A rough season for the New York Yankees got even worse on the injury front, as Mark Teixeira was places on the DL. Let’s look at that, and the happenings from yesterday, in our look around the MLB.
Early Saturday afternoon, New York Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman admitted that Mark Teixeira’s season might be in jeopardy. Teixeira left Friday’s game in Baltimore after injuring his right knee during his first at-bat. An MRI revealed that Teixeira, 36, had indeed suffered a tear in the articular cartilage and would subsequently be paced on the 15-day DL.
With Teixeira’s season in doubt the real question the Yankees need to answer is a bit more complex than what it seems: Who plays first base? Last season, this was a scenario that the 27 time World Champions could hardly imagine. Greg Bird was set to take the reins at first base everyday and his youth and bright future had the organization abuzz with anticipation. Well, that plan’s on the back-burner as Bird recovers from off-season shoulder surgery and with the Yankees dangerously close from falling out of contention it seems any form of significant outside help might be a pipe dream.
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With Bird out of the picture, the remaining options certainly aren’t brand names and some of which won’t even be an option. For example,Dustin Ackley earned the back-up job out of spring training, but he too had season ending shoulder surgery bringing forth the reality that it might be a mix-n-match type of game at first base for the Bombers.
Chris Parmelee was promoted from Triple-A and could see some time if the Yankees so choose, but he’s a career .245 hitter with 28 total home runs in parts of five Major League seasons.
Nick Swisher remains an option as well, but he’s slashing .241/.263/.366 in 131 at-bats for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and the Yankees seem less than thrilled to give him a look. A combination of Brian McCann and Austin Romine could split time when they’re not caching and there’s always the possibility that 40 year-old Alex Rodriguez could put on a glove and become a stopgap option.
For all the Yankees know, the real option might be in the clubhouse as we speak. Rob Refsnyder has seen action at first base both Friday after Teixeira left the game and then again Saturday night when he made the start against the Orioles. Refsnyder has acquitted himself well in a small sample vs big league pitching; going 18-for-60 (.300) with two home runs.
Refsnyder will have the opportunity to grab at least a platoon share of the first base job if he can prove to be competent defensively and if he can swing even a room temperature type of bat; could see the bulk of playing time moving forward.
Shields on the Move
The White Sox acquired James Shields yesterday in exchange for reliever Erick Johnson and shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. The Padres were so eager to move the 34 year-old right-hander, they agreed to pay $30 million of the remaining money on Shields’ contract in exchange for two rather non-consequential players.
This was somewhat of a necessary move for the White Sox as they rank 8th in team ERA in the American League and rank 21st in all of baseball with their 7.62 K/9 ratio. Without surrendering one of their top prospects, Shields was the best starter available at this point in time.
How this deal pans out for Chicago will most likely determine their post season fate. Considering this is a downgrade in both home parks and team defense for Shields according to FanGraphs this move might end up playing out neutral at best. Shields has been one of the most durable pitchers in baseball during his career, tossing at least 200 innings in each of the last nine seasons, while racking up at least 160 strikeouts per year over that same period.
This season however, Shields has struggled to regain his past form. He currently boasts a 4.28 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, 2.11 K/BB ratio and his fastball has dropped to 90 MPH, down 91.1 MPH in 2015.
Can Big Game James make enough of an impact on Chicago’s South side to help them into October? We have just over 100 games to watch this unfold.
Here a look at what else happened around baseball on Saturday:
- Luke Gregerson allowed a game-tying home run in the ninth inning to Jed Lowrie. That was the fifth blown-save of the season for Gregerson and could very well expedite the Ken Giles for closer campaign. Gregerson has a 6.43 ERA with 2 HR and 7 hits allowed over his last 8 appearances.
- Adam Duvall smacked his 16th home run of the season in a win over the Nationals. Duvall owns a .920 OPS through 51 games and is 1st in the N.L. in at-bats per HR at 11.5 and his 30 extra-base hits ranks 2nd in the senior circuit as well.
- After going 3-for-4 with two doubles and a home run vs Kansas City ,Francisco Lindor is hitting .308 with an .803 OPS this year. Lindor’s also used his speed to his advantage, stealijg 10 bases, which ranks 6th in the American League.
- Carlos Correa went 3-for-5 with a triple, a run and two RBI yesterday vs the A’s. After stumbling through the month of May, Correa seems to be hitting his stride. The 21 year-old shortstop owns a 1.356 OPS over his last 7 games.
- Josh Tomlin continues to mystify hitters with his sub-90 MPH fastball. Tomlin picked up his 8th win of the year after limiting the Royals to 7 hits and just one earned over 6 1/3 innings. Tomlin’s control has been outstanding thus far as his 5.86 K/BB and 1.03 BB/9 ratios would suggest.
- Cameron Maybin has been scorching hot since returning from the DL two weeks ago. He’s batting .418 with a .948 OPS, while hitting safely in 16 of his last 18 contests.
- Jonathan Villar launched another home run vs the Phillies, giving him a long ball in each of his last three games. Villar has five home runs on the year and leads the N.L. with 20 stolen bases.
- Fernando Rodney continues to be one of the most unlikely stories of the season. Saturday he shut the door on the Rockies to lock down his 11th save. His 8.44 K/9 might be one of the lowest among closers, but he’s yet to allow an earned run over 21 1/3 innings.
- Mark Reynolds is making the most of his limited role in Colorado. Reynolds blasted his 3rd HR of the season last night vs the Padres, but it’s his high batting average that’s making headlines. Reynolds, a career .232 hitter is currently batting .301 with a respectable .808 OPS.