Espinosa is not in the lineup for Friday's game against the Giants, MASN's Dan Kolko reports.
Espinosa will head to the bench after starting 12 straight coming out of the break, affording Wilmer Difo his first start with the big club this season. The 29-year-old Espinosa's been mired in a miserable slump, going 5-for-44 (.114 average) with 18 strikeouts to begin the second half, but his playing time appears relatively safe for now with Trea Turner taking on a significant role in center field.
Rondon was recalled from Double-A San Antonio on Friday.
A couple roster spots opened up with Andrew Cashner and Colin Rea shipped off to Miami on Friday, and Rondon will fill one of those spots for the time being. The 22-year-old has turned in middling production with San Antonio this season (.279/.310/.386 with five homers and 13 steals in 96 games), and will likely serve merely as infield depth during his first stint with the major league club.
Hechavarria is not in the lineup for Friday's game against the Cardinals, Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports.
The 27-year-old will sit for just the second time since the All-Star break, affording Miguel Rojas a start at shortstop. Hechavarria is one of the least valuable starting shortstops in fantasy baseball -- he's hitting .246/.287/.342 with three homers and zero stolen bases -- but his slick glove will keep him in a regular role.
Diaz went 2-for-5 with a double, a homer, three RBI and two runs in Thursday's win over Miami.
The slick-hitting rookie keeps on impressing, as his two-run homer in the third got the Cardinals started and his RBI double in the fifth provided a key insurance run. The 25-year-old Cuban hit only 13 homers in the minors last year, but he now has 14 in 94 MLB games and a batting average that he's holding solidly above .300. If not for Trevor Story, Diaz would be getting a lot more attention, but his fantasy owners certainly know what he's been about this year.
In an unexpected move, the Giants significantly upgraded the left side of their infield with the acquisition of Nunez from the Twins. Nunez, who can play both shortstop and third base, figures to see most of his playing time at third given that Brandon Crawford is well established at shortstop. However, he does have some outfield experience in his past, so he could see some time at one of the corner outfield spots as well. Nunez slashed a strong .300/.326/.444 with 12 home runs and 26 stolen bags with the Twins this season.
Story went 2-for-4 with a ninth-inning stolen base and the game-tying run in Thursday's 2-1 win over the Mets.
After a leadoff single, Story swiped second and scored on an error to tie the game and hand Mets closer Jeurys Familia a blown save. The steal was just his eighth in 13 tries this year, which may be less than fantasy owners expected after he swiped 20-plus in three straight minor league seasons -- but when you've hit 27 homers, that sure does go a long way toward making up for it.
This doesn't mean that they are unwilling to trade Cozart, nor that they haven't previously had such negotiations, only that there's nothing stirring right now. Cozart essentially has repeated his 2015 pre-injury breakout, hitting .266/.318/.463 in 387 plate appearances. He's up to 15 homers now and could ultimately eclipse 20.
Villar is out of the lineup Thursday against the Diamondbacks.
He had two errors and made another mistake on the base paths in Wednesday's game, which led to a quick hook and a subsequent benching Thursday. Hernan Perez will get the start at shortstop, hitting fifth in Villar's absence. It seems likely that Thursday's benching will conclude the disciplinary actions for Villar's woes Wednesday.
Russell went 1-for-4 in Wednesday's win over the White Sox, putting the cherry on top with an eighth-inning grand slam.
The second-year shortstop's first homer since way back on July 5 put the game out of reach, turning a 4-1 lead into an 8-1 blowout. Russell's numbers have ticked up just a little this year, but he's showing positive signs -- his walk rate is well up, his strikeout rate noticeably down. It's enough to make him worth buying on for next year, but Russell's stat package this season hasn't been very helpful outside of deep fantasy formats.
Mercer did exactly what a leadoff man should do Wednesday, getting on base and scoring three times over the course of the night. He raised his batting average to .282 with the three-hit game, and the runs brought his total to 43 on the season. He's spent most of the year batting towards the bottom of the order, but should have significant run-scoring potential if he continues to bat atop the Pirates' lineup.