PLAYING TIME: Ramirez out with back injury

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Ramirez exits with bad back

Aramis Ramirez (3B, MIL) left Wednesday's game in the ninth inning with what was described as a lower back/oblique strain. He wasn't in the lineup on Thursday, and manager Ron Roenicke tagged it a wait and see situation. Ramirez has had a season with striking similarity to 2011 (.295/.348/.523 with 23 HR) and his peripherals remain strong across the board (.296 xBA, 143 PX, 96 BPV). But oblique injuries can be fickle; unfortunately it's the wrong time for those in the stretch run.

In his place, the Brewers started Jeff Bianchi (SS/3B, MIL) on Thursday and it's likely he'll get most of the PT if Ramirez is sidelined. Bianchi has eight hits in 18 AB in limited time over the past two months, though three of his hits have gone for HRs. That won't continue, as he's hit only 19 HR across all levels since 2009. He's shown some contact and on-base ability, and still is just 25, but there's not a lot of secondary skills in his profile. The team also recalled Taylor Green (3B, MIL) who swatted 22 HR at Triple-A in 2011 but only nine total in 2012. As he wasn't called up until the injury, Green is likely for insurance only.

Mayberry making his mark

After a first half in which John Mayberry (OF, PHI) failed to take advantage of an injury to Ryan Howard (1B, PHI) and an open LF job, it seemed that he was headed for a lost year. But once the Phillies became sellers at the trade deadline and Shane Victorino (OF, LA) was traded to LA, Mayberry became the Phils' only real option in CF—and this time, he's made the most of it.

Since July 31, Mayberry has hit a combined .301/.355/.513 with six HR and is chasing fewer pitches out of the zone and hitting the ball with more authority. After a ct% languishing in the low-70s through the season's first four months, his contact rate has been 83% since the trade. Though he's stretched a bit defensively in CF, he may again be playing his way into the Phillies' plans for 2013 if he finishes strong.

For now, he's an everyday player with a suspect history that might be hiding under your league's radar. Good flyer material.

NL short takes

Edinson Volquez (RHP, SD) had his Saturday start pushed back due to a blister on his pitching thumb; rookie Casey Kelly (RHP, SD) will take his place. Volquez, who despite a decent xERA (4.08) and excellent GB% (50%) can't keep from walking batters (2012's 5.3 mark is his fourth consecutive season of 5.0+ Ctl), will now go on Tuesday ...

 

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Teaford getting a look

Everett Teaford (LHP, KC) pitched well in an abbreviated spot start Wednesday vs. TEX (4.1 IP, 3 H, 2 BB, 5 K). He was pulled after 72 pitches because most of his work so far has been out of the bullpen. Kansas City indicated that he'll be given a few more chances to start during the season's final couple of weeks and perhaps be in the running for a rotation slot come 2013. Is worth having on our radar?

Not really—unless his history of sub-6.0 Dom in the majors (5.5 career) rises to the point of his minor-league numbers (7.1 career). But given that he's 28 and his Dom numbers have dropped as he's risen the organizational ladder, there's just not much upside. He's not particularly stingy with walks (3.0 in the majors) and has shown a penchant for giving up home runs.

If you're out of the race and looking for a 2013 keeper in the last weeks, this is not your late-season find. Keep searching.

AL short takes

Updating a note from yesterday, it turns out Brandon McCarthy (RHP, OAK) had surgery on Wednesday night to relieve a hemorrhage and address a skull fracture caused by an Erick Aybar line drive. Though he was reported as alert and improving, he remains hospitalized. Dan Straily (RHP, OK) was scratched from a Thursday start in Triple-A and will likely take McCarthy's place in the rotation. See his PlayerLink page for his promising particulars. There's been no timetable set on McCarthy's recovery, though it would seem his regular season is in jeopardy ...

Ricky Romero (LHP, TOR) had his scheduled start moved back to September 12 as he tries to get back on track before this horrific season ends. His 5.85 ERA/1.589 WHIP over the season should have been enough for most owners to bail by now, and a 5.0 Ctl reveals one big part of the problem. He shouldn't be on anyone's roster, and his 2013 outlook will be cloudy ...

Chris Archer (RHP, TAM) was called up from Triple-A and will join the team on Friday. He started two PQS-DOM games in June, and sported a 9.8 Dom and 2.2 Cmd in  25 starts. He could help TAM in either the bullpen or rotation, but should be a prime target for those in keeper leagues given the Rays' history with developing young hurlers ...


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  For more information about the terms used in this article, see our Glossary Primer.