Rockies first baseman Justin Morneau, who is on the DL with a neck strain, took batting practice Sunday morning. He is scheduled to play a rehab game at Triple-A Colorado Springs on Monday and rejoin the Rockies in Chicago on Tuesday, assuming all goes well.
Relief pitcher Joel Peralta, who’s been on the DL since 7/13 with an illness, is expected to be activated from the 15-day disabled list for Monday’s game against Milwaukee.
First baseman Mark Teixeira, sidelined since 7/20 with a strained lower left lat is questionable for Monday’s game against Texas. He’s been taking infield practice, running and hitting in the cage and is expected to play sometime this week. Keep him benched until the Yankees announce his return.
Center fielder Coco Crisp has a sore neck and is expected to miss Monday’s game against Houston. The team doesn’t expect he’ll need to go on the DL.
Scooter Gennett, who’s missed several games with a quad strain, is expected to return to the lineup tonight.
Starting pitcher Ian Kennedy will miss Monday’s scheduled start against Atlanta. He has a sore oblique muscle that may require a trip to the DL.
Right fielder Carlos Quentin was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a knee ailment. Tommy Medica and Chris Denorfia will see additional playing time while Quentin is out.
Trends, Rumors and News
Without a doubt there will be numerous rumors floating around over the next few days about possible trades, most of which will never come to fruition. But I can’t resist repeating this one. Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston reported over the weekend that the Red Sox are kicking the tires on a deal with the Dodgers to obtain Matt Kemp with Jon Lester going to LA. The Red Sox aren’t likely to meet Lester’s contract demands, whether it’s the money or the years he’d likely want, so this one makes some sense. It’s already apparent that they’ve given up hope of making the playoffs this year, so why not retool? Kemp could very well thrive in Fenway Park, so this is an interesting trade from a Fantasy standpoint.
As reported here last week, the Padres are probably going to activate Jedd Gyorko off the disabled list today. He’s been sidelined since early June with plantar fasciitis. The ailment certainly took its toll on Gyorko’s production during the season’s first two months, as he posted a terrible .162/.213/.270 line and was striking out 25.3 percent of the time. However, some of his problems at the plate were driven by an unsustainably low .192 BABIP, though he’s never really been a high BABIP type hitter with a .258 career mark in the metric. His line drive rate and HR/FB ratio were also well below the numbers he posted in 2013 so he could be in line for a nice bounce back over the second half. He’s worth a flier in all formats for those in need of a middle infield boost over the remainder of the season.
Very quietly, Tommy La Stella is making a bid for Rookie of the Year. La Stella is first among NL rookies in walks (22) and on-base percentage (.363), and second in batting average at.288. Most amazingly, he’s done this with just 53 games played this season. However, he’s really turned it on recently; over his last 10 games he’s slashed .310/.356/.405 with 10 RBIs. His walk rate (10.1 percent) and strikeout rate (10.6 percent) are nearly identical, giving him a 0.96 Batting Eye (BB/K) and his .325 supporting BABIP is quite sustainable given his 23.2 percent line drive rate. The Braves lineup has come alive of late, giving La Stella plenty of opportunities to run up his counting stats, which makes him worthy of mixed league play for the rest of the season.
Carlos Santana has rebounded in a big way after a dreadful first two months that left him with a .159/327/.301 slash line with six HRs on May 31. Well, since June 1, Santana has a stellar .311/.421/.622 triple slash with 14 HRs, 33 RBIs and 25 runs scored to bring his season totals to .232/.371/.456. He has 20 homers, 50 RBIs, leads the American League with 72 walks and he has a .827 OPS. Santana has already matched last season’s HR total and could be on his way towards exceeding his career-best 27 HR total in 2011. The buy low window on Santana is firmly shut but you might get his owner to believe that he can’t keep this up and snag him that way.
We’ve been looking for a breakout season from Lucas Duda for at least three years. Well, it looks like the Mets finally did something right by shipping Ike Davis out of town, because Duda has responded with what looks like a breakout to me. Over his last 30 games, Duda is batting .284/.386/.587 with nine HRs, 23 RBIs, 18 runs scored and a stolen base thrown in for fun. For the season, he has a respectable .259/.356/.500 triple slash and 18 HRs. He still hasn’t figured out southpaws, though; he is batting just .155 against lefties this season, which is much worse than his 213 career average against them. Still, he provides solid power from a corner infield slot and is worth adding or acquiring if you’re looking for power to make a run at a title.
David Freese has been surging over his last 30 games with a slash line of .290/.353/.467, four HRs, 19 RBIs and 15 runs scored. Overall, he’s raised his season average up to .245, a solid improvement over the .218 he had posted through mid-June. However, despite the improved average and OPB, Freese is still striking out nearly 30 percent of the time over the last 30 games and his season K rate stands at 28.2 percent. His walk rate borders on elite at 9.0 percent, but his Swinging Strike rate of 10.7 percent is just too high and the strikeouts will eventually drag his average back down. Don’t be fooled by his recent good production; it won’t last.
The Return of Jason Lane
Today we’re being treated to a truly rare event. After seven years of relative obscurity and battling to get back to the Show, Jason Lane makes his MLB debut as a pitcher for the San Diego Padres today. Lane is one of the oldest players to convert from hitter to pitcher. He hasn’t appeared in the majors since 2007, when he had a few mop up outings for the Blue Jays and decided to give pitching a whirl. He spent three years in the Blue Jays’ minor league system, then caught on with the Diamondbacks in 2012 and pitched at the Triple-A level, where he posted 7.59 ERA in 21 innings before he was released. The Padres have had him on their Triple-A team for the past two seasons, where he has a record of 6-8 with an ERA of 4.67 in 115 innings over 19 starts this year. Lane throws a fastball that hovers around 88 mph, but his best pitch is probably his changeup, which has good downward movement and hums in there around 79 mph. He also has a slider but it’s a pitch that he is still developing. You can see him throwing both the fastball and changeup in this video. Lane turns 38 this coming December, so this is an unusual situation to say the least. While I doubt he’ll be successful against the Braves today, I wish him the best of luck and hope he at least makes a respectable showing.