Jose Abreu's assault on American League pitching will be put on hold for at least the next two weeks.
The White Sox will be without their prolific slugger for 15 days after placing him on the disabled list Sunday with left ankle tendinitis. The injury isn't new -- Abreu had been playing through it, with varied results, for 10 days to two weeks prior to hitting the DL -- but it finally got bad enough that the 27-year-old and the organization decided to shut him down for a few weeks.
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"It became clear to everyone who saw the game yesterday where it got to the point where he was basically playing on one leg," White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said of Abreu. "That obviously wasn't going to work to get him to maximize his ability, much less him being fully healthy. We made the decision to err on the side of caution here."
Abreu returned to Chicago on Sunday to undergo an MRI on the ankle, but Hahn's description of the situation as erring on the side of caution suggests the injury shouldn't persist much beyond the original 15 days. Abreu will be in a walking boot to immobilize the ankle and help expedite the recovery, another positive sign that he should be back sooner than later.
His loss, even if for just two weeks, is a huge one for the Sox. Through the first month and a half of the season, Abreu lit the world on fire, bashing 15 home runs and collecting 42 RBI en route to being the American League rookie and player of the month for April. He hits the shelf as the major league leader in home runs.
Bad news for Abreu is good news for Paul Konerko, who should see more at-bats while splitting time between first base and designated hitter. The first baseman is batting just .192 with a .549 OPS in 52 at-bats this year, though, so the Sox may also try to find more ways to fit Marcus Semien into the lineup, having Adam Dunn serve as the primary first baseman in Abreu's stead.
With Adam Eaton's return, Moises Sierra could also find a few more at-bats at DH while Abreu is out. If one of the bench bats gets hot, he could run with the playing time while Abreu is sidelined. For their part, the White Sox are hoping that's early June at the latest.
No Surgery For Gio
First, the good news. The good news is that Gio Gonzalez won't need Tommy John surgery. In fact, Gonzalez won't require surgery at all -- for now.
The bad news, then, is that Gonzalez still hit the disabled list over the weekend due to left shoulder inflammation. The Nationals placed Gio on the 15-day DL on Sunday after his start Saturday in which he allowed five runs on seven hits in three innings of work.
An MRI of the shoulder on Sunday showed no further damage aside from some inflammation, so the only prescription was rest. The left-hander will be shut down for four or five days before resuming throwing, with an eye on returning once his 15 days are up.
"He passed a strength test," Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said. "Combined having a little soreness (Saturday) with a little soreness a month ago, we thought this was a prudent way to do it."
Of more interest is who will take Gio's spot while he's away. The Nationals appear to have two solid options in Triple-A starters Blake Treinen and Taylor Jordan. Treinen, 26, has allowed four runs -- one earned -- in 11 2/3 innings with the Nats this season, including one start. At Triple-A Syracuse, the right-hander has a 1.96 ERA and 1.04 WHIP through six starts.
Jordan has more experience at the major league level but with mixed results. The 25-year-old had a 3.66 ERA in nine starts with the big club last season, but in April he posted a 5.61 ERA and 1.64 WHIP through five starts before being demoted. Now at Triple-A, Jordan has allowed one run in 11 innings and seems to have regained some of what he was missing earlier in the season.
Assuming Gonzalez misses just two starts, the fill-in option will face the Pirates in Pittsburgh and the Marlins at home, two relatively attractive starts for a spot starter.
V-Mart Still Open For Business
The Tigers have finally found some protection for Miguel Cabrera. It was under their nose the whole time.
That lineup protection, if we're to believe in such things, has come in the form of veteran designated hitter Victor Martinez. Ryan Boyer covered V-Mart on Wednesday and Martinez was at it again Sunday, belting his 10th home run of the season in Sunday's win over the Red Sox. The blast gives him 25 RBI and a .331/.378/.595 line on the year. And all but nine of his 148 at-bats have come as the cleanup hitter behind Cabrera.
The resurgence is that much sweeter for Martinez given what he's done the past few years. Always a talented hitter when healthy, Martinez missed the entire 2012 season due to a torn ACL in his left knee. Upon returning in 2013, he played in 159 games but slugged just .430, below his .468 career mark. His 14 home runs were his second-lowest total for a season in which he's had more than 377 at-bats.
After Sunday's two-run shot, Martinez is seventh in the AL in home runs and leads the league with his .331 batting average. With his power stroke intact and sitting in one of the best lineup spots in baseball, the 35-year-old appears to be in for a huge year.
National League Quick Hits: Speaking of resurgences, Justin Morneau hit a two-run, walk-off homer to beat the Padres on Sunday. The first baseman has nine homers, 32 RBI and a .327/.355/.585 line and has been a revelation this season ... The Padres placed Andrew Cashner on the 15-day disabled list with elbow soreness. Cashner said he thinks it's just inflammation and he expects to be ready when his 15 days are up ... Hyun-Jin Ryu (shoulder) will rejoin the Dodgers' rotation Wednesday against the Mets. Ryu most recently threw 75 pitches in an extended spring training game over the weekend, so he shouldn't have many pitch count limitations upon returning ... Jaime Garcia (shoulder) made his first start of the season on Sunday, giving up four runs over seven innings. Garcia gave up just five hits while not walking a batter in the start ... Chris Owings has moved up to the No. 2 spot in the Diamondbacks' lineup in recent days and has responded by going 6-for-9 with a home run, five runs scored, three RBI and two stolen bases in the past two games. Needing all the help he can get, don't expect manager Kirk Gibson to move the 22-year-old any time soon ... In his second game since coming off the DL, Devin Mesoraco went 4-for-4 with an RBI in Sunday's loss to the Phillies. When healthy, he's been a star -- Mesoraco is hitting .500/.541/.870 with 17 RBI in 61 plate appearances this season ... the Reds activated Tony Cingrani from the disabled list. He responded by allowing three home runs and four runs total over six innings in Sunday's loss to the Phillies ... Wilin Rosario also returned from the DL on Sunday, going 1-for-4. He missed the minimum with a virus.
American League Quick Hits: Corey Hart left Sunday's game with a strained left hamstring. Hart is flying back to Seattle for an MRI, meaning he'll likely miss at least the next few games and will possibly need a stint on the DL ... Jed Lowrie exited Sunday's game with a strained neck. The A's are calling Lowrie day-to-day, a designation that gives hope that he won't miss more than a few games ... Matt Wieters (elbow) won't return when first eligible on May 26. It's not a surprise, as season-ending surgery is still a possibility ... Alex Gordon enjoyed a nice little Sunday, going 4-for-4 with a pair of three-run homers against the Orioles. Gordon tripled his home run total for the season with the outburst ... Will Middlebrooks' bad luck continues. After missing a few weeks in April with a strained calf, the third baseman was placed on the DL with a fractured finger on Saturday. There's no timetable for a return ... The Astros signed Kyle Farnsworth and, in a telling statement, he immediately becomes one of their best late-inning options ... Anibal Sanchez returned from the disabled list to limit the Red Sox to two runs, one earned, in five innings Sunday. The outing was good for his first win of the season.
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