Next man up (USAT)
When the Braves sent Alex Wood to the minors on June 10, the move was stamped "temporary" all the way. The club wanted Wood to stretch his arm out, get ready for a return to the rotation at some point. The dynamic lefty has nothing left to prove at Triple-A; his full minor-league resume jumps off the page.
And less than two weeks after that transaction date, we see the bat signal in the sky.
Gavin Floyd's sparkling comeback season probably ended in Washington on Thursday night; he fractured his pitching elbow and is almost certainly done for the year. You have to feel for Floyd: he's been superb in his return from Tommy John surgery, posting a 2.65 ERA over nine starts. The Nationals never figured him out Thursday, doing next to nothing over 6.1 innings (2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 K).
Wood was already earmarked for a likely return at the end of the month - the Braves have a doubleheader looming on June 28 - but perhaps the Floyd injury will push the timetable forward. Either way, this is a left-hander of interest, someone who can make a difference in fantasy leagues.
Wood has a 3.26 ERA and 1.31 WHIP over 138 big-league innings, striking out better than a batter per inning. His ratios in the rotation this season are excellent: 3.00 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 4.9 strikeouts for every walk. His 15.1 relief innings weren't as fun, though he picked up three vulture wins and still whiffed batters at a silly rate.
I credit the rotoheads who stayed the course with Wood: he's currently owned in 50 percent of Yahoo leagues, with most of that number coming from the hold-and-hope crowd. This could be a fun story the rest of the way, especially when you consider the shape of the NL East (the Marlins usually score plenty, but no one else does). Make sure Wood isn't kicking around your free-agent wire.
• Although the Marlins are eighth in the majors in runs, they didn't do a thing Thursday against New York righty Zach Wheeler (9 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 8 K). The gem moved Wheeler's ratios down nicely; he's now carrying a 3.93 ERA and 1.32 WHIP. He's striking out a batter per inning, walking just 3.6/9. A reasonable mixed-league arm, especially if he can keep the walks under control.
Wheeler's bagel parade also spoiled the MLB debut of Miami lefty Andrew Heaney (6 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 3 K). Old buzz against new buzz, this year's model against last year's model. David Wright clubbed a solo homer in the top of the first, and that was it for the scoring. Look for more Heaney strikeouts next week at Philadelphia; after that, he draws the high-scoring Athletics (at least it's in Miami).
• For Scooter Gennett owners, it's the best of times and the worst of times.
First, the positive stuff: he's on a .404 binge this month (13 runs, two homers, one steal) and he's proven terrific against right-handed pitching (.345/.379/.526). That's a very useful player, especially with a Coors Field weekend series on the way. Alas, the Brewers face two lefties this weekend (and at least five over the next 10 games), which likely pushes Gennett to the bench (or at least stems his effectiveness). His career OPS is a robust .906 with the platoon advantage, a paltry .333 (in limited playing time) without it.
In some formats, you don't have the space (or the time) for this sort of lineup jockey. But in deeper formats with some bench latitude, Gennett is worth the investment. He's still unclaimed in 88 percent of Yahoo leagues.
• Brock Holt didn't do anything special in Thursday's loss at Oakland (1-for-4, run scored), though he's still looking at a nifty .327/.366/.447 line for the year. If you're concerned about Boston gridlock forcing Holt out of relevance, consider the shape of the Boston roster. Shane Victorino (hamstring) is moving at a snail's pace with his rehab work (he was scratched Thursday and won't play Friday), and Mike Napoli was on the DL earlier in the spring. Holt's needed here (and he's versatile), and I expect him to be a full-season story.
Speed Round: Mike Scioscia's bullpen of death continues to drive us crazy. On Thursday, it was Cam Bedrosian setting the fire (three baserunners, one out) before Ernesto Frieri blew things up (Nick Swisher, walk-off grand slam). I realize Joe Smith isn't a dominant reliever by any means, but I don't understand why he isn't given more closing respect. Frieri's allowed a whopping eight homers . . . The Padres might have something with Jesse Hahn, who's been terrific in his last two starts (1 R, 0 ER, 5 BB, 14 K) after a rough MLB debut. He's at San Francisco and home against Cincinnati for his next two turns . . . With Sean Dolittle needing a night off, the A's used Dan Otero as the push-button closer Thursday. There's nothing wrong with Luke Gregerson, but the team apparently prefers him working the eighth inning . . . Jason Grilli is another closer feeding the gopher - Todd Frazier got him Tuesday and Devin Mesoraco cranked him Thursday. Grilli also doesn't have a strikeout over his last six appearances. Stay warm, Mark Melancon . . . Glen Perkins needed 21 pitches to finish up (1 H, 1K) , but otherwise it was a smooth landing for the Twins. Looks like his back is fine . . . The Cardinals want to keep Michael Wacha on a reasonable pace, so he'll be skipped this weekend. Carlos Martinez picks up a start against Philadelphia.
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