Web site daily updates (2016)
Original information will appear in black letters (Monday-Tuesday) with updated info in green lettering (Wednesday-Thursday) and blue lettering (Friday-Sunday). This way you can skip the stuff you've already read.
AL AUGUST 2016
BOSTON RED SOX
An MRI on Andrew Benintendi's left knee was negative so they hope to get him back sometimes next month. "He'll be back as soon as first available, and optimistically, we're thinking that could still be the regular season," John Farrell said. "There was another MRI, X-rays, CT scan, and all concur that he's still dealing with the sprained left knee. No structural damage. When you think back and look at the video, this could've been much, much worse. We're lucky that the ACL is not involved, so we're still optimistic that he can return this season."
Clay Buchholz looked good on Thursday that probably earned him another start or two. "I felt good, I went with out of the stretch the whole start, less moving parts for me, just things I've been working on," he said. "I feel like that keeps me over the rubber a little bit longer and enables me to command a little bit better." Buchholz has struggled for most of the season, mostly pitching in the bullpen. "I thought that's probably the most consistent, quality strikes he's thrown in any given outing this year -- particularly in a starting role," John Farrell said. "He held his velocity well, he had a very good curveball, good cutter. He kept the ball on the ground and got some key strikeouts."
CHICAGO WHITE SOX
Charlie Tilson, who was acquired in the Zach Duke deal, was recalled on Tuesday. "Tilson is an interesting kid," GM Rick Hahn said. "High character kid, plus-speed, solid defense, very good bat-to-ball skills. We think he has a chance to potentially be an everyday guy out there in center, but it will come down to how that bat progresses. There is certainly a power element that is the one tool behind the others. In time, we feel he could play an important role on a very good team. The extent of that role, we'll figure out together in the coming months as he gets an opportunity." Tilson hit .282 with 16 doubles, eight triples, four home runs and 15 stolen bases for AAA Memphis. J.B. Shuck was optioned to make room for him.
LOS ANGELES ANGELS
Jeff Bandy has made the most of his opportunities this year. He is batting .261 with eight home runs in 47 games and playing solid defense. "We've seen him really embrace the defensive part of his game," Mike Scioscia said. "He has a terrific arm, and he's working hard back there with all the things that a catcher needs to do. I think you can see in his bat, he has some pop, and he's swung the bat well." He is a streaky hitter so expected the batting average to drop going forward.
Jose Berrios and Tyler Duffey were optioned to AAA Rochester. Both have been struggling terribly. Berrios, 22, is the better prospect but has an 8.59 ERA in five starts since his promotion. "I think you can recall our Buxton conversations about how it gets to a point where you're not doing him any favors right now," Paul Molitor said. "You still have to try to protect your team. I think for him, it's backing off the pressure and implementing some of the things he's working on in a less stressful environment. I love giving guys experience, especially when we are where we are, but it doesn't seem like the right thing." Berrios will continue to work on his mechanics.
Hector Santiago (left thumb) will start Monday but has not felt right for over a month. "I went back and watched a [July 2] start against Boston. I threw a pitch and you can see me [grimace] from the pain," he said. "That was almost two months ago, so itís not like this just came up. But it got really bad about 10 days ago." Santiago has a 10.89 ERA in his last four starts. "There were days when it was throbbing before I even got to the park, but thatís over," he said.
NEW YORK YANKEES
Chad Green fanned 11 Blue Jays last Monday but struggled a bit on Sunday so he relied more on his slider. "He didn't have his cutter today, but he still found a way to get through it and only give up one run," Joe Girardi said. "He was a little bit different today, but the good thing is he found a way. He has the ability to do it. We saw it in San Diego, we saw it a couple times out of the bullpen, and then we felt he had gotten a little out of whack. He wasn't having his regular side days. Since he's gotten back on track, he's been pretty good.
Sonny Gray (5.84 ERA) continues to struggle after his latest pounding on Sunday.† "I don't think my stuff's been a problem for the most part all year," he said. "My stuff is good. I went back and compared this year to previous years, and stuff-wise, everything is very similar. This year is just not going in the right direction."
Josh Reddick and Rich Hill were traded to LA for RHPs Frankie Montas, Grant Holmes and Jharel Cotton. Holmes, a first-round pick in 2014, is probably the key to the deal. The 20-year-old has a 4.02 ERA at Class-A Rancho Cucamonga. Montas, 23, is a decent prospect but has been sidelined with a rib injury for most of the season. We will be posting more on some of the better minor league prospects involved in trades in the new August update section later this week. Cotton, 24, has a 4.90 ERA with a 119/32 K/BB ratio in 97 1/3 innings in 22 games (16 starts) for AAA Oklahoma City. Danny Valencia, Max Muncy, and Jake Smolinski will get time in right field.
Edwin Diaz is replacing Steve Cishek as the closer. "Obviously, Steve has struggled the last couple of times out, and we probably need to look at where we are headed in the short term to get him back on track," Scott Servais said. "We'll talk about it. We'll probably take the gas off a little bit and try to get him in some better spots -- maybe not when the game is on the line all the time -- and he can get it back going again." Diaz throws hard and a 1.80 ERA and 49/7 K/BB ratio in 25 innings. "Heís obviously the logical choice and heís ready for that," Servais said. "Thereís no doubt." Diaz should be picked up in all formats.
James Paxton (elbow) could be activated to start on Thursday, with Taijuan Walker being recalled to start on Tuesday. "It has been all over the place," Scott Servais said. "That's the goal here, to try to get it lined up and get some consistency. We've got Felix going the right direction. Paxton was throwing great before he went down, LeBlanc has given us a chance and Miranda has thrown the ball well since he's been here. We'd like eventually, hopefully, fingers crossed we can get Walker going in the right direction and get him back in there, too. We'll see."
Nori Aoki and Mike Freeman were optioned to AAA Tacoma. Over the next 10 days, Seattle will face at least six left-handed pitchers so Aokiís playing time would have been nil. They ae expected to call up relievers Dan Altavilla and Pat Venditte to help out a depleted bullpen. Altavilla was converted to a reliever this season and has a 1.91 ERA with 16 saves for AA Jackson. He throws in the mid-90s with a slider. Tom Wilhelmsen (back) was placed on the DL and Dae-Ho Lee was brought back to play first base vs. all the lefties coming up.
TAMPA BAY RAYS
SS Matt Duffy, RHP Michael Santos and SS Lucius Fox were acquired from SF for Matt Moore. Duffy (Achilles) is on the DL and is batting .253 in a disappointing season so far. He will probably play shortstop when he returns. "He's an all-around player," president Matt Silverman said. "Last year, one of the top rookies in the National League. And was off to a great year this year before the Achilles injury. Just someone who can fortify our infield up the middle." Brad Miller would move to a utility role. Fox, 19, batted just .207 at low-A but has 25 stolen bases. Santos, 21, has a 2.91 ERA in 10 low-A starts.
Kevin Kiermaier (hip) is back in the lineup but they might be cautious with him. "It's gotten better," Kevin Cash said. "he understands how much we value him and need him out there; we're excited to have him back. But we're going to listen to what KK has to say and if he doesn't feel good enough, then we'll adjust, but right now he's good to go. We know we're best when he's out there kind of roaming the outfield and making the plays that he does."
Derek Holland (shoulder) was activated to start on Tuesday after missing two months. He returns to a 5.20 ERA. His velocity and strike out rate has dropped since a knee injury two years ago.† He is becoming more of a finesse pitcher and worked hard on his off-speed stuff while on rehab. "Everything has been progressing," he said. "It's been a rough three years for me. I'm happy and confident to be in this position."
NL AUGUST 2016
Top prospect Dansby Swanson was called up on Wednesday to play shortstop. The 22-year was the #1 overall pick in 2015 and has batted .275 with nine home runs and 13 stolen bases with an 84/15 k/bb ratio at Class-A Carolina and AA Mobile. NL-leagues can take a flier but he will probably not make an immediate impact. "There's a lot we like about Dansby," said John Hart, president of baseball operations. "We don't expect him to come up here and be the savior, but we feel like this is an opportunity for us to take a good look and get him some experience up here in the big leagues." Mike Aviles was designated for assignment.
C Tony Wolters is batting over .400 after a .215 first half. "He's worked hard," Walt Weiss said. "He and Blake (Doyle, hitting coach) have really spent a lot of time working on swing path, working on rhythm. I feel like he's got an approach that he's taking to the plate now, where early on, it was hit and miss with his approach. He looks a lot more confident in the box now. He's always been a defender. That's been his ticket. Ironically, he started as a middle infielder, now he's a catcher. But at-bats come because he's worked hard. He's reaping the rewards of that." Wolters and Doyle have worked well together. "He's made a couple of adjustments that he needed to make," Doyle said. "He needed to stay back behind the ball a little more and load up a little more and be more concerned about using his hands than his torso. He's come along really well."
Jonathan Lucroy and Jeremy Jeffress were traded to Texas for OF Lewis Brinson, RHP Luis Ortiz and a player to be named later. Brinson, 22, has struggled this year (.234) but is still considered a top prospect. Ortiz, 20, has a 3.48 ERA and 62/13 K/BB ratio in 67 1/3 combined minor league innings and is a decent prospect. We will be posting more on some of the better minor league prospects involved in trades in the new August update section later this week.
Will Smith was traded to SF for RHP Phil Bickford and C Andrew Susac. Bickford, a first round pick in in 2015, is 21 and has had a lot of success so far in his brief career. Susac, 26, has not hit much in the majors so far but will get a chance at some playing time at some point. For now, Manny Pina was recalled to be the starting catcher. The 29-year-old was batting .329 with five homers at AAA Colorado Springs in the hitter-friendly PCL. We will be posting more on some of the better minor league prospects involved in trades in the new August update section later this week.
Tyler Thornburg will likely be the closer now so grab him if available. He throws in the mid-90s with a sharp curve with 12.5 strikeouts per nine innings. "I've tried to take that situation on, even being in the seventh or eighth inning anyway, because they're high-leverage outs," Thornburg said. "I've faced 3-4-5 plenty of times in the eighth inning. It's kind of like that was one of the biggest innings anyway, so it shouldn't be that much of a difference at all."
Top SS prospect Orlando Arcia was recalled from AAA Colorado Springs on Tuesday with Jonathan Villar moving to third base. "The thinking is it's time to get him started," Craig Counsell said. "We've still got a good chunk of the season left, where we're hopeful that it gives him good experience going into next year. I think it's a little shot in the arm for us, a little boost for us, as well." Arcia, 21, was batting .267 with eight homers and 15 steals and is worth a flier in most formats.
NEW YORK METS
Jon Niese was placed on the DL and will have surgery to repair a torn meniscus. Robert Gsellman will join the rotation but is not a top prospect but is worth watching. He began the year at AA Binghamton (2.71 ERA in 11 starts) and then was promoted to AAA Las Vegas (5.73 ERA in nine starts). He throws 94-mph with a sharp slider and a decent curve.
Struggling Jacob deGrom will skip his next start to give him a rest. "The last couple of starts, his ball just has not moved the way it typically does," GM Sandy Alderson said. "We don't think that's related to injury. It's maybe related to mechanics. Which is not to say that he hasn't pitched quite a bit, and could use the day off. But all things considered, we're very hopeful that we'll give him one day off and then he can pitch again." Rafael Montero will be called up to start Monday in his place.
Vince Velasquez has a 10.47 ERA in his last three starts and a 7.29 ERA in his last six. Pete Mackanin does not think heís tired but he is six innings shy of his previous high in the minors (125). Heís giving up a lot of homers so he needs to work on his command. "I told him to enjoy learning about climbing the ladder, enjoy the fight, the struggle to get to where you want to be," Mackanin said. "Because he's going to be real good at one point. He's got to keep battling and working at it."
Josh Bell committed 14 errors at first base and one in right field this season. "He's still a work in progress," Clint Hurdle said. "Matter of fact, in the game before we called him up, he made two errors. It's a work in progress. John Jaso is a better defensive first baseman than Josh is right now. It's a matter of fact, so when he's over there starting, we will look for opportunities to get at-bats, make the plays that he can make and do the job that he can do and defend for him later as we've done in the past. He's working hard to get better every day."
SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS
LH reliever Will Smith was acquired from the Brewers for Phil Bickford and Andrew Susac. Smith throws hard and gets strikeouts but oddly, left-handed batters have hit .316 off him this year, compared to .143 for righties. He has a 3.68 ERA with 22 strikeouts in 22 innings after missing the first two months with a torn ligament in his right knee.
Matt Duffy and two minor leaguers were traded to TB for Matt Moore. Moore got off to a slow start but has been much better in the last month or so. He's 7-7 with a 4.08 ERA in 21 starts this year, and should benefit from AT&T Park's pitcher-friendly dimensions. Jake Peavy will move to the bullpen.