Archive for the ‘Injuries’ Category

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Breaking: Brett Lawrie?

Ugh.

In his return to the lineup, something has happened to Brett Lawrie’s back — Gregor Chisholm was the first to tweet that it was “lower back tightness,” officially — and he did not come out to field in the top of the fourth inning. Danny Valencia took his place at third base.

Hey, but you know what’s more important than getting real grass for the Jays to play on? Being super nice to the Argos!

Doubly so after Danny Valencia butchered a high chopper from Delmon Young from an easy, and much needed, out into a run-scoring single.

Anywho, in his first and only at-bat of the night, Lawrie hit what might have been a double down the first base line, but he missed first base and had to quickly put on the brakes and go back — though, in all honesty, that may have had more to do with the arm of Nick Markakis. Before we knew the official explanation, Buck and Tabby thought the issue may have occurred then. I wondered for a time if maybe something happened with his still-sore finger when he slid back into first base. John Gibbons even suggested in a mid-telecast interview that something may have happened with him sitting on the flight from Florida.

Whatever the case, stop me if you’ve heard this before: Brett Lawrie is hurt. We’ll update as more becomes known, unless it’s just “day-to-day,” which it almost certainly is going to be. So… this is probably all you’ll get.

Update: Well, Lawrie is day-to-day, but here’s a little more context for you: Megan Robinson tweets that John Gibbons says Lawrie felt his back tighten up in batting practice, while Barry Davis adds that Lawrie himself says it was “grabbing at” him in BP, and that this is the first time he’s experienced a lower back problem, which… that can’t be right, can it? He’ll have an MRI tomorrow just to be safe, Davis tweets, but the hope is that he’ll only be out a day or two. Fun stuff, ain’t it? One more tweet from Barry tells us that Lawrie had treatment during the game and his back loosened up, but that he’s still going to to be cautious and get the MRI.

Welcome Back Kottaras

The Jays divested themselves of some of their catching depth when they moved Erik Kratz as part of the deal for Danny Valencia last week, and as much as the Valencia is a nice little fit for them, it left the rather thin in the catching department. A.J. Jimenez is the only non-MLB catcher on the roster, with Mike Nickeas the only one with big league experience at either Buffalo or New Hampshire.

In other words, they wouldn’t be in a great spot if Navarro or Thole were injured. Not that any team wouldn’t have a rough go if it lost both of its big league catchers, but Kratz was a nice little insurance policy — a good-receiving backup with a little bit of pop, and thank to his time in the big leagues, with some familiarity with the club’s pitchers, too.

I wasn’t terribly worried about the Jays being able to come up with a guy to take his place, if they ended up needing one in a pinch, and it turns out we didn’t — or at least may not — have to wait until then. To wit:

He’s certainly got the passport that will get people around here to take notice, but he’s actually a nifty little pickup, too.

Ewan Ross made the case for the Jays to pick up Kottaras back in November at Blue Jays Plus, citing his elite walk rate, his good ISO, that he’s a left-handed hitter (A.J. Jimenez hits right, FYI), and the fact that he’s caught a knuckleball before (he was Tim Wakefield’s personal catcher in 2009) as reasons. He hasn’t played much this season, or all that well — at least not in the overall, though he was hot in a very small big league sample of 33 plate appearances split between Cleveland and St. Louis — but the track record is actually pretty decent. He’s been worth over three wins per FanGraphs in less than a couple season’s worth of plate appearances (853 PA), partly based on defence, but partly also because he’s been a league average hitter by wRC+, thanks largely to the great walk rate, which has seen him post a career OBP of .327 — which is only, like, 50 points higher than Kratz’s, with a better SLG and ISO to boot.

That’ll play. Um… in Buffalo, ideally.

Lind And Encarnacion Progressing

lindEE

Brett Lawrie may finally be back in the Jays’ lineup tonight, but the club is obviously waiting on a pair of big bats to return in the forms of Adam Lind and Edwin Encarnacion. Today we learned at least one of them may be in the lineup by the weekend.

Holy yes!

Adam Lind, according to John Gibbons (via a tweet from Mike Wilner), will begin a rehab assignment in the next couple of days, and Chris Toman follows that Gibbons said it’s possible that Lind can return to the club by the weekend. That would be about four weeks from when we heard back on July 11th that he’d be into games in two-or-three weeks, so… not bad, really. Not bad at all.

Better still? The possibility of the club playing most of the final two months of the season with the Majors’ second-best hitter against right-handed pitching (minimum 150 plate appearances).

But the news isn’t quite as good on Edwin Encarnacion. It has already been a month now since he left a game in Oakland with an injury to his right quadriceps muscle, and while he was initially hopeful that he’d only be out a couple of weeks, a setback he had a week ago that forced him to shut it down has blurred the timeline on his return. So much so that there currently is still no timetable.

However, it’s not all bad news: Encarnacion is swinging a bat again, and Shi Davidi tweets that he’s going to run in the next few days.

OK, maybe that’s doesn’t sound terribly great, but if you’ll remember back to last week, in pieces like John Lott’s for the National Post on the setback, we were told it occurred because of the torque placed on the injured muscle when swinging a bat. So the fact that he’s doing it again now, um… that’s something. Right?

Man, that parrot must be getting awful feisty at this point. Needs a walk real damn bad.

lindoak

The Jays made official this morning what we all knew was going to happen after the results of Adam Lind’s “Mom-RI” revealed that he’d be out six-to-eight weeks with a fractured right foot [Update: Actually, Ben Nicholson-Smith tweets that this afternoon the Jays said that Lind will be in a walking boot for 5-7 days, and back into games in 2-3 weeks. OK!], placing him on the disabled list and recalling Dan Johnson from Buffalo to make his Blue Jays debut (D’ing Bobby Korecky FA in the process to make room on the 40-man).

Fans can probably be forgiven for believing that while Lind has actually not been great over the last few weeks, and Johnson has been crushing at Triple-A, seems almost beside the point given the “no light at the end of the tunnel” sort of situation that the Jays are currently mired in. We all know the litany of troubles: the losses, the wasting of good pitching performances, the coughing up of a late lead on Wednesday to an Albert Pujols home run, Encarnacion and Lawrie and now Lind being on the shelf, Juan Francisco going full pumpkin, Bautista and Reyes hurting and not hitting like their normal selves. A 4.5 game lead in the AL East on June 11th turned into a 3.0 game deficit today.

Shit, the Jays losing Lind didn’t even warrant mention (likely because it was already old news by then, but still!) in Drew’s piece at theScore on MLB’s “Black Thursday,” which saw Masahiro Tanaka, Brandon Phillips, and Yadier Molina all go down.

But it’s not untrue that Lind has hit a pedestrian .275/.333/.377 (98 wRC+) in his last 75 plate appearances, and an awful .174/.174/.261 over his last ten (23 PA, wRC+ of 9). Or that Johnson — a lefty-hitting 1B/DH with some ability to be bad at a few other positions (3B/OF) — has been fantastic in the International League, posting a .248/.402/.471 line (144 wRC+) in 403 plate appearances for Buffalo.

Obviously those numbers won’t translate to the big leagues, but he’s actually been a decent enough big league hitter over 1556 career plate appearances, posting a 101 wRC+ by way of a .236/.337/.411 line. He’s had some short and terrible stints — a .119/.187/.202 line in 91 plate appearances for the Rays in 2011, for example — but some extended good ones, mostly in his early career, and has been an excellent Triple-A hitter over nearly 4000 plate appearances at the level, posting a .283/.403/.513 line.

So, yes, he’s been a journeyman (he took a year off to go to Japan, even) and there maybe isn’t a tonne to dream on for a guy who has been overlooked so many times this season, and had so many chances to establish himself in the big leagues, but he’s hardly nothing, either. He’s an immediate upgrade on what a hobbled Lind was offering, he can take a walk (13.2% walk rate as a big leaguer), some of his big leauge struggles and time spent in the wilderness was due to a hand injury, and he’s even shown enough against same-sided pitching — a .796 OPS against lefties this year in 149 plate appearances, and a couple hollow OBPs above .325 in the previous three seasons in AAA, for whatever that’s worth — to, sadly, probably be an upgrade on some of the bats this club has been running out against lefties of late.

And he’s not short on self belief, either. In an outstanding piece at Bull City Summer, Adam Sobsey writes about Johnson,

Two seasons ago, while he was playing for Charlotte, Johnson told me that he had had interest from National League teams, who wanted to put him on their major-league bench for left-handed platoon and pinch hitting duty. But Johnson turned down the guaranteed major-league salary (half a million dollars), plus pension and union membership. He still believed he could be a big-league regular, and in order to land that full-time job he’d have to play in the American League, which has the designated hitter, the position where Johnson’s skills most comfortably belong (although he’s a better first baseman than his reputation allows.) So he gambled on a much lesser minor-league contract and started the last two seasons in Triple-A, hoping for a crack at the bigger dream.

He also tells us that this season Johnson has adopted a new batting stance this season, more traditional looking than the open stance many fans may remember. It would be a bit of a stretch to think that maybe this will have changed him for the better and for good as he gets set to make his 2014 debut in the majors (he hits 8th tonight in Tampa, the city where he made his most famous baseball moment, a game-tying, two-strike, two-out home run on the epic last day of 2011 that saved the Rays’ season), but one can hope.

Of course, all this doesn’t mean that losing Lind, who currently ranks fourth in MLB among hitters with over 100 PA against right-handers with a 178 wRC+, won’t hurt. But it doesn’t necessarily have to be the sort of death blow to the club that the news maybe felt like when it was first learned that yet another of their key bats was leaving the lineup for an extended period. Not that the way they’re teetering they necessarily need a death blow at this point anyway. Ugh.

edwinhurt

All sorts of news-y stuff going on this fine Sunday afternoon, and — as is the case with everything related to your Toronto Blue Jays of late — not a whole lot of it good. Here’s a brief rundown:

For those of you watching last night, and not basking in the afterglow of a too-narrow victory over an impressively disciplined Costa Rica, you’ll know that Edwin Encarnacion left yet another Jays loss with some kind of a leg injury, needing to be helped off the field by a pair of the club’s trainers. Motherfuck. He is not in today’s lineup, as he’s getting an MRI to determine the extent of the damage, and Shi Davidi writes for Sportsnet that the club is expecting him to hit the DL, and quotes Edwin as saying he felt a “pop” in what we now know was his quadriceps. Jesus.

Barry Davis tweets a picture of Brad Glenn and Jose Bautista taking some reps at first base, so… yeah.

But apparently that was just busywork, because Glenn has been D’d FA in order to clear a spot on the roster, according to a Shi Davidi tweet. I’m sure teams will be lining up to put a waiver claim in any second. Oh, and that was necessary because…

Some small, small measure of help is on the way, as yesterday’s waiver claim, Cole Gillespie, is in the lineup and in right field this afternoon for the Jays. He’s a right-handed hitting outfielder who has been awful in his short big league career against lefties — he sports a putrid .221/.286/.271 line in the split — and hasn’t been any better against them in the minors since 2012. An utterly, utterly pointless move. But hey, at least he’s not Bad Glenn, I guess.

Better move: the Jays have claimed Nolan Reimold on waivers from the Orioles. He’s not a great defensive outfielder, and despite being a right-handed bat, doesn’t have any sort of pronounced platoon split, but shit… he’s a warm body who isn’t Brad Glenn or Cole Gillespie, so that’s definitely something. He has a career .252/.327/.439 overall line in the majors in 1056 plate appearances, alternating between some pretty good stints with the bat and some dogshit ones. Lightning in a bottle? Let’s hope so.

Glenn’s D’ing FA clears a spot for Gillespie on the active roster, and also for Reimold on the 40-man. Edwin probably hits the DL (the 15 days he’d be required to miss also include the All-Star break, so, as Richard Griffin tweets, it probably makes sense just to do it) in the reciprocal move… um… I think. Gregor Chisholm tweets that, when asked if Edwin’s injury was serious, John Gibbons replied, “I would think.” Ugh ugh ugh.

Meanwhile, Alfonso Soriano has been designated for assignment by the Yankees, leading fans who stopped paying attention to Alfonso Soriano years ago to hope that the Jays somehow pick him up. He has a .286 on-base over his last 864 plate appearances (but has been about a league average hitter nonetheless because of his power, and… actually he’s hit .279/.325/.511 against left-handers over that span, so… shit, do it. I take it back.

Cock.

Worse still, Soriano was D’d FA in order to make room for the Yankees newest pitcher: Brandon McCarthy. Don’t tell Marc Carig, but it’s a pretty smart pickup, though it cost them current less-than-good MLB starter Vidal Nuno, who has a lot of team control left, which is why, apparently, he was attractive to the Diamondbacks. Surely the Jays could have offered something comparable, and with Arizona eating half of the $4.1-million still owed McCarthy, I’m not entirely seeing why it wouldn’t have been a nice move for them to push harder on, except… well… their pitching really isn’t the issue at the moment, is it? Gotta save those chips for a bat, maybe? Sheeee-it.

The good news there, at least, is that the Diamondbacks are definitely now open for business, which could hasten the departure of someone like Martin Prado, who we know the Jays have been looking at. Prado and Reimold instead of Glenn and Mastroianni sounds pretty alright to me. And there is other mildly good news on the trade front. To wit…

Jon Heyman writes that the Twins appear set to move a couple of their free-agents-to-be, pitcher Kevin Correia (pass), and RHB Josh Willingham. That’ll play. Fuck, it’s almost like every option out there is better than what the Jays are currently running with.

Kenny Ken Ken mentions the Twins stuff, too (though he says that they’re aiming to hold their chips until after they host the All-Star game — ugh), but also says that the Cubs were eager to deal Jason Hammel, in part because they feared that the market would become saturated with similar pitchers. So… yeah… bring on that saturation already.

And the big one today was a piece from Jon Morosi, who tells us that the Rays are open to trading David Price in the division, and spitballs that the Jays could land him if they were willing to give up two of Sanchez, Norris, and Pompey. Would obviously be a huge add, but again, kinda would like to see some offence, eh? Maybe that’s living a little too much in the moment — the team will definitely hit better, and the pitching staff could certainly use a Price — but… well… either way, I don’t see it happening. COULD SOMETHING MAYBE HAPPEN THOUGH?

I mean, seriously… this is not the week I want to deal with morons insisting the Jays should be sellers.

Oh yeah, and Jose Bautista hates replay. So… there’s at least that.

bautistaeh

Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet has an interesting piece up in which he speaks with Jose Bautista about a variety of topics — his love for Toronto, his relationship with Booster Juice and his business plans, etc. — which you should totally read the entirety of if you’re a fan at all of the Jays’ best player, even though I’m totally going to give away the nut right now (and, frankly, already did in the title): Bautista is confident that his wonky hamstring is better, and that he’ll be in the starting lineup Tuesday when the Jays host the Brewers for two games, before heading out on a daunting pre-All-Star Break road trip to Oakland, Anaheim, and their own personal house of horrors (non-Yankee Stadium division), Tampa Bay.

Money paragraphs:

“(There’s been) a lot of progress. When you have this type of injury, the most important thing is to relax and get downtime to let it heal and recover. That’s what I’ve had to do, but (with) a lot of treatment at the same time,” he said at the opening of a Booster Juice location that he now owns in Toronto’s Bloor West Village Monday.

“Now it’s feeling much better and obviously it’s not 100 percent yet, but it’s good enough to at least DH for the next couple of games and then we’ll see from there.”

Once Bautista returns to the starting lineup, he’ll see how it responds and confer with manager John Gibbons to determine if full or partial days off are required.

Bautista also tells Ben that he’s “close to 100%” and could play in right field, if needed. And… well… that might be needed. The Jays face a pair of right-handers, Polo Erik and Wile E. Peralta, meaning that Bautista at DH would force either Adam Lind or Edwin Encarnacion out of the lineup, unless Edwin makes a pair of rare starts at third base (which he totally should do, FYI).

The Jays have averaged 4.4 runs per game in the eight contests he’s been out of (including the June 22nd game at Cincinnati in which he originally left injured), so despite perceptions to the contrary, it’s not like they’ve needed him too desperately over the past week, except… well… they’ve totally needed him. Three of the Jays’ last five games were lost by a run or less, and a fourth saw the club down by just two runs until the top of the ninth. Bautista doesn’t turn all those results over by himself, but an extra bat — and one that’s owned by the man who is second to only Mike Trout in wRC+ in the American League — sure would have helped.

This, then, is very, very good news for the struggling Jays. Um… obviously.

yankeestadiumgraveyard

Has the Jays’ Yankee Stadium graveyard claimed yet another soul?

At least for the night is has, as Brett Lawrie left tonight’s Jays-Yankees game after taking a Chase Whitley pitch off the left hand — the same one he broke, in much the same fashion, while in the minors in 2011. He was replaced by Steve Tolleson at third base, but not immediately! Lawrie stayed in the game as a baserunner after the HBP, scoring the Jays’ second run of the game on a Colby Rasmus single, and played defence in the bottom of the fourth, as well.

So… it at least wasn’t such a nasty injury that it was immediately apparent. Which… is good? I don’t know, but evidently young Brett was in enough pain that he regretted his meat head comment about a World Cup player being stretchered off couldn’t continue. I’ve heard better news than that, in other words.

We’ll keep our eyes on it for when an official diagnosis is made… meaning I’ll keep my eye on it. Which… I actually might just go back to the bar, to be honest. So I’ll update it at some point, I’m sure. In the meantime, just don’t assume the worst like you’re a fucking negative moron — can we at least agree to that?

Update

On the broadcast Buck says that the x-rays on Lawrie’s hand came back negative! So… that’s good. Because as underwhelming as Lawrie’s bat can be, I don’t even want to think about what the hell this team is going to have to do if they’re without him for an extended period, if that’s what it actually comes to. Which, of course, nobody should yet believe that it will.

OK?

OK.

 

Image via.

kawasakispring

So here’s something I’m totally going to turn into a post even though I’m currently working on a Monday evening Daily Duce and, by all rights this should just be a small item in it. Munenori Kawasaki is coming back! Welcome clickbait.

Wilner, at the time of this writing, is so far the only one to have tweeted it out:

Now, before you go getting too much of a warm fuzzy over a utility player — or the possible end of the Juan Francisco thing, given that Kawasaki and Steve Tolleson can platoon rather nicely-ish at second — let’s not lose sight of what this also means: losing for two weeks either a key weapon against right-handed pitching, or a hugely important reliever. Or, at least, that’s what we’re “expecting.”

Lind fouled a ball off his foot on Saturday, and while x-rays were negative, John Lott’s piece for the National Post that evening tells us that “he was limping noticeably in the clubhouse, but said, ‘Hopefully, I just wake up tomorrow and I’m fine – or good enough.’ ”

Brett Cecil was hurt the night before, and David Wilson of BlueJays.com spoke to pitching coach Pete Walker, who explained on Sunday that “we’ve got to treat the heck out of it today, get back in there, treat it and hopefully he’s available on Tuesday.

Neither player got into Sunday’s victory, so it’s not like the Jays can’t survive without them. It’s just… not the best news, even if it means the team gets its our spirit animal back. And Muni could be a bit useful too, at this point, so… I can live with that.

Temporarily, at least.

Hey, it was going to happen for someone eventually, right?

Update

And, of course, the zaniness has already begun:

Twitter’s translation? Little cum will go very much major. Alone lonely Airport ( ; ; )

OK then…