In the span of two days, the Braves have gone from having a talented young rotation to desperately scouring the market for starting pitching. On Sunday, Kris Medlen left his start with a right forearm strain. He will receive the results of an MRI to determine the extent of the injury sometime Monday night or during the day on Tuesday, reports Mark Bowman of MLB.com. With Medlen's season potentially in danger, the last thing the Braves needed was another pitcher to go down, but that appears to be what happened on Monday. Starter Brandon Beachy, who attempted a comeback from Tommy John Surgery last season only to end up getting shut down, left the Braves' game against the Phillies after two difficult innings despite being scheduled to work four frames. Beachy apparently suffered from tightness around his surgically-repaired elbow, but he is not concerned about the issue, according to Bowman.
The Braves seem to be worried, however. They have reacted to these injuries by diving into the market for starting pitchers. They acquired an additional depth option in Zach Stewart from the White Sox for cash considerations just prior to Beachy's early exit and now they are reportedly pursuing free agent Ervin Santana. Adding the inconsistent Santana at the cost of a draft pick might not be the ideal solution, but given just how badly the Braves have been hit by injuries, it is certainly not surprising that the NL East Champions would be considering such a move.
Zack Greinke to start again Wednesday
After tweaking his calf just four pitches into his start last week, Dodgers starter Zack Greinke is almost ready to take the mound again. The 30-year-old righty threw a successful bullpen session on Monday and he could be ready for more exhibition action as early as Wednesday. Eric Stephen of True Blue LA reports that the decision will come down to how the hurler feels:
"It's kind of up in the air with [Greinke]," manager Don Mattingly said. "If everybody feels like he's safer one way or another, we'll go that way."
John Farrell reveals his plan for Boston's rotation
Lefty Jon Lester making his fourth-straight Opening Day start was never in question. However, Red Sox manager John Farrell ended any suspense regarding how the rest of the rotation would line up by laying out his plans on Monday. The resurgent John Lackey will slot into the No. 2 spot, followed by 26-year-old southpaw Felix Doubront, Jake Peavy and finally Clay Buchholz. Buchholz was the best pitcher on the staff when healthy last season, so Farrell's decision to move him to the back of the rotation is almost certainly an effort to keep the fragile ace on the hill, as Ben Buchanan explains:
Clay Buchholz coming in at the tail end stands out like a sore thumb. When he was on the mound last year, Buchholz produced a stunning 1.74 ERA. He was one of the most dominant pitchers Fenway has seen in years. And yet, he only managed 108 innings, which seems to largely be why John Farrell has tabbed him for the final spot. Pitching fifth will give Buchholz a slightly easier schedule, perhaps allowing him to avoid the injuries that have plagued him in recent seasons.
Iglesias battling shin splints
Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias is recovering from shin splints and he may not be ready for Opening Day. Though the injury is relatively minor, it can be difficult overcome, as Rob Rogacki of Bless You Boys explains:
The pain that results from medial tibial stress syndrome can be anywhere from mildly debilitating to wildly excruciating. The specific activity that caused the injury -- running, most often -- is typically the most painful, and should be avoided to give the body time to heal. Continuing to run and "play through the pain" can lead to increased inflammation and possibly the formation of stress fractures within the tibia bone. Iglesias' prognosis will depend on how quickly the Tigers training staff can get his symptoms to subside, but this could be an injury that hampers him periodically until they are able to find a long-term solution to the underlying problem.
The first cuts of the spring are not the deepest
Spring is a tough time to be a fringe player fighting for that last spot on the margins of the major leagues. Some of the first cuts for teams came on Monday as clubs began the slow process of trimming their rosters down to just 25 players.
- The Mets dropped 15 players from their major league camp. Their most notable cut was lefty Josh Edgin, who saw time with the club last season in the bullpen and who had a chance at earning a similar role this year.
- The Twins cut 16 players from their camp on Sunday, including top prospect Byron Buxton.