There's nothing like orange barrel season in Metro Detroit to start your Monday off in the most foul of moods. At least I have the Game Notes to cheer me up.
"The Tigers sent reliever Aquilino Lopez to Triple-A Toledo after the game and plan to convert him into a starter. Detroit is expected to activate reliever Fernando Rodney (shoulder) on Monday." Obviously, this is great news for the resurgent Tigers. The return of Rodney to his 2006 form would bring tremendous stability and depth to the Tiger bullpen. Some might recall that Rodney was being groomed for the closer role before the injury bug got him. Barring an Eric Gagne like collapse by Todd Jones, its highly unlikely that Rodney will become the closer this year. Rodney will continue his role as a set up man, occasionally earning the odd save or win.
"Gregg Zaun made his return from the 15-day DL and was inserted into the lineup as designated hitter. Zaun had been out since May 28 with a right elbow injury." Zaun had a nice return going 1 for 3 with 2 RBI dinger and a BB. As I mentioned on Saturday, I don't see him supplanting Rod Barajas behind the plate. Add him at your own risk.
Bad news on the Travis Hafner injury watch. "Eric Wedge said DH Travis Hafner, out since May 30 with a sore right shoulder, is "not where he wants to be," and is not able to start a minor league rehab assignment next week as had been hoped." The Indians were making noises that Hafner would be ready this week. Its clear he won't be. Keep him reserved or better yet, drop him for a player who can hit above the .217.
Here we go again. Its time for the next great thing in baseball. "San Diego is expected to call up OF Chase Headley on Tuesday. He's hitting .305 with 13 homers and 40 RBI in 65 games at Triple-A Portland, and will play for the Padres on Monday in the Hall of Fame Game in Cooperstown, N.Y., against the Chicago Cubs." Patience should be counseled for Headley. He's not receiving the hype that Jay Bruce got, but he still has prospect-watchers tongues wagging. Owners should be reminded that after his insta-HOF start, Jay Bruce came back down to earth. I would wait a week or so before hopping on the Headley bandwagon.
Speaking of struggling rookies, "in his three starts this season, Bailey has given up six homers, walked 10 and allowed 12 earned runs in 12 1/3 innings." Toot Toot! That sound you hear is my own horn. I was roundly criticized for questioning the wisdom of starting or even picking up Homer Bailey.
"Twins RHP Nick Blackburn (elbow) has muscle soreness and will skip his next start. With an off day Monday, Blackburn is now slated to Saturday against Arizona. He stressed there were no problems with the ligaments in his elbow. "It's not a big deal," he said." Missing a start is a big deal to owners who picked him up for his two start week. Blackburn has been a nice fantasy find. He doesn't win a ton of games but he has a 3 to 1 K to BB ratio, an ERA under 4, and a WHIP under 1.5. Given the fact that the soreness is in his pitching arm, I'd keep Blackburn reserved this week.
This isn't from the Game Notes, but I thought it was important to mention. The AP reported, "Yadier Molina never saw what hit him, leaving the field on a body board and wearing a neck brace." If you saw the game you saw the collision that left him motionless on the diamond. The good news is that the initial concerns about spinal injury or even whiplash were unnecessary. Molina was diagnosed with a mild concussion. He's likely out for the week, but he should be fine.
Did you hear about this? "Braves 3B Chipper Jones is 2-for-15 in four games since returning to the lineup Wednesday after sustaining a small tear in his right quadriceps muscle. He missed the series opener against the Angels on Friday after being injured in batting practice. A ball he hit caromed off the top of the batting cage and then struck him in the face. He went 0-for-7 in the final two games of the series and his major league-leading average fell to .402." I think the Braves are cursed. Worse yet, I think their players are beginning to believe it too. Sell Jones while you can. The DL is nigh.
Streakers! "AJ Pierzynski has an 11-game hitting streak...Skip Schumaker is batting .410 (16-for-39) in his past nine starts to raise his average to .310."
...thanks for playing the streak game. "Angels SS Maicer Izturis was 0-3, ending a 13-game hitting streak."