Archive for August 2012

What's Wrong With the Diamondbacks' Ian Kennedy?

Ian Kennedy was legitimately in the running for the National League Cy Young award last season.  He was a big reason why the Arizona Diamondbacks made a surprise run to win the division.  He is also a big reason why the team has faltered this year.  Such is the case with pitchers.  If a team develops an ace then suddenly loses him, it's hard to recovery from that.  Most times you see this with injuries, but with Kennedy, no injury has been diagnosed.  The Diamondbacks have simply lost him even though he's on the mound every fifth day for them.

But is that true?  Are there any indications that something more might be going on?  Let's take a closer look, but first let's get some baseline information on Kennedy.  To judge whether a pitcher is hiding an injury takes much more than a look at the numbers, but that's all we have, so we need to look at ALL the numbers.

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Alex Rodriguez Set to DH in Rehab Assignment

Alex Rodriguez is inching closer to a return.  The All-Star third baseman for the Yankees has been on the disabled with with a fractured hand after being hit by a Felix Hernandez pitch on July 24th.  Now, according to Wallace Matthews of ESPN New York, Rodriguez is set to make a rehab appearance with the Class A Tampa Yankees today.  Rodriguez will serve as the designated hitter tonight, but he hopes to soon return to the infield with New York soon.

Rodriguez may return this weekend, but it seems more likely he will return sometime next week.  The Yankees would love to have him back as soon as possible - maybe even this weekend - as they look to hold off a charging Orioles club.  The Yankees start a three-game series against the Orioles tonight and hope to increase their three game lead over Baltimore.

Mark Craig of the New Jersey Star-Ledger echoed the sentiment of Matthews.  Craig believes that Rodriguez will return next week, as early as Monday.

Rodriguez appears to be on the fast track back to the Bronx. He spent the week taking live batting practice at Yankee Stadium in addition to fielding grounders at third base with no restrictions.
Alex Rodriguez was hitting .276/.358/.449 with 15 home runs at the time of his injury.  He failed to make the All-Star Game this season and has his lowest OPS since 1995 with the Seattle Mariners.  However, the Yankees have had to use a platoon of players at third base in Rodriguez's absence.  If they hope to maintain their lead in the American League East, Rodriguez's return will be key.  New York has played poorly of late.  They have gone 4-6 in their last ten games and have seen their lead in the East continue to shrink.

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Dodgers' Kenley Jansen Out Due to Heart Problem

The Los Angeles Dodgers have lost another pitcher, at least temporarily.  Their closer, Kenley Jansen, will be out indefinitely after experiencing an irregular heartbeat Wednesday.  He was held out of Wednesday's game and had a meeting with a cardiologist yesterday.  The Dodgers hope to get him back before the end of the season, but they don't know the severity of the issue yet.

According to Marx Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles, Jansen first had issues with an irregular heartbeat earlier this year.  Saxon also said the Dodgers remain hopeful that Jansen will pitch again this season, but at this point they simply don't know.

"We have to make sure he does everything he has to do to make sure he's taking care of himself and we need to understand exactly what we should be doing to help him take care of himself," Mattingly said. "We're lucky. We're in L.A., with some of the best doctors in the world."
In the interim, while Los Angeles waits to hear if they will get their closer back, they will use either Brandon League or Ronald Bellisario or a combination of the two.  League was a closer at times in his career with the Seattle Mariners.

Jansen was having a nice season, his first as a full-time closer.  In 56 appearances, he has accumulated 25 saves and posted a 2.54 ERA.  Last season, Jansen appeared in 52 games and put up a 2.85 ERA.  He was seventh in Rookie of the Year voting last season.  Jansen was un-drafted, but he signed with the Dodgers as an amateur free agent in 2004.  He was born in Curacao, Netherlands.

The Dodgers have 16 blown saves this season.  That's good enough for just 20th in the league, so losing Jansen for any extended period of time could hurt Los Angeles.  Jansen hasn't blown a save since  August 5th against the Chicago Cubs.  The likelyhood of a blown save may increase as the Dodgers go to a closer-by-committee system in Jansen's absence.

Los Angeles enters play today 4.5 games back of the San Francisco Giants.  They can't afford to lose any more ground.

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Cardinals' Rafael Furcal May Have Torn UCL

An injury that has plagued pitchers all season long is rearing its head with position players as well.  Carl Crawford's season just recently ended after he underwent Tommy John surgery to repair a torn ulnar colateral ligament in his throwing elbow.  Rafael Furcal, shortstop for the St. Louis Cardinals, may be faced with the same fate.
According to Jim Bowden of ESPN, Furcal is going to see doctors to confirm the injury.

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Dodgers' Chad Billingsley Has Injection

In a last-ditch attempt to come back this season for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Chad Billingsley has undergone a platelet-rich plasma injection in his inflamed elbow.  Billingsley is currently on the 15-day DL, his second stint for elbow inflammation.

According to Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles, Billingsley had the injection yesterday.  He and the Dodgers hope this procedure will allow him to return and help Los Angeles in their race for the National League West.  Saxon points out the platelet-rich plasma is a relatively new procedure designed to help in the recovery process.  In Billingsley's case, the procedure is designed to speed up the recovery or de-inlfammation of his elbow.

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Dodgers Place Scott Elbert on DL

Scott Elbert has been placed on the DL for the second time this season with elbow soreness.  The Dodgers placed Elbert on the disabled list after appearing in four games since returning from his first stint.

According to Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times, Elbert's spot will be taken by Shawn Tolleson who was recalled.  Rosters expand on September 1st so the Dodgers will soon be able to bring on reinforcements, but for at least another day they will have to shuffle their lineup around to cover yet another injury.

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Matt Kemp Listed by Dodgers as Day-to-Day

The Dodgers' All-Star center fielder and 2011 MVP runner-up was injured after colliding with the center field wall two days ago against the Rockies.  Matt Kemp was tracking a ball hit to deep center at full speed when he hit the wall.  Kemp went straight to the ground in obvious pain and had to leave the game.  Fortunately, there was no structural damage found in Kemp's jaw or left knee, the two areas where he is experiencing the most pain.

According to the Associated Press release, the Dodgers have listed Kemp as day-to-day.  He has a bone bruise and body soreness.

"He feels like a truck hit him," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said.
Kemp has been no stranger to injury this season.  He has already had two DL stints during the year, but this injury should not land him on the disabled list.  Earlier in the season, Kemp was on fire before landing on the DL.  He was putting up MVP-type numbers, but the original left hamstring injury Kemp suffered in May slowed him down considerably.  Kemp landed back on the DL just two days after he returned from the first hamstring injury.

Kemp has played 78 games this year and is hitting .337/.404/.584 with 17 home runs.  He is still having a remarkable season, he was an All-Star, and he was named the All-Star Game Home Run Derby captain for the National League.  As the Dodgers continue to battle the San Francisco Giants for the National League West, Kemp's contributions will be vital.

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Pirates Neil Walker Likely to Avoid DL

Neil Walker missed yesterday's game against the Cardinals due to back pain.  He first started experiencing the lower back pain before Monday's game, but the injury doesn't seem severe.  According to Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Walker has had nothing more than tightness across his lower back.  Kovacevic says Walker is hopeful he will be able to return to the lineup soon.

Walker has struggled this season, but overall he has had a nice season.  So far this year, Walker is hitting .280/.342/.435 with 14 home runs.  Aside from his first full year in the Majors in 2010, Walker is having the best year of his career.  In 2010, he finished fifth in Rookie of the Year voting.

The Pirates have been chasing the Cardinals for the final Wild Card spot of late.  They just finished taking two of three from St. Louis without Walker's services, but the Pirates will need him back in the lineup to continue their push.  As it stands now, the Pirates are one game behind the Cardinals with 32 games to play.

Walker will hit his first arbitration eligible year after this season, and he has earned himself a nice pay increase.  If he can stay healthy, the Pirates will almost surely look to extend Walker's contract.

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Cardinals' Catcher Yadier Molina Hurt in Collision at Home Plate

The St. Louis Cardinals have listed their All-Star catcher, Yadier Molina, as day-to-day after a collision at home plate in yesterday's game against the Pittsburgh Pirates.  In the bottom of the second inning, the Pirates' Josh Harrison was trying to score on a single and slammed into Molina who was covering the plate.  The impact caused neck, back, and shoulder pain for Molina, and he had to leave the game after laying on the ground for a few minutes after the collision.

"I never saw the guy coming," Molina said. "I was concentrating on catching the ball. I never saw him coming, but the real pain was in my head. I don't know if he was (targeting) my head or not."
Most agree after seeing replays of the collision which can be seen on that it was a clean impact.  Molina was going low and lunging toward Harrison.  Harrison was also going low and had already lowered his shoulder for a potential impact.  It was a violent collision though.

Molina recently signed a ten-year, $96.5 million contract.  It was a huge deal, and one that has set a new precedent for catchers.  In fact, Molina's contract likely influenced the Diamondbacks' recent contract with Miguel Montero.  But Molina has earned it.

Molina is a four-time All-Star and a career .279/.335/.392.  He is widely regarded as one of, if not the, best all-around catchers in the league.  He handles a pitching staff well, hits well, and can throw runners out.  This season, Molina is hitting .324/.374/.510 with 17 home runs.  It's a break-out year of sorts for him, but he was heading in this direction starting last year when he hit .305 with 14 home runs.

The Cardinals are 71-58, seven games back of the Reds but two games ahead of Pittsburgh for the second Wild Card slot.  The loss of Molina Will Hurt, but if he can return quickly, Tony Cruz and others should be able to get the job done.

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White Sox Gavin Floyd to the DL

It was a likely scenario.  Glavin Floyd left his start against the the Mariners early on Monday when he felt some discomfort in his pitching elbow.  It was not immediately clear if he would be placed on the disabled list, but considering he was staying in Chicago rather than traveling with the team, it seemed probable.  Now, the White Sox have officially placed Gavin Floyd on the DL.

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Blue Jays' Jose Bautista to Have Season-Ending Surgery

The Toronto Blue Jays have had a rough season.  They seen injuries to some of their star players.  Jose Bautista has been the most prominent, and painful in terms of production loss, injury for the Blue Jays this season.  Bautista suffered a wrist injury back in July, shortly after the All-Star break.  He was swinging at a pitch against the Yankees when he fell to the ground in pain.  He had inflamed the wrist and had to be placed on the disabled list.  He returned from the DL Friday, but he said he felt the tendon moving in his wrist too much, so Bautista will undergo season-ending wrist surgery.

The Blue Jays outfielder had hopes that rest and rehab would allow him to return to everyday play, but since the tendon did not feel right, Bautista and the team has decided to go with surgery.  According to Gregor Chisholm of, Bautista will have the surgery on his left wrist sometime next week.  He is expected to be ready for return by spring training next year.

Bautista was hitting .241/.358/.527 with 27 home runs this season.  His home run total was a big reason why fans voted him into the All-Star Game.  His numbers as a whole are actually down when compared with 2011.  Last season, Bautista hit .302/.447/.608 with 43 home runs.

Bautista was drafted in the 20th round of the 2000 draft.  He spent some time in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization before eventually being drafted in the Rule 5 draft by the Baltimore Orioles.  He bounced around then finally landed with Toronto where he had his break-out year last season.

In his career, Bautista is a .253/.362/.486 hitter.  He had a huge power surge last year and looked poised to continue that this season until his injury.  Unfortunately for the Blue Jays, Bautista's number this season weren't enough.  Toronto is currently 57-71 and in last place in the American League East.

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Daisuke Matsuzaka Strong in Return from DL

Daisuke Matsuzaka  earned his first win since May of last year.  After undergoing Tommy John surgery last year, he returned from the DL this season only to falter and eventually land back on the disabled list with a strained neck.  He made his return yesterday afternoon and was impressive.

In seven innings, Matsuzaka allowed five hits and just one run.  He earned the win and helped Boston take the first game of their series against the Kansas City Royals.  Matsuzaka came into the game with a 6.65 ERA this year, but he lowered that to 5.10 after the start.

Matsuzaka has been far from the pitcher Boston thought they were getting when they signed him out of Japan. In his career, he's posted a 4.29 ERA. This is far too high an ERA for a $52 million player that cost twice that much in posting fees. But that's the problem with signing big name international free agents. The Rangers have run the same risk with Yu Darvish.

Despite, the successful return from the DL, it looks like the Red Sox have placed Matsuzaka on waivers. According to Buster Olney of ESPN, the Red Sox, who have been aggressive with their waiver moves, placed Matsuzaka on revocable waivers today.

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Red Sox Place David Ortiz Back on the DL

Well, the return didn't last long.  David Ortiz has been placed back on the 15-day disabled list with soreness in his Achilles tendon says Michael Vega of the Boston Globe.  The Red Sox DH/1B returned to action on Friday, but the soreness in his ankle continued forcing him back onto the DL.  Vega reports that Ortiz will receive a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection to help him get back before the end of the season.

Ortiz was 2 for 4 in his return from the DL with two hits, a double, and two RBI.  He has not played since that Friday return though.  The 36-year old is hitting .318/.415/.611 this year.  He has watched the Red Sox all but dismantle themselves to get out from huge contracts and to improve the clubhouse.  He has been the one constant producer and has been earning his keep.  While healthy that it.

With the season drawing near a close and the Red Sox nowhere near contention, we asked whether the Sox should just shut Ortiz down for the rest of the season.

It looks like with the PRP injections, this question was answered for everyone.  Ortiz wants to play, and it looks like the Red Sox have no issue with allowing him to try.  The truth is, Ortiz is a free agent after this year with no guarantees, so he might as well play things out.
“You guys already know, I’d like to be out there playing, helping out,’’ Ortiz said Monday. “The good thing that we talked about today [with the team’s medical staff] is we’re going to try this one PRP injection to see how it goes.’’
Ortiz has played the last ten seasons in Boston, but signed a one-year deal this past offseason.  He will again test the free agent markets, but will likely be faced with another one-year deal somewhere.  With his age and his injuries, it's unlikely that a team, especially the Red Sox, will give him more than one guaranteed year.

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Yankees' Mark Teixeira Suffers Calf Strain

Mark Teixeira has been battling injuries.  Last week he was fighting wrist inflammation that was keeping him out of games.  Now, he has strained his calf.  Last night, in the Yankees' loss to the Toronto Blue Jays, Teixiera strained his left calf and had to leave the game.

According to Ian Begley of ESPN New York, Teixeira suffered the injury in the fourth inning but didn't immediately leave the game.  The strain tightened up, and Teixeira had to be removed from the game and replaced by Eric Chavez.  The strain is a Grade I strain, the lowest grade but still known to keep players out for weeks at a time.

"It's sore," Teixeira said. "It's a Grade 1 strain so we'll see how long it takes."
Teixeria is hitting .255/.335/.478 with 23 home runs.  It's actually been an off year offensively for the power-hitting first baseman.  His career average OPS+ is 131.  This year is is 116.  He has knocked in 81 RBI and would have come close or possibly even eclipsed the 100 mark.  With the injury, that is now unlikely.

This is Teixeira's fourth season with the Yankees, and the fourth of his mega-contract worth $180 million.  With New York, Teixeira has .264/.358/.507.  In his career, he's hit 337 home runs.  He should get to 400+ before his contract is up - depending on injuries of course.   The two-time All-Star brings more than just his bat.  He's won four Gold Gloves at first base which of course adds to his overall value.

The Yankees have a 3.5 game lead over the Baltimore Orioles and a 4 game lead over the Tampa Bay Rays.  They have stumbled a bit in their last ten games going just 4-6.  However, they have been able to hold onto first place for most of the season.

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White Sox Gavin Floyd Experiencing Right Elbow Soreness

Gavin Floyd had to leave yesterday's game against the Mariners after two innings when he began feeling elbow soreness. Scott Merkin of says Floyd will stay in Chicago for tests and treatment while the team travels to Baltimore. The White Sox have not made a roster move as it is not yet known if Floyd will have to go on the disabled list.

Earlier this year, Floyd landed on the DL with right elbow tendinitis. He went on the DL July 17th, retroactive to July 8th. With the current injury, the hope is to let Floyd rest rather than put him on the DL, but it looks almost certain that he will miss his next scheduled start on Friday.

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Rangers' Koji Uehara Makes Return from DL

The Texas Rangers have never really been threatened this season.  They've had their ups and downs, but they have maintained a firm grip on first place in the American League West.  Even so, the return of Koji Uehara should be a welcome sight for Rangers fans.  Uehara was on the DL since June 15th (retroactive to June 10th) with a right lat strain.  He came off the DL yesterday and made his first appearance since June 9th.

Uehara had been rehabbing the lat strain when he suffered a setback in mid-July.  He aggravated the strain and was forced to sit.  However, as the Rangers once again approach a division title, Uehara is healthy and ready to go.  

Yesterday, in his first appearance back with the club, Uehara pitched a scoreless inning and gave up just one hit.  In 21 games this season, he has posted a 2.01 ERA.  The 37-year old righty from Japan has managed to impress despite his age.  He didn't begin playing American baseball until 2009, so he got a late start.  However, he has been solid since joining the ranks of the Major Leagues. 

In four seasons, split between the Baltimore Orioles and the Texas Rangers, Uehara has posted a career ERA of 3.00.  The Orioles experimented with him as a started in 2009, but the decision was made to ultimately use him in relief.  At the deadline last season, Uehara was traded to the Rangers to help them bolster their bullpen.  

For Texas, Uehara has been lights-out.  He has posted a 2.90 ERA in 40 1/3 innings pitched, he is allowing just 0.7 BB/9, and he is 10 batters every nine innings in his Rangers career.  

Earlier in the day yesterday, the Rangers had optioned Tanner Scheppers to Triple-A Round Rock to make room for Uehara on the roster.  After the rosters expand to 40-man in September, Scheppers is expected to return says Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas.

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Mets' Dillon Gee Receives Clean Bill of Health After Angiogram

On July 13th, Dillon Gee had surgery to repair a damaged artery in his throwing shoulder shoulder.  Doctors had originally discovered a blot clot before finding that the artery was damaged.  He underwent surgery to repair the artery in lieu of using blood thinners.  The procedure landed Gee on the 60-day disabled list and ultimately ended his season.

However, according to Adam Ruben of ESPN New York, Gee had an angiogram Friday and received a clean bill of health from doctors.  Gee will be allowed to resume throwing activities and is expected back by spring training.

I don't foresee a return this year, but I'm not trying to put a timetable on anything," Gee said. "I just want to begin throwing and see how I progress from there."
The 26-year old righty has appeared in three seasons for the Mets.  He was drafted in the 21st round back in 2007, but quickly progressed and made his Major League debut on September 7, 2010.  Gee had a 4.10 ERA prior to being placed on the 60-day DL this year, and he has posted a 4.06 ERA in his career.  Gee had his highest K/9 ratio of his career this season in the 17 starts he was able to make before the surgery.  He was striking out 8.0 batters every nine innings.  His previous high was 6.4.  He was also walking less than he had at other point in his career.  Gee was walking just 2.4 batters per nine innings.

At the time Gee was shut down, there was hope that he could return and help the Mets with a play-off push.  On July 13th, the Mets were 46-41 and still in the postseason hunt.  However, New York has fallen out of contention and there is no reason to rush Gee back to the rotation.  Allowing him to recover over the offseason should ensure his health when spring training 2013 rolls around.

The Mets are now 59-69 and 18.5 games out of first place.

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Carl Crawford and the Biggest Trades Involving Players on the Disabled List

Friday afternoon, news broke that the Red Sox and the Dodgers were working on a blockbuster trade - the type of trade you might see before the non-waiver trade deadline, but not one you would normally see after.  In fact, the only reason a proposed trade involving Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez, and Carl Crawford went through is because the Dodgers are about the only team willing to take on the salary. Those three players alone will be paid $56.75 million dollars next season, so when Josh Beckett cleared waivers and when Adrian Gonzalez was claimed, it came as no surprise the Dodgers were the ones interested.

Since the new ownership group has taken over, the Dodgers have had no issue in spending their money.  They have been motivated to win and win now.  This deal between the Dodgers and the Red Sox means that in one month, the Dodgers have taken on payroll in excess of what Frank McCourt had paid to buy the team back in 2004. But perhaps the most interesting part of this deal was Los Angeles' willingness to take Carl Crawford.

Crawford just underwent season-ending Tommy John surgery last Thursday.  While the surgery went well and the recovery time is expected to be just six months, no one knows how Crawford will be affected when he returns.  He was making strides in the limited action he saw this season toward getting back to the player the Red Sox thought they had acquired, but it will take a lot to wash away the taste of his horrid 2011 campaign.  And as I mentioned before, the Dodgers want to win now.  Crawford cannot help them do so.  Adrian Gonzalez's inclusion and Nick Punto's inclusion in the deal may have been the sweeteners necessary for the Red Sox to be able to dump Crawford on the Dodgers, but it's always interesting to see a player traded while on the disabled list.

I got to wondering about players who were traded while on the disabled list.  What I found, is that it's so uncommon, I was only able to come up with one name immediately:

Jake Peavy

Peavy was traded by the San Diego Padres to the Chicago White Sox on July 31, 2009.  He had rejected a trade to the White Sox earlier in the year by invoking his no-trade clause, but eventually gave in and allowed the Padres to ship him to Chicago's Southside.  The only issue was, he was hurt.  Peavy had been on the DL since June 13th of that year with a strained tendon in his ankle.

Peavy did not make his Chicago debut until September 19th against the Kansas City Royals.  He made three starts for the White Sox that year and posted a 1.37 ERA.  The White Sox did not make the postseason as both Peavy and the team had envisioned when the trade was consummated.  Then, things got worse.

In July of 2010, Peavy was pitching when his entire latissimus dorsi muscle detached from the bone.  The muscle is the largest and most powerful in the back - and a necessary one for pitching.  Peavy's season was over, and some thought his career would be done.  The blow would have been enormous to the White Sox who had recently made Peavy the highest-paid player on the team with a 3-year, $52 million deal.

The surgery Peavy had was essentially experimental as no baseball player in history was known to have had this injury.  Whether he could return to the game was unknown.  But he did.  In 2011, Peavy started 18 games and posted a 4.92 ERA.  Not quite the type of numbers the White Sox hoped they would get out of the 2007 Cy Young award winner, but considering what he went through, at least he was pitching at all.  This season, Peavy has been closer to his vintage self.  In 25 starts, he's posted a 3.09 ERA.

The trade was a risky one because of the original ankle injury, but the White Sox could not have predicted the back injury.  It's hard to fault them for picking up Peavy while he was on the DL.

After some further research more names popped up.  Erik Bedard and Jordan Schaefer are lesser known names to have been traded while on the disabled list.  But to my knowledge and through my research, Peavy's is the most famous.  Until now, possibly.

Carl Crawford is resting a surgically repaired elbow, but we know he gave the OK for the trade to go forward.  His no-trade clause was limited, but included the Dodgers.  He has waived the right to veto this trade, thus allowing the other pieces to fall into place.  So, now just as Crawford was becoming intimately knowledgable about the Red Sox medical staff, he will have to head west, be examined by Dodgers doctors and trainers, and eventually prepare himself for spring training in the Cactus League as opposed to the Grapefruit League.

There was no final at-bat for Crawford.  No fond farewell from knowledgeable fans aware of his impending trade.  No, Crawford is a far cry from Kevin Youkilis who was almost universally loved in Boston despite his struggles leading up to his trade to Chicago.  Crawford has the unfortunate distinction of being nothing more than a stock purchased high and sold low.  A failed investment by the Red Sox front office.  Lucky for him, baseball is a forging game.  Production in Los Angeles will erase all the negative equity he has built up, allow him to flip his upside down mortgage of a season (or two) and help the Dodgers make a profit on his performance.

But for now, Crawford sits and waits.  An injured player between jobs.  He's not quite on the Dodgers roster, and he's being forgotten in Boston as soon as possible.  Unlike Jake Peavy who was able to start the same year as his DL trade occurred, Crawford will have to wait for 2013.

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Dodgers' Chad Billingsley to the DL, Josh Beckett to Start Monday

Chad Billingsley has been incredible since the All-Star break.  He has been impressive in August.  And he's been a major part of the Dodgers battle to overtake the San Francisco Giants for first place in the National League West.  Now, the Dodgers will have to do battle without him.  According to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times, the Dodgers have placed Billingsley on the 15-day DL with right elbow soreness.

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Nationals' Michael Morse May Miss Another Start

Michael Morse was hit in the hand by a pitch in Friday's game against the Philadelphia Phillies. He had to exit the game, but X-Rays revealed no fracture. Morse sat out of yesterday's game and is expected to miss today.

James Wagner of the Washington Post, in the lineup he posted today, says Morse will not play in the finale against the Phillies. Morse missed much of the early part of the season while recovering from a lat strain suffered in spring training. Since his return, he has been one of the most productive players in the Nationals' lineup.

Morse has clubbed 12 home runs in 73 games this season and is hitting .286. In four seasons with the Nationals, Morse is hitting .293/.344/.516. He has lost his first base job to Adam LaRoche who has been surprisingly productive. However, Morse has performed well in the outfield.
Washington enters play today with a 77-49 record, the best in all of baseball. However, they have lost their last their last three games.

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Braves' Ben Sheets to the DL

Ben Sheets has been placed on the 15-day DL with right shoulder inflammation. He had performed well in his first three starts since joining the Braves, but he has struggled since. This is in part due to the shoulder inflammation. Sheets and the Braves hopes the rest will help get the resurgent pitcher back to 100%.

According to Mark Bowman of, it was while watching video with the Braves of his last start that the decision was made to rest his arm. The basis of the decision was that Sheets' was still locating his pitches, but his arm was fatigued and reducing his velocity.

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Red Sox to Activate David Ortiz Today

David Ortiz has been on the disabled list since July 18th with a strained right Achilles tendon.  He suffered the injury while rounding the bases, and there was immediate fear that he may have ruptured the tendon much like Ryan Howard did last season.  Luckily for both Ortiz and Red Sox Nation, that wasn't the case.  However, he still has had to spend a large chunk of time on the DL rehabbing the injury.  He is finally set to come off the DL tonight though.

Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald reports that Ortiz will test out the Achilles tonight and see how things go.  He has missed the last 35 games and could only watch as the Red Sox continued to crumble both on the field and in the clubhouse.

Ortiz is on the verge of returning after running the bases again yesterday. Although he says his sore right heel still isn’t even 90 percent healthy, he also believes his Achilles has healed enough that he can play through the pain without risking further injury.
Assuming Ortiz doesn’t experience any setbacks today, he will be reinstated from the disabled list before tonight’s series opener against the Kansas City Royals.
Ortiz was having one of the best seasons of his career before the injury - and the Red Sox weren't quite out of the play-off hunt.  On July 16th, the last day Ortiz played, the Red Sox were just one game back of a Wild Card spot.  Now, they are 8.5 games back and seven games under .500.  Ortiz was hitting .316/.414/.609.  He has been selected to his third straight All-Star game only a couple weeks before the injury.  It was also his eighth All-Star Game selection overall.

The Red Sox have had a tumultuous season thus far.  With Bobby Valentine in charge, the team has fractured more so than they did at the end of last season.  The team has rebelled against Valentine's style of leadership, but even more damaging, they have lacked a player on the roster who could step up and lead.  Perhaps with Ortiz's return, he can be that player.

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Tigers' Miguel Cabrera Listed As Day-to-Day With Right Ankle Soreness

The Detroit Tigers have listed Miguel Cabrera as day-to-day after he hurt his right ankle running the bases yesterday.  The All-Star slugger and MVP candidate had to be removed from the Tigers' game against the Toronto Blue Jays in the second inning.  There has been no confirmation of whether Cabrera will play today, but the Tigers do not think the injury is serious.  Neither does Cabrera.

Tom Gage of The Detroit News says it didn't take long for Cabrera to feel better.  When asked after the game about the ankle, Cabrera said, ""Just didn't feel right."  He went on to say that he feels better and hopes to be in today's game.  

James Schmel of reports that the feedback received from the team's training staff regarding Cabrera's injury was positive.  While the injury looked to have happened in yesterday's game, Jim Leyland, Tigers' skipper, said Carbera had actually tweaked it a few games ago at home plate.  No matter when the injury happened, the Tigers and Cabrera think the third baseman should be ready to go soon, possibly as soon as tonight's opener against the Angels.  However, Leyland will wait until game time to make a final decision and will see how Cabrera is feeling.

"I’m not going to do anything stupid," Leyland said. "If it means give him a day or two days, you give it to him until the kid is right. If he’s playing in a lot of pain, I don’t want to do that. So, we’ll just have to figure out another way to go about it."
Miguels Carbera is hitting .326/.393/.583.  He is leading the American League in total bases with 281.  Earlier this season, Cabrera was selected to his 7th All-Star Game.  Most think he is battling it out with the Angels' Mike Trout for the American League MVP this year, and the Tigers will be facing Trout and the Angels in this upcoming weekend series.

In his career, Cabrera is a .318/.395/.558 hitter.  He started his career with the Florida Marlins before eventually being traded to the Tigers for Dontrelle Willis and six other players.  Willis is not out of baseball and the only player of note that the Marlins received in return was Cameron Maybin.  Maybin is now with the San Diego Padres.

The Tigers are firmly planted in both the American League Wild Card race and the American League Central race.  They trail the Chicago White Sox in the Central by 1.5 games.  Cabrera has been a big reason why the Tigers have stayed in the race.  In the month of August, he is hitting .347 with six home runs.

With or without Cabrera, the Tigers will be taking on the Angels who are fresh off a sweep of the Boston Red Sox.  The Angels trail Rangers and the A's in the American League West.

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Yankees Place Ivan Nova on the DL

The New York Yankees have lost another starter.  They put Ivan Nova on the disabled list with inflammation of his right rotator cuff.  According to Erik Boland of Newsday, the Yankees placed Nova on the 15-day DL as most expected.

Nova experienced tightness in his right shoulder Wednesday and was sent home and now he has been placed on the DL.  The inflammation has developed over time, but now the Yankees will have to wait until there is about two weeks left in the season before Nova returns.  And the Tampa Bay Rays are closing ground fast.  After Thursday, the Rays are only 2.5 games back.  

Nova ha struggled this season, perhaps because of an injury that was not made known until now.  He has a 4.92 ERA this season overall, but Nova has a 7.28 ERA since the All-Star break.  He is a big part of the Yankees' future plans and will need to turn things around next year or during the postseason this year.  In his career, Nova has a 4.32 ERA.  While the ERA is high, Nova has shown he has some impressive talent.  He finished 4th in Rookie of the Year voting last season.

In 25 starts this year, Nova is striking out 8.0 batters per nine innings.  That's the highest total of his career.  However, last season Nova was worth 3.0 WAR.  This year, he's ben worth just 0.5 WAR.  

YankeeSource points out the struggles the Yankees have had with keeping their pitchers healthy:
Nova was signed by the Yankees as an amateur free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2004.  He made his Major League debut on May 13, 2010.  Since then, Nova has shown flashed of brilliance as well as flashes of mediocrity.  The injury and subsequent DL stint will not help the Yankees fend off the Rays.

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Red Sox' Carl Crawford Has Tommy John Surgery

According to the Boston Red Sox and ESPN Boston, Carl Crawford had successful Tommy John surgery yesterday.  The All-Star outfielder has played with a torn ulnar collateral ligament since returning from the disabled list for an unrelated injury.

"Carl Crawford underwent a successful left elbow ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction (Tommy John surgery) today and we expect him to make a full recovery."

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Padres' Jason Marquis to DL With Fractured Wrist

In a season full of injuries, the Padres have suffered yet another injury at starting pitcher.  Jason Marquis was only acquired because San Diego was running through their pitching staff and their prospects faster than they could call them up.  Now, Marquis' season may be over as he has been placed on the 15-day DL.  Marquis suffered a fractured left wrist after taking a line drive to the palm of his glove hand on Wednesday.

After being hit and being looked at by trainers, Marquis pitched into the sixth inning.  After the team discovered that Marquis had fractured a bone in his wrist, they placed him on the DL and made corresponding roster moves.

Marquis has posted a 4.04 ERA this season for the Padres, and a 5.22 ERA split between San Diego and Minnesota.  He's pitched 13 years in the league and has a 4.60 career ERA.  After starting the season with the Twins so poorly, they designated him and granted him free agency.  As the Padres' starters began dropping like flies, San Diego signed Marquis for the remainder of the season.

To replace Marquis on the roster, San Diego recalled Brad Boxberger.  Boxberger made his Major League debut this season and has been up and down all year.  In 13 games this season, Boxberger has posted a 3.52 ERA.  He was drafted by the Reds in 2009 and came over to San Diego in the deal that included Yasmani Grandal, Yonder Alonso, and Edinson Volquez.

San Diego has had a rough go this season on the injury front.  They may have had a much better year had their planned starting rotation been healthy or even if some of the replacements stayed healthy.  As it stands, San Diego is 56-70.

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Mets' Johan Santana Placed on 15-Day DL

After undergoing an MRI earlier this week, Johan Santana will now be shut down for the remainder of the season. The Mets made the decision after the MRI revealed back inflammation. Santana was placed on the 15-day DL yesterday. The move is expected to keep Santana sidelined for the rest of the season.

Since throwing 134 pitches on June 1st when he tossed the Mets' first no-hitter in franchise history, Santana has struggled. He will finish the season with a disappointing 4.85 ERA this year. After missing all of last season due to injury, there was plenty of discussion surrounding the Mets and allowing Santana to go as long as he did in the no-hitter. Now, Santana will have plenty of time to get healthy.

Andrew Keh of the New York Times is one of many to say Santsna won't pitch again this season. He said the back was the issue, nothing else according the the club.

“My mind-set was to start tomorrow,” Santana said of his schedule start Thursday, “but the doctors are thinking different now, so we’ll go with anything they’re saying.”

The Mets had a strong start to the season, but they have long since fallen out of contention. They are moving in the right direction, though. And if Santana can return fully healthy next season, he could anchor the Mets as they work towards transitioning into a competitor in the National League East.

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What Alex Rodriguez's Return Can Mean to the Yankees Postseason Run

The last image we have of Alex Rodriguez was him writhing in pain on the ground after being nailed in the hand by a Felix Hernandez pitch.  The pitch caused a non-displaced fracture in Rodriguez's left hand - an injury that did not require surgery, but has kept Rodriguez from swinging a bat.  Now, as the Yankees battle to hold off the Rays and enter the final month and a half of the season, Rodriguez will be a key component in the Bronx Bombers' hopes for postseason glory.

Rodriguez was placed on the disabled list July 25th, but his 15 days have passed and he is still not ready to return to game action.  According to the New York Daily News, ARod is not ready to swing a bat yet, but he is making progress.  
Rodriguez said the X-ray on his fractured hand showed that it’s healing well and that team medical staff was encouraged. He will be with the team on the coming road trip, do strengthening exercises and be re-evaluated on Thursday.
When he does return, the Yankees will need Rodriguez's bat more than ever.  The Yankees can't afford to slip into the Wild Card spot - a notion that seems unlikely, but with Tampa Bay only three games back and closing fast, it is entirely possible.  And when the Yankees do make the play-offs, their $275 million third baseman will be a necessary tool in defeating any team they're matched up with.

Let's look at some potential play-off scenarios for the Yankees in the Division Series (this is of course assuming the Yankees win the division).  The teams we will look at are all within 3.5 games of a play-off spot.

The Yankees have the second best record in the American League, and they're not far behind Texas for the best.  This means they could take on the winner of the Wild Card play-in game.  As it stands now, the two Wild Card teams would be Tampa Bay and Oakland, but Baltimore is right there (that's right, we may see three teams in the postseason from the AL East).  Baltimore and Detroit are both within a game of the second Wild Card spot.  We'll even throw the Los Angeles Angels in the mix as they are 3.5 games back of a Wild Card spot.  In theory, the Yankees could be facing any one of those five teams in the Division Series.  How does Alex Rodriguez stack up in each match-up?

A-Rod vs. Tampa Bay

This would be familiar territory for both Alex Rodriguez and the Yankees.  While the two teams have not met in the postseason, they play each other 18 times per year.  In 192 games against the Rays, Rodrigeuz has a .273/.360/.526 line with 46 home runs.

In other words, Rodriguez smashes Rays' pitching.  However, these are regular season numbers.  The postseason is a different beast.  Starters will pitch on less rest, the rotation is reduced, and players are playing for their baseball lives.  That being said, Rodriguez has actually performed very well in high leverage situations - situations where the win probability can change dramatically based on the circumstances.  In these situations, Rodriguez is a .303/.390/.578 hitter.

While the Rays have been a new team since 2008, they have yet to capture a World Series or be truly dominant.  They made it to the World Series in 2009 but lost to the Phillies.  The Yankees, on the other hand, won the World Series in 2009.  Tampa, though, has been hot of late and they still have a solid young core of pitchers including David Price, Jeremy Hellickson, and James Shields.

A-Rod vs. Oakland

Billy Beane has the A's back in the postseason hunt again.  They just lost Bartolo Colon which will be a big blow, but they got back Brett Anderson - their impressive young lefty who is returning from Tommy John surgery.  And Rodriguez has been decent, not great against the A's.

In his career, Rodriguez has hit .286/.364/.527 with 43 home runs in 176 games against Oakland.  The Yankees do seem to have the A's number come the postseason, but those past meetings were before Rodriguez became a member of the Yankees.  To date, Rodriguez has not faced the A's in the postseason.

This season, Rodriguez has played 29 games against the A's.  He's put up decent number, but not great numbers.  In those 29 games, A-Rod has hit .310/.344/.345.  As you can see from his slugging percentage, Rodriguez is missing the power stroke when he plays against the A's this year.

A-Rod vs. Baltimore

Another American League East foe.  Rodriguez has destroyed the Orioles.  In 220 games, he has hit .305/.388/.565 with 57 home runs and 187 RBI.  His strikeout/walk ration against Baltimore isn't too bad either at 169/109.

The Orioles have been a surprising story all season long.  They have been outscored by 54 runs, the most in the American League East.  They don't have a dominant offense or a dominant pitching staff.  Their offense ranks 24th in batting average, and their pitching ranks 19th in ERA.  Come postseason time, they will need impressive performances to shut down the Yankees and Alex Rodriguez.

Rodriguez has only faced the Orioles in the postseason in one season - 1997.  It was so long ago, the number mean virtually nothing, but they are worth noting.  In four games, A-Rod hit .313/.313/.563 with one home run.  This was while Rodriguez was still with the Seattle Mariners.

A-Rod vs. Detroit

The Tigers have an impressive pitching staff.  They have Justin Verlander who may be every bit as good as last season, they have Max Scherzer who is becoming one of the better young pitchers in the game, and they have Doug Fister who may not be as strong as last season, has been in the postseason with the Tigers before.  As for Rodriguez verse the Tigers, he may do his best work against the boys from the Motor City.

In 128 games, Rodriguez has hit .337/.403/.637 with 36 home runs and 116 RBI.  That's and MVP type season if it happens all in one year.  Rodriguez simply kills Tigers pitching.  So far this season, A-Rod continued that trend.  In 24 games, he is hitting .375/.464/.750 with 3 home runs.  The Tigers are probably not too keen on Rodriguez returning from the DL anytime soon.

In the postseason, Rodriguez has faced Detroit twice.  In 2006 and last season, A-Rod struggled despite his impressive career numbers.  In four games in 2006, Rodriguez hit just 0.71/.133/.071.  In 2011, he hit .11/.261/.111 in five games.  So, while Rodriguez will be coming back soon and crushes the Tigers in the regular season, the Yankees may not get the same hitter in the postseason against Detroit.

A-Rod vs. Los Angeles

The Angels are falling off, and may soon find themselves out of the race, but as of now, they are still a contender.  Looking at their lineup, the Angels seem to have an All-Star caliber roster, but they have not been able to put it all together this season.  And Alex Rodriguez kills them.

In 193 games, Rodriguez is hitting .320/.396/.661 with 70 home runs and 161 RBI.  He also has 25 stolen bases against the Angels and the second most total bases of any other opponent he's ever played. Rodriguez dominates the Angels in the regular season, but how what's he done this year, and what's he done in the postseason?

In 38 games against the Angels this year, Rodriguez has hit .316/.350/.500 with 2 home runs.  He hasn't walked against them and has struck out eight times - a theme in his appearances against the Angels, but when he puts the ball in play, he finds success.  In the postseason against the Angels, he's been solid as well.  In two separate match-ups combined, Rodriguez has hit .306.  However, in 2005 Rodriguez only hit .133/.435/.200.  In 2009, he hit .429/.567/.952 with 3 home runs.  The Yankees went on to win the World Series that year.


There's no question the Yankees want and need Alex Rodriguez back in the lineup.  While they've performed well without him, his numbers speak for themselves.  He had long been known for an inability to get things done in the postseason, but that designation has ben lifted after he helped the Yankees win the World Series in 2009.  Overall, his postseason numbers are more than respectable and any team in the league would take a .277/.386/.498 postseason hitter.

It would seem, the Yankees and Rodriguez would be best serves if they were matched up against the Angels because of the familiarity and Rodriguez's success, but honestly with Rodriguez back from the DL, the Yankees could take on anyone and have huge success.  Despite some of the postseason numbers, Rodriguez has put up against a few of the teams in this article, he has only had two bad play-off series since 2007.  He's a different hitter in the postseason now.  The Yankees should want him, and they definitely need him back.

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Angels' Albert Pujols Leaves Game with Tightness in Calf

The Machine may not be a machine after all.  According to the Associated Press as reported by ESPN, Albert Pujols had to leave last night's game against the Boston Red Sox in the fourth inning with tightness in his right calf.

Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times does not think the injury is serious: #Angels 1B Albert Pujols left game because of right calf tightness. Does not look to be serious but could sideline him for a day or two.
Pujols has been hot of late after a terrible start to the season.  He is now hitting .280/.342/.529 with 28 home runs.  This is his first season in Los Angeles, and the adjustment took some time.

The Angels are battling for a play-off spot, but they are currently 3.5 games back of a Wild Card spot.  They are 8.5 games back in the American League West and in third place.  Pujols missing time will not help.  The end of the season is fast-approaching, and the Angels seem to be fading fast despite an impressive lineup and what should be a stellar pitching staff.

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Rockies' Dexter Fowler to Miss Time

According to Troy Renck of the Denver Post, Dexter Fowler is not likely to hit the DL, but he is likely to miss a few games.

Fowler suffered a sprained ankle yesterday against the Mets when he pulled into second base on an attempted throw behind him at first.  He hit the second base bag and rolled his ankle.  The injury looked worse than it may be based on Fowlers immediate reaction.  He was writhing in pain on the ground when the team trainer reached him at second base.  Yet, the injury may not be too severe, and Fowler does not seem like he will hit the disabled list.

Fowler has taken some time to develop into the player the Rockies, and just about everyone else for that matter, thought he could be.  In his rookie year, 2009, Fowler played in 135 games and hit .266/.363/.406 - good enough for a 769 OPS.  He dipped back to a .757 OPS in 2010, but he has improved in each of the last two seasons.  This year, Fowler is hitting .307/.392/.499.  This has been his best year as a big leaguer, and he's already been worth more WAR (bWAR) than any other season of his career in less games.

Fowler is just 26 years old, has great speed, and plays a solid outfield.  After this season, Fowler will enter his first arbitration-eligible season.  The Rockies, looking to rebuild from within for the most part, may consider extending Fowler, especially after the season his is having in 2012.

Fowler is represented by Scott Boras which, in general, is thought to make him more expensive.  Boras is one of the best agents in the game and will get the most out of a deal for his clients.  This ankle injury will have little to no bearing on any off-season contract talks for Fowler, and if the team decides to let him go through arbitration, he should see a nice pay increase.  This year, Fowler is making $2.35 million.  In arbitration next year, he will certainly make at least $3 million.

In early August, Renck of the Denver Post thought that while Fowler had played well enough for an extension, the Rockies should wait until mid-2013 to make a deal happen.

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Brett Anderson Makes Post-Tommy John Debut for the Athletics

Considering the news regarding Bartolo Colon and his 50-game drug suspension, Brett Anderson's solid performance yesterday may be a welcome relief. In his first start back from Tommy John surgery Anderson picked up a win and helped guide the A's past the Twins.

Anderson pitched seven string innings while allowing just one run. He struck out six in the game and made his first outing in about 15 months a memorable one. The Oakland lefty tore his ulnar collateral ligament in the middle of last season and underwent Tommy John surgery. The average recovery time is 12-18 months.

In his career, spanning three seasons and one game now, Anderson has a 3.62 ERA. His best season came in 2010 when he posted a 2.80 ERA. His arm should help supplement the loss of Colon whose 50-game suspension will keep out the rest of the season and the postseason if the A's make it.

Colon failed a drug test less than a week after Melky Cabrera failed his own drug test and tried to hide it using a fake website. The news was a major blow to the A's who are currently tied for a Wild Card spot in the American League. Perhaps Anderson's return can counter-act this blow.

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Toronto Blue Jays Injury News: Brett Lawrie, Jose Bautista, Adam Lind

While the Blue Jays are battling to overtake the Red Sox (and failing as they are struggling mightily these last two weeks) and avoid a last-place finish in the American League East, they have been hampered by injuries.  Some notable players on the Jays roster are missing, and the losses have clearly contributed to the team's record this year.  Here are your Blue Jays injury notes:

  • The Canadian Press says the Blue Jays are anxious for Jose Bautista's return and hope to have him back in the lineup by next weekend.  Bautista has been on the shelf since injuring his wrist in mid-July, not long after the All-Star break.  The wrist was not injured, but it has kept Bautista on the DL longer than the minimum 15 days.
  • Gregor Chisholm of reports that a rain out has delayed the Class-A rehab assignment for both Bautista and Adam Lind.  Both players were scheduled to play last night, but rain caused the game to be called and rescheduled.  Chisholm says both players will take part in a simulated game before heading to their next assignment at Double-A as more rain is expected in Dunedin
  • Adam Lind is among a group of Blue Jays players the team hopes to have back very soon says the Chicago Tribune.  Lind has been on the disabled list since July 30th (retroactive to July 26th) with a back strain.  He is among four key offensive players on the DL for the Blue Jays (Brett Lawrie, Jose Bautista, and J.P. Arencibia.
  • Brett Lawrie's setback is a "significant" one according to R.J. White of CBS Sports.  White, courtesy of John Lott of the Washington Post, reported yesterday that the setback was significant but did not speculate on whether it would end Lawrie's season.

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Brett Lawrie's Rehab Shut Down After Setback

Brett Lawrie was nearing his return to the Toronto Blue Jays roster.  He was due to come off the DL near the end of this week, but that looks doubtful as his rehab assignment has been shut down after a setback.  Barry Davis of Sportsnet is reporting that Lawrie won't play again for at least a week.

Lawrie felt discomfort yesterday in his ribcage which caused the Blue Jays to completely shut down his rehab assignment.  His original injury was an oblique strain, and the team does not want to cause anymore damage.  There is no timetable for Lawrie's return to the Blue Jays roster now, and manager John Farrell has said it's too early to tell if Lawrie will be out for the season.

The loss of Lawrie for the season would be a big blow to Toronto.  Although there are only 40 games left in the season and the Jays are mired in last place in the division, fans in Toronto want to see their best players on the field.  Lawrie falls into this category, and with Jose Bautista still on the DL, Lawrie was the best bet to help draw fans through the remainder of the season.

Lawrie is hitting .282/.326/.416 this season with 9 home runs.  The Blue Jays first baseman is in his second Major League season, his first full season.  He played in 43 games last year.

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