Under the Knife: Brewers can take time with Weeks; more injury news
Having taken a quick break last Friday -- call it a skipped start or a rain out -- we have a lot to cover. I'm not fatigued, but my editors do want to keep me under my normal pitch count so that I'm ready for the home stretch of the baseball season (while doing my own Bo Jackson imitation.) Powered
The Brewers are doing just fine without Weeks, but they're clearly a better team with him. Their margin in the NL Central is letting them be a bit conservative with Weeks' return, which could have been pushed to this last weekend. Instead, they're keeping him working with the major league staff on lateral motion and planning on a short rehab assignment at some point this week, before the minor league season ends. This isn't a setback, though this is a "slow down". Nothing's changed physically for Weeks, just the circumstances around his comeback. There don't appear to be any real issues with his ankle, but since it's his front (left) ankle, his power shouldn't suffer. By the time the playoffs come around, it should be close to 100 percent.
Ethier's long wanted out of L.A., but the
It's amazing how the attitude of both Twins fans and the Twins themselves have changed towards Mauer this season. Bob Sansevere got Mauer to
The Indians are in contention despite injuries -- or because of it? Has the Indians medical staff taken what could have been baseball lemons and turned them into lemonade? Sheer numbers don't give a clear picture, but it appears that in most situations, the Indians days lost are slightly below expectations except for Grady Sizemore, which isn't a normal situation. I'm loathe to read much into that, since I think injuries are too individualized to have averages or calculated expectations mean much, though when you draw it out, seeing a medical staff do it again and again is more telling. The latest issues won't load them down, since they'll end the seasons of the respective players. Brantley will have surgery to remove his hamate bone. He'll be fine for next season, but won't have time to return this year unless the Indians go deep into the playoffs. Tomlin's inflamed elbow isn't as severe, but the Indians are going to shut him down for two weeks. The team will look at their record at that stage and if they're
Asking about Buchholz over the last 10 days has seen a real sea change in the answers. About a week ago, something changed and people I spoke with, inside and outside the Red Sox organization, seemed much more positive about his return in September. The key is not only the rehab work and his response, but the sudden willingness of the Sox to think of Buchholz as a reliever. Buchholz could more easily get into a sixth- or seventh-inning role (why not both!) than building up stamina to get a couple starts. Scouts I spoke with thought Buchholz would have no trouble adjusting and FOTs thought that the scenario might be good leverage against Jonathan Papelbon this offseason. Right now, it's going to be very tight for getting Buchholz into any minor league games, though Pawtucket (AAA) is in first place.
The Phillies could have pushed Hamels back, but the team likes the matchup they see for Hamels against the Reds. They also like the idea of staying on schedule. Getting Hamels back at this stage of the season allows them to not only get him confident and ready, but allows them to start resting their pitchers a bit. With rosters expanding, you're likely to see the Phillies adjust things a bit, buying Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee some extra days here and there. Hamels is locked in as their SP3 as long as the shoulder holds up and there's been no indication that this is anything more than a rest period for Hamels, catching the start of fatigue-induced damage and preventing it. If only more teams could do that.
Strasburg took his rehab up to Syracuse (AAA), where his stuff would get tested. AAA rosters are often loaded with guys who have been in the bigs, which give us a better idea of where a pitcher is. Unfortunately, the Rochester lineup wasn't like that, with Toby Gardenhire the guy who has the most big league time, but that's not playing, just sitting by his dad. It makes it harder to judge the results, but Strasburg's raw stuff was ... well, Strasburgian. He showed good velocity, good control, good command, and featured all his pitches. He didn't seem to struggle and was solid through his last pitch, finishing out at 64 on a pitch limit of 60. (They let him finish his batter.) Strasburg could stay on plan, making one more start with a goal of 75-80 pitches, but there's some consideration of bringing him up now. He was hitting 98 and could easily be shadowed by another pitcher with rosters expanding. He's only got one more minor league start at worst, which would be Thursday, but he's going to be an interesting fantasy decision in some leagues. He's the same Strasburg we saw last year, with all the good and bad that comes with it.
Hanley Ramirez is rehabbing in Jupiter (A) and word is that the team expects to have him back by the weekend. It's important to note that the September 1 roster expansion will create a lot of moves like this one ... Derek Jeter was a late scratch Sunday. He has a bruised knee, but it's not considered serious ... Adrian Beltre thinks he'll need just two games at Round Rock (AAA) before returning to the Rangers. They may wait a bit more for rosters to expand, but things look solid for Beltre's hamstring after a couple setbacks ... Kevin Youkilis is expected to head down to Pawtucket (AAA) later this week. He's been doing well in batting practice, with his back much less of a problem for him