The Cubs have a big game tonight against the Cardinals. Well, not exactly in terms of impending playoff implications or anything, but in terms of theirs and our own sanity.
One win – one single win – will go a long way tonight, and I’m betting they can pull it off. And to take it a step further, I’m hoping that Jason Heyward (who, himself, is looking to turn his season around), is one of the key contributors.
His recent absence as he recovered from crashing into the right-center field wall in San Francisco so clearly paralleled and underscored the Cubs’ recent downturn, but I’m keeping the faith. His surprisingly brief time away from the game and big return tonight to face his past team … it’s just too much not to work out in the Cubs favor. [Brett: Look at you, True Believer!]
But enough about the Cubs. They’re not the only team in baseball and not the only one with injuries. Let’s check in on some other teams and their news from around the league …
- Let’s start with some injury news and updates. Red Sox reliever Carson Smith is scheduled to undergo Tommy John Surgery on Tuesday, according to Cash Kruth at MLB.com. Smith, 26, made it only 2.2 innings this season before hitting the disabled list last Friday. He was acquired by the Red Sox in the offseason in the Wade Miley deal after a breakout 2015 season.
- The New York Mets may be without first baseman Lucas Duda for quite some time, as he was placed on the disabled list Monday with a stress fracture in his lower back, according to Anthony DiComo of MLB.com. There is no timetable for a return yet and manager Terry Collins isn’t very optimistic. “It will be a while. We’re looking at a fairly long period before he’s going to be able to get back and do some baseball stuff.” That’s the type of comment reserved for a situation you know will truly take some time. In the near term, Eric Campbell will start at first base, but Wilmer Flores may be taking over starting Friday (when he returns from a DL stint of his own). Duda has slashed .231/.297/.431 in 2016, with seven home runs.
- Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier will miss 8-10 weeks after undergoing surgery on his left hand on Tuesday. Kiermaier suffered multiple fractures in his hand after a diving attempt in Saturday’s loss to the Tigers. Like Jason Heyward in San Francisco, guys like Kiermaier can have too much range for their own good (well, not really, but you see how it can go). Mikie Mahtook has been called up to fill the roster spot. The Rays are currently in last place in the AL East, though they’re just two games under .500.
- Sticking with the apparent trend, Royals outfielder Alex Gordon was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a fractured scaphoid bone and a sprained right wrist after colliding with third baseman Mike Moustakas in foul territory on Sunday. He’s going to be re-evaluated in 10 days, but the expectation is that he’ll miss something close to 3-4 weeks. Gordon hadn’t gotten off to the best start this season – .211/.319/.331 – but he’s a talented player and a valuable guy to have in the lineup.
- But wait, there’s more. The Rangers will go the rest of the way without outfielder Josh Hamilton. Hamilton, 35, is scheduled to undergo surgery on June 8 to repair cartilage in his left knee. It will be his third knee surgery since last September. He is hoping and expecting to make it back for 2017.
- On the non-injury front, the Miami Marlins have sued season ticket holder Mickey Axelband, alleging that he’s reneged on the second year of a two-year season ticket agreement. In response to the suit, Axelband claims that the Marlins reneged first, by eliminating amenities that were already promised upon the move to Marlins Park and failing to deliver on others. If this sounds highly irregular, it is … for most of baseball … but it actually represents the ninth such suit of a season-ticket holder by the Marlins since 2013, according to Hardball Talk. That’s not too good for the #brand.
- The Braves continued to add as much young talent and/or amateur signing opportunities as possible, acquiring Brian Matusz (and his salary) and a competitive balance draft pick (and the pool money associated therewith) for minor league pitchers Brandon Barker and Trevor Belicek. The pick is the 76th in the draft, which gives the Braves five of the first 80 selections: Nos. 3, 40, 44, 76 and 80. The Braves immediately designated Matusz for assignment.
- Lastly, at Baseball is Fun, White Sox shortstop Tyler Saladino needs a friend. Otherwise, he’ll just keep doing elaborate handshakes on his own. And Clayton Kershaw can make regular batters look like Bartolo Colon (the non-homer-hitting version).