his setup role after returning last week from a 50-game suspension.
While the Phillies hope that some time on the sidelines can cure Lidge, here are some other notes from around baseball ...
* There were few surprises at the top of the draft Tuesday night, as the Nationals selected San Diego State phenom Stephen Strasburg at No. 1 and the Mariners took North Carolina hitting machine Dustin Ackley at No. 2. San Diego went with prep outfielder Donavan Tate at No. 3, while Missouri ace Kyle Gibson fell all the way from consensus top-10 talent to Minnesota at No. 22 due to injury concerns.
Strasburg is capable of making an impact in the big leagues this season, but the Nationals will have a difficult time simply signing him by the mid-August deadline and there’ll be nothing to play for in Washington anyway. Regardless of whether you buy into Strasburg being the greatest college pitcher of all time or just one of the best in a long time, if signed he should be a big fantasy asset by mid-2010.
* David Ortiz’s homer Saturday was a Fenway Park special, but his two-run blast Tuesday off A.J. Burnett was a true bomb to deep center field. His OPS narrowly squeaking past .600 is hardly cause for celebration, but Ortiz has at least shown some actual signs of life this month by going 7-for-24 (.292) with two homers and a double. With his eyes checked and his swing looking better, maybe it’s time.
* Jesse Litsch has spent the past couple months rehabbing his elbow injury after Dr. James Andrews twice recommended rest instead of surgery, but those plans disappeared Tuesday when the Blue Jays announced that he’ll undergo Tommy John surgery later this week. Litsch had emerged as a solid mid-rotation starter, going 20-19 with a 3.83 ERA in 50 starts, but now faces 12 months of recovery.
AL Quick Hits: Jed Lowrie (wrist) is reportedly about one week from beginning a rehab assignment ... Brad Bergeson tossed eight scoreless innings Tuesday for his third straight impressive outing ... Adam Lind homered Tuesday for the fourth time in five games and now ranks fifth in the league with 45 RBIs ... Ben Zobrist went deep Tuesday for the 12th time in 148 at-bats and is sporting a 1.094 OPS after coming into the year as a .222/.279/.370 hitter ... Jose Arredondo was 10-2 with a 1.62 ERA last season, but is headed back to Triple-A after posting a 5.55 ERA and pitching just three times since May 25 ... Aaron Poreda will work out of the bullpen initially after being called up Tuesday, leaving Jose Contreras in the rotation with Bartolo Colon (knee) going on the disabled list ... Mark DeRosa hit a go-ahead grand slam Tuesday and has 42 RBIs in 56 games despite a modest .267/.332/.449 overall line ... Cliff Lee’s streak of 10 straight Quality Starts came to an end Tuesday with four runs in six innings.
NL Quick Hits: Jordan Zimmermann was scratched from his Tuesday start with a sore elbow, but is slated to pitch Saturday ... David Wright homered Tuesday for the first time in over a month and is now batting .348 ... Johan Santana served up four homers Tuesday for just the second time in his career, yet still managed his eighth victory ... Jeremy Hermida delivered a walk-off homer Tuesday versus Jason Motte ... Mat Gamel made his fourth straight start at third base Tuesday and smacked his second career homer ... J.J. Putz (elbow) underwent surgery Tuesday and won’t be allowed to throw for at least six weeks ... Carlos Gonzalez went 2-for-4 with a steal while starting in left field Tuesday ... As expected, Chris Iannetta (hamstring) came off the disabled list Tuesday and resumed starting for the Rockies ... Pittsburgh will call up Charlie Morton to start Wednesday against his former Braves teammates ... Milton Bradley (calf) rejoined the starting lineup Tuesday and is now available for another injury.