PLAYING TIME: Teixeira suffers calf strain

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Teixeira out with calf strain

Mark Teixeira (1B, NYY) was forced to leave the August 27 game when he suffered a Grade 1 calf strain.  He may avoid the disabled list due to the upcoming roster expansions, but he is expected to miss at least a week of action.  Nick Swisher will likely see some additional time at first base, but he was already a fixture in the lineup.  Eric Chavez could see some time there as well, but it's doubtful he will see any starts against left-handers, so his at-bats should remain unchanged. 

The recently acquired Steve Pearce (OF, NYY) is likely to benefit from Teixeira's absence, seeing time both in left field and at first base.  The 29-year-old has put up some impressive numbers in the minors the past few seasons, including a .987 OPS in 192 at-bats this season.  However, his impact at the major league level has been minimal, with a .237/.309/.372 line, and 12 home runs in 599 career at-bats.  Pearce was in the cleanup spot August 28, but with league average power and a part-time role, his upside is limited.

Andruw Jones (OF, NYY) could potentially see more time than usual against right-handers on nights where Swisher mans first base.  He can hit for power no matter who is pitching, but beware the looming batting average dip if he claims a larger role.  In the past two seasons against right-handers, Jones has hit nine home runs in just 122 at-bats.  However, during that time, he has just a .189 batting average and a 61% contact rate.

Span scratched with sore shoulder

Bad news for owners of Denard Span (OF, MIN), as just days after returning from a collarbone injury, he was scratched from the lineup due to shoulder soreness.  It remains to be seen if the injury will force him to miss extended time, but is certainly a situation to monitor in the coming days.

Darin Mastroianni (OF, MIN) got the start in his place, and could see his role increase somewhat if Span misses time.  He has plenty of speed, as shown by his 15 steals in 17 attempts in just 132 at-bats.  Mastroianni's 77% contact rate is low for someone with such little power, though, and the outfield situation could become crowded when rosters expand September 1. 

AL short take

Zach Stewart (RHP, BOS) will reportedly be called up to start August 29 against the Angels.  He pitched primarily out of the bullpen with the White Sox earlier in the year, but since coming over in a trade, has put up a 3.94 ERA and 6.4 Dom in 11 starts with Triple-A Pawtucket.  Stewart made 11 starts for the White Sox a year ago, but the results were uninspiring.  In 63 innings, he had a 6.00 ERA, along with a 5.4 Dom and 1.4 hr/9.  It's unclear how long his stay in the rotation will be, but he looks to be a risky bet for success in the short-term...

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Gregerson notches another save

With Dale Thayer (RHP, SD) spending the weekend on the paternity list, Luke Gregerson (RHP, SD) got the call to close out the August 26 game, and did so successfully.  Thayer was activated the following night, but it was Gregerson once again who recorded the save.  The dominant reliever from 2009-10 is back, as he boasts an impressive 9.3 Dom and 129 BPV for the season.  He has been especially dominant since July 4, as he has reeled off 23 scoreless innings, while striking out 22 and holding opposing hitters to a .415 OPS.  Huston Street could be back in early September, but don't be surprised if Gregerson gets the call to close out games in the meantime. 

Thayer has filled in for Street during two of his DL stints, and has recorded seven saves on the year.  However, he has blown two of his four chances since Street went down in mid-July, and Thayer's skills pale in comparison to Gregerson's.  With Gregerson now in the mix for saves, and Street nearing a return, Thayer's value going forward may be very limited. 

Molina leaves game following collision at home plate

Yadier Molina (C, STL) was removed from the August 28 game following a third inning collision with Josh Harrison. No word yet on the severity of the injury, though he was noticeably dazed after the play. His absence would certainly be a big blow to the hopes of both his owners and the Cardinals in their push for a playoff spot.

Tony Cruz (C, STL) replaced Molina and would likely be the biggest playing time beneficiary should he miss some time. He would be a huge drop-off in offensive production, as Cruz has a .248/.284/.352 batting line and just one home run in 165 career at-bats.  His upside is certainly limited, but a regular role in a potent offens could make him worth something in deeper leagues. 

 Rutledge returns to lineup

After being limited to pinch-hitting duties over the past week, Josh Rutledge (SS, COL) returned to the lineup August 28.  He has been very impressive since his call-up, hitting .344 with seven home runs and five steals in 131 at-bats.  His plate discipline could use some work, as he has drawn just two walks after posting a 0.20 Eye at Triple-A Colorado Springs.  His power/speed combo is impressive, though, and he is likely to be in the lineup most nights even when Troy Tulowitzki returns. 

Jonathan Herrera (2B, COL) has seen regular playing time in the past week, while a few regulars have been sidelined.  Even when playing, he offers very little, with a sub-.300 on-base-percentage and speed that doesn't translate to stolen bases.  Going forward, he is likely to find playing time hard to come by. 

Bedard released, Correia back in Pittsburgh rotation

After making his last three appearances out of the bullpen, Kevin Correia (RHP, PIT) is rejoining the rotation following the release of Erik Bedard (LHP, FAN).  As mentioned by Playing Time analyst Harold Nichols upon his move to the pen, Correia, has a strong 51% ground ball rate, but his low Dom (4.3) leaves a lot to be desired.  With an xERA that consistently lies slightly below 4.50, he appears to be a risky add for those in close battles in the ratio categories.

As for Bedard, his 8.5 Dom and 4.0 Ctl are in line with what should have been expected of him.  However, after not posting an ERA above 4.00 since 2004, it has jumped to 5.01 this season.  Owner of a 3.12 ERA at the beginning of June, he put up a 6.35 ERA over his last 14 starts, albeit with an 8.2 Dom.  Bedard will get another shot somewhere, and his respectable skills suggest he will probably be worth a gamble.

NL short take

Guillermo Mota (RHP, SF), out since early May due to his 100 game suspension, has rejoined the San Francisco bullpen.  Despite the uncertainty there, it is doubtful he will earn a very prominent role.  Mota posted an 8.6 Dom and 3.56 xERA in 2011, which was his first sub-4.00 xERA since 2004.  At 39 years of age and after missing most of the season, don't expect him to retain those skills...

 


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