Hanley Ramirez, pre-thumb tweak (USAT Sports Images)
We begin with a news item that is unambiguously good: Zack Greinke is pitching again, and he's not in terrible pain.
Greinke tossed four scoreless frames against a collection of minor leaguers on Wednesday, allowing just one hit, then offered this assessment:
"My arm felt really good today," he said. "It felt strong."
"I wasn't perfect," he said. "You saw me upset with several pitches. But for the first outing in two weeks, that's kind of expected."
Good to hear — especially if you already drafted the guy. Greinke has been dealing with elbow soreness and inflammation. He received an injection of platelet-rich plasma last week, which obviously raised his midichlorian count to pre-injury levels. (Don't make me explain medicine to you. It's hard).
The tentative plan for Greinke is to make two additional spring starts, leaving him on track to face Pittsburgh on April 5.
"I want to pitch 34 starts," he says, "the whole regular season."
So there you go. Now for some not-so-great Dodgers news...
Hanley Ramirez suffered a right thumb injury in the championship game of the World Baseball Classic, and he went for an MRI exam on Wednesday. This was the early word from his manager, via the LA Times:
"The optimistic side is … it's just a sprain and it's a couple weeks," [Don] Mattingly said. "The pessimistic side is it could be something major and it's more long-term, eight to 10 weeks."
So either a tiny inconvenience, or he'd need to be fitted for a hook. It's not often that you see a team give a 2-10 week timetable, but there it is.
NOT MUCH HELP TO THOSE OF US WHO DRAFTED LAST NIGHT, DODGERS.
[Update: It's bad. Hanley tore a ligament in his thumb, and he'll require surgery. We'll see him again in eight weeks. If you need a fantasy placeholder, here are the Yahoo! shortstop ranks. Hello, Segura.]
Before talking yourself into a Dee Gordon pick-up, check out the Dodgers' Ramirez replacement plan (from MLB.com's Ken Gurnick):
Mattingly took projected starting third baseman Luis Cruz and put him at shortstop, saying Cruz would be the initial alternative at short, with a rotation at third base involving the resurgent Juan Uribe, Nick Punto and Jerry Hairston. Cruz played shortstop for much of his career.
Gross. Those names are for the N.L.-only crowd exclusively.
Puig! (USAT Images)While we're talking L.A. baseball, I feel compelled to mention the player pictured over there on the right. That's 22-year-old outfielder Yasiel Puig, a kid having an obscene spring. He's now 25-for-48 in exhibition play — not a misprint; he's hitting .521 — with 14 runs scored, three homers, 11 RBIs, four steals, and an OPS of 1.354(!), which is just ridiculous. No one, anywhere, is hitting like this.
Here's a highlight reel from Puig's recent 4-for-4 performance against the A's.
There isn't an obvious spot for Puig in L.A.'s outfield at the moment, not if Carl Crawford is ready for opening day. But the Dodgers have a decent chunk of change invested in the Cuban star ($42 million, seven years), so they'll be motivated to throw him into the mix at some point — perhaps soon, if he doesn't stop hitting.
Puig hasn't yet drawn a walk in Cactus League action, so it's not as if he's a flawless talent. But Mattingly and Matt Kemp have both made Bo Jackson comparisons, which should excite pretty much everyone.
[Baseball 2013 from Yahoo! Fantasy Sports: Join a league today!]
These were a few of Kemp's spring comments on Puig:
"I think he's way stronger than me," Kemp said. "He might have more power than me."
The heavily muscled Puig has also been clocked running from the batter's box to first base in as little as 3.9 seconds.
"He's a monster, man," Kemp said. "He's big. When everybody sees him, they think about Bo Jackson. Puig is a five-tool athlete that can do a lot in the big leagues and help our team one of these days."
That's unfair. File away the name for later use.
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