Posted on: June 9, 2010 6:39 pm
Edited on: June 9, 2010 6:50 pm
 

Suspended Volquez to start rehab assignment

Reds starter Edinson Volquez, currently serving a 50-game suspension, will start Saturday for the Lychburg Hillcats as part of a rehabilitation assignment, according to MLB.com's Mark Sheldon .

The suspension, for testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance in violation of Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program, will not impact his ability to play in minor league games. Volquez, an All-Star in 2008, underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow on Aug. 3, 2009. Volquez has not thrown in a game since last June.

Although he's suspended for testing positive for PEDs, Volquez was allowed to continue his rehab at the Reds' facilities in Goodyear, Ariz., and will be eligible to return from his suspension next week, although his rehab will likely take longer than that.

Volquez could be used as a reliever upon his return to help the Reds' ailing bullpen or he could return later and take some of the pressure off of rookie starter Mike Leake, who has already thrown 73 innings this season, more than half of the 142 innings he threw at Arizona State last season. Leake bypassed the minor leagues and the Reds are closely monitoring his pitch counts and the number of innings he's thrown.

Another Reds starter, Homer Bailey, started for Triple-A Louisville on Tuesday night and could return for his spot in the rotation on Sunday aganst the Royals. Reds manager Dusty Baker told reporters before the game that no decision has been made on Sunday's starter. If Bailey isn't ready, Sam LeCure will start against Kansas City's Zack Grienke.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: June 9, 2010 5:48 pm
Edited on: June 9, 2010 5:50 pm
 

Cubs put Ramirez on DL, promote Tracy


The Cubs put third baseman Aramis Ramirez on the disabled list today, hoping some time off will allow his bruised left thumb to heal. The thumb has been bothering Ramirez -- who is batting just .168 -- for much of the season. He had sat out the past two games.

Taking his spot on the roster is infielder Chad Tracy, recalled from Triple-A Iowa. Tracy was with the Cubs early in the season and optioned out May 7. Since then he's been on a tear for Iowa, batting .396 in 26 games.

-- David Andriesen

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Category: MLB
Posted on: June 9, 2010 4:21 pm
Edited on: June 9, 2010 4:29 pm
 

Did Dodgers tank pick?


It's becoming obvious that the Dodgers have almost no chance of signing their top pick, Texas high school right-hander Zach Lee . Some Dodgers fans are wondering whether that was their intention.

The Dodgers are mired in a financial mess stemming from the bitter divorce between owner Frank McCourt and former club president Jamie McCourt. So it sure would be helpful not to have to shell out for a first-round signing bonus, wouldn't it? At least that's the cynical view.

Dodgers assistant GM Logan White told reporters the team is committed to signing Lee.

"I know this, I'm optimistic we’re going to make our best effort, definitely our best effort, to get out there and get this done," White said. "I understand the concern. I’ve always tried to take the best player."

Lee was, by most accounts, indeed the best player on the board when the Dodgers picked 28th. He was still there because he has a firm commitment to play quarterback and pitch at LSU. He was seen as unsignable, and even if someone could pry him away from his college plans, it would take a lot more than 28th-pick bonus money to do it. If the Dodgers don't sign Lee, they get a compensatory pick in the sandwich round next year, so they lose next to nothing.

LSU football coach Les Miles released a statement saying he had met with Lee on draft day and that Lee was not only coming to LSU, he had already enrolled in summer classes. Baseball coach Paul Mainieri told the Times-Picayune that he had no doubt Lee was coming to Baton Rouge.

"To my knowledge, they (the Dodgers) had not had any conversations with him about whether he was signable," Mainieri said. "He probably had the reputation of being the toughest to sign in the country. His asking price was through the roof. He doesn't believe they are going to give him that ... why would the Dodgers take him?"

That's the question a lot of people are asking today.

-- David Andriesen

Category: MLB
Tags: Dodgers, Zach Lee
 
Posted on: June 9, 2010 3:16 pm
 

Nats' plan could end Strasburg's season early

Nationals fans should enjoy Stephen Strasburg while they can -- it looks like his season is going to be a short one.

According to a Twitter post by Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post, Washington manager Jim Riggleman said on the radio today that Strasburg will pitch every five days, not every five games. The Nationals will juggle the rotation around off days to keep their young star on regular rest.

Back in spring training, Riggleman told Kilgore that the Nationals' strict policy to protect young pitchers is that nobody will be allowed to pitch more than 120 percent of the innings they threw the previous year, no matter where those innings were pitched. Kilgore calculated then that between his college season, the Arizona Fall League and the Instructional League, Strasburg logged about 132 innings last season, which would make his maximum this season 158.

After seeing today's news, I sat down with a calendar. Strasburg burned 55 1/3 innings in the minors before being called up and seven more in his debut. That leaves him with about 96 more innings to pitch this year. If he were to pitch seven innings every time he started (he won't, but let's just take a best-case scenario -- or maybe a worst-case scenario, depending on your perspective), that's 12 more starts.

In that case, Strasburg would run out of innings Aug. 7, nearly two months before the end of the season.

If Strasburg is filling seats and keeping fans' attention on the Nationals, there will surely be a lot of pressure on the team not to shelve their main attraction. Riggleman managed the Cubs during Kerry Wood's rookie year, and has always felt guilty that he might have overworked Wood and caused the arm problems that derailed his career (it should be noted that Wood has said he does not blame Riggleman).

Could be a tough call for the Nationals, but you have to think their top priority will be protecting their investment long-term.

-- David Andriesen

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Category: MLB
Posted on: June 9, 2010 2:18 pm
Edited on: June 9, 2010 2:28 pm
 

Pirates' Lincoln to debut tonight


There is going to be another big pitching debut at Nationals Park tonight, this time with the spotlight on the visitors.

The day after Stephen Strasburg's much-hyped first start, the Pirates called up former first round pick Brad Lincoln and plan to start him against the Nationals tonight. The right-hander (who bats lefty) was the fourth overall pick in the 2006 draft out of the University of Houston.

Lincoln, 25, was 6-2 with a 3.16 ERA for Triple-A Indianapolis, and his promotion was just a matter of time. His turn in the rotation in Indianapolis was supposed to be Tuesday, and for a while it looked like he would be pitted against Strasburg, but the Pirates elected to avoid a situation in which their prospect would have been an afterthought. (The Pirates, of course, deny that was the reason, but who could blame them?)

The Pirates' rotation can certainly use a boost -- Pittsburgh's starters have a collective 5.77 ERA, worst in the majors by more than half a run.

The Pirates are also expected to promote outfielder Jose Tabata. They cleared two roster spots after Tuesday night's game by optioning first baseman Jeff Clement to Triple-A and designating reliever Jack Taschner for assignment.

-- David Andriesen

UPDATE: Tabata promotion now official

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Posted on: June 9, 2010 1:52 pm
 

Cleveland to get Strasburg bump


The Nationals confirmed this morning that Stephen Strasburg will indeed make his second career start on Sunday in Cleveland.

The Indians report that tickets are moving fast for the game -- they sold 1,000 between midnight and noon Wednesday, and about 19,000 total have been sold for the game. Nobody could use the boost more than the Indians, who are dead last in major league attendance at 15,527 per game.

-- David Andriesen

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Category: MLB
Posted on: June 9, 2010 12:46 pm
Edited on: June 9, 2010 12:49 pm
 

Orioles' skipper list includes Valentine, Wedge


The Orioles plan to interview former major league managers Bobby Valentine and Eric Wedge and have contacted several other potential candidates for their managerial opening, according to the Baltimore Sun .

The Orioles, who have the worst record in baseball and are already 22 games out of first, fired Dave Trembley last week. The team is being managed on an interim basis by Juan Samuel.

"We're starting the process, sort of the vetting process. We're not expecting anything soon. I'm not sure how the timetable is going to play out myself," Orioles president Andy MacPhail told the Sun. "I've never been through one of these in-season. We'll do our due diligence and work through it, but I'm not expecting anything quickly."

Valentine took the Mets to the World Series in 2000 and also won a title in Japan in 2005. He's currently an analyst for ESPN. Valentine's somewhat cantankerous personality has rubbed some people in the game the wrong way over the years, but given his track record (he has a .510 winning percentage in 15 years managing in the majors) it's surprising he hasn't been given another chance to manage by now.

Wedge managed the Indians for seven years before being given his walking papers at the end of last season.

Samuel will be considered to retain the Orioles' job. Other names that have been connected to the search include Buck Showalter, Bob Melvin and Clint Hurdle.

-- David Andriesen

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Category: MLB
Tags: Orioles
 
Posted on: June 9, 2010 12:20 pm
Edited on: June 9, 2010 5:57 pm
 

Yankees to pursue Lee?

According to the New York Post's George King , the Mariners are expecting the Yankees to be among the bidders if they shop left-hander Cliff Lee before the deadline.

Lee was traded to Seattle in the offseason and is in the final year of his contract. The Mariners hoped to contend and convince Lee to sign long-term, but with their season in the ditch they will almost certainly opt to cash him in. Lee is making $9 million this season.

A source told King the Mariners have been scouting the Yankees' minor league system extensively and will ask for shortstop Eduardo Nunez and a catcher.

-- David Andriesen

UPDATE: The New York Daily News says the Yankees are not interested in adding a starter, according to a team source.

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Category: MLB
 
 
 
 
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