Thursday, May 30, 2013
Positive signs for Jered Weaver
By Buster Olney
Carl Crawford was the first hitter who Jered Weaver faced in his start Wednesday night, Weaver’s first since breaking his left (non-pitching) elbow in the first week of the season. When the count reached two strikes, Weaver fired a fastball high and outside at 91 mph. Crawford chased it, for the strikeout.
Weaver continued to throw like this, with his fastball velocity consistently in the 87-89 mph range, much higher than the 84-85 mph he showed before getting hurt. Check out this data from Brooks Baseball, from his start against the Dodgers.
Compare that with the numbers from his previous start, on April 7.
On Wednesday night, he clearly had more velocity. Weaver didn’t maintain that peak velocity for his entire outing, but at least he’ll have the peace of mind to know that he’s capable of throwing harder than 85 mph.
The return of Weaver gives the Angels their stability, writes Lyle Spencer.
Weaver and the Angels beat the Dodgers 4-3, and the news for Don Mattingly was not good: Matt Kemp strained a hamstring and is likely headed to the disabled list.
Around the league
• That’s eight straight losses and counting for the Royals. Ned Yost says he doesn’t listen to speculation about his job security. Eric Hosmer was benched Wednesday.
• Wrote here the other day about the Braves’ need for more flexibility in their bullpen and about Double-A prospect Alex Wood, a left-hander who has been dominant this season in the minors. He has been called up to the big leagues, as Mark Bowman writes.
Meanwhile, the Braves are targeting June 18 for the return of Brandon Beachy.
• Here’s something to remember about the Oakland Athletics: They often get better as the season progresses, as they did last year, as their young players gain experience and as their roster is honed. And right now, they are playing well: They took down the Giants and Tim Lincecum on Wednesday, for their 11th win in their last 12 games.
• Joba Chamberlain is just four months from free agency, which is the probably the most significant reason why it would make sense for the Yankees to trade him in the next 63 days. If they keep him through the end of the season, they obviously would not make him a tender offer in an effort to get a draft pick in return if he signs elsewhere. Chamberlain is making $1.9 million this year, and there is no way they would risk paying him 10 times that much were he to accept a qualifying offer.
But the fact that the Yankees have enough right-handed depth in their bullpen to view Chamberlain as tradeable surplus is another factor. Preston Claiborne has excelled since being called up from the minors, issuing zero walks and striking out 11 in 14 1/3 innings, and after a couple of rocky outings in the first part of the season, Shawn Kelley has thrived, striking out 22 in his last 12 innings. And, of course, they have David Robertson and Mariano Rivera for the eighth and ninth innings
So the Yankees could try to take advantage of what is a very weak reliever market and swap Chamberlain for a second-tier prospect or a usable veteran. Chamberlain, 27, was activated from the disabled list Tuesday, and before he got hurt, his fastball velocity was a strong 94 mph.
• Ryan Zimmerman hit three homers Wednesday but was somewhat upstaged by Chris Davis, who clubbed two of his own in a comeback win for the Orioles. Davis now has 18 homers through 53 games, which is the most by an Oriole since Brady Anderson had 20 through 53 games in 1996. Check out the Stats & Info blog for a complete breakdown.
• Dioner Navarro was "the man" for the Cubs, mashing three home runs, and Scott Feldman won again.
• Jerry Crasnick was on the podcast Wednesday and explained how red hair, duck walking, square shoulders and weak chins are a factor for clubs in draft planning. On Tuesday, Toronto GM Alex Anthopoulos was on to talk about the Blue Jays, and Jayson Stark and I agree about the future of the designated hitter.
• Today is Michael Wacha day in St. Louis. He arrives with a lot of expectations and hype, as Tom Timmermann writes.
About Wacha, from Stats & Information: The right-hander, who was the 19th overall pick in the 2012 draft, will become just the fourth starting pitcher in the past 10 seasons to debut before June the season after being drafted, joining Kevin Gausman, Mike Leake and Tim Lincecum.
Wacha will become the first Cardinals pitcher to reach the majors within one year of being drafted in 25 years. He also will become the seventh rookie pitcher used by the Cardinals this season, which leads all MLB teams.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals continue to win about two-thirds of their games.
Dings and dents
1. A Cubs reliever needs Tommy John surgery.
2. Chris Sale will be back Sunday.
3. Kris Medlen is expected to make his next start, after getting whacked by a ball in his start Wednesday.
4. Danny Espinosa is playing through a fracture.
5. Clay Buchholz’s next start is being delayed.
6. Derek Jeter played catch at Yankee Stadium.
7. Mark Teixeira and Kevin Youkilis are on the verge of coming back.
8. Brett Lawrie landed on the disabled list.
9. Alex Cobb is hurting, and so Alex Colome will step into the Rays’ rotation today, with Chris Archer expected to pitch Saturday, writes Marc Topkin.
10. Aaron Hill is aching to come back.
Moves, deals and decisions
1. Robin Ventura appears close to shaking up his lineup, writes Mark Gonzales.
2. Ryan Flaherty was recalled by the Orioles.
3. The Mets have talked to Ike Davis and Ruben Tejada about possible demotion, though Tejada could be headed to the DL with a quad injury he suffered in the ninth inning last night, which would change the equation.
4. Jeremy Bonderman is the leading candidate to start Sunday for Seattle, as mentioned at the end of this Larry Stone notebook.
1. The Reds couldn’t keep up with Justin Masterson, writes Hal McCoy.
2. Roberto Hernandez was outstanding for the Rays against the Marlins.
3. Anibal Sanchez was cruising, until the Pirates jumped him, writes John Lowe.
4. The Padres won with a walk-off.
• The Rangers and Diamondbacks were sideswiped by a sudden storm.
• Houston’s bats came alive late. The Astros are building something, one of their players says.
• Tyler Flowers hasn’t bloomed yet, writes Daryl Van Schouwen.
• A pitcher gave the Twins a big pickup.
• Jim Leyland explained why he kept a guy in the game.
• Bruce Bochy is concerned about the lack of quality starts.
• Tyler Chatwood punched out a bunch of hitters.
• Jedd Gyorko is finding his home run swing early in his career.
• You cannot stop the Pirates, you can only hope to contain them.
• The Pirates are having fun with their bullpen nickname.
• Jeanmar Gomez is making a strong impression, writes Rob Biertempfel.
• The losing is getting old for the Brewers, says Ron Roenicke.
• Despite Milwaukee's woes, Jean Segura keeps doing great things.
• My goodness, the Marlins are awful right now.
• Domonic Brown is on a pace to hit 40 homers.
• Wins are masking the Phillies’ flaws, writes David Murphy.
• Jordan Zimmermann had a tough day.
• Bobby Parnell may deserve an All-Star selection, writes Joel Sherman.
• Trevor Bauer cracked up his teammates with his new rap video.
• Eric Wedge backtracked.
• The Blue Jays are staying positive about Ricky Romero.
• Dogs will be allowed at the Trop on June 16.
• The Marlins are calling up a 31-year-old rookie who played in the Ivy League. He went to Dartmouth.
And today will be better than yesterday.