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While this has been another lost season for the Mets, fans could at least hang their hats on Matt Harvey as the leader of the pitching staff and look forward to the team making the next step in 2014. Or that was the hope, anyway.
The Mets were dealt a stunning blow on Monday when it was revealed that Harvey has a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. The diagnosis was made after he experienced some tenderness in his forearm in recent starts. He'll undergo another MRI once the swelling goes down before deciding on the next step, but rehabbing this type of injury is rarely successful. Assuming Harvey needs Tommy John surgery, he likely won't throw another pitch in the majors until 2015. From a fantasy perspective, that makes it very difficult to justify burning a roster spot in a keeper league.
Harvey has quickly emerged as one of the best pitchers in the game, posting a dominant 2.39 ERA and 261/57 K/BB ratio over his first 237 2/3 innings in the majors. The 24-year-old right-hander started the All-Star Game for the National League in July and would likely be right in the running for the NL Cy Young Award if it wasn't for the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw. The Mets have been waiting on their young pitching to develop and some bad contracts to expire in order to make a push, but Harvey's injury is a significant setback to their plan. The silver lining is that many pitchers come back from Tommy John surgery and are still very effective, so this is not a death sentence for Harvey's career. Not even close. But it could be a while before we see him on the mound again. And that's a bummer, no matter your rooting interest.
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The Captain Returns
The Yankees are playing with a very small margin for error in order to keep their playoff hopes alive, but they have their captain back to help for the stretch run. After missing a little over three weeks with a right calf strain, Derek Jeter was activated from the disabled list Monday and went 0-for-3 with a walk in a loss to the Blue Jays.
It was a pretty uneventful day for the most part, but Yankees fans will probably take that given his luck on the health front over the past year. Jeter grounded out in his first two at-bats, the latter of which resulted in a double play. The 39-year-old worked a walk in his third at-bat before striking out swinging in his final at-bat of the evening. He also handled three chances in the field.
Jeter has been limited to just six games this season due to ankle and calf injuries, but he's worth using in most fantasy leagues as long as he can stay on the field. Of course, just how long he'll be able to do that is anybody's guess, so my expectations are pretty modest.
Walker Coming Soon?
We might see one of the top pitching prospects in the game very soon. The Mariners designated right-hander Aaron Harang for assignment on Monday and while they haven't announced a replacement for his rotation spot, manager Eric Wedge acknowledged that Taijuan Walker is among the possibilities to start Friday against the Astros.
Walker, who was ranked as the No. 18 prospect by Baseball America over the winter, has a 2.93 ERA and 160/57 K/BB ratio in 141 1/3 innings over 25 starts this season between Double-A Jackson and Triple-A Tacoma. The 21-year-old has allowed just one run over his last two starts while striking out 17 batters in 11 innings. He would be on regular rest for the assignment on Friday, so the stars appear to be aligned, but he has already surpassed his career-high in innings and the Mariners don't have to add him to the 40-man roster this winter. Greg Johns and Jacob Thorpe of MLB.com note that Walker is expected to be shut down at around 160 innings anyway, so the team will have to decide whether three starts on the major league level will be worth it. Still, it would be fun to see a sneak preview for 2014.
NL Quick Hits: Carlos Gonzalez (finger) took 30 swings in the cage Monday and hopes to hit on the field Tuesday … Matt Kemp (ankle) will run the bases on Tuesday … Troy Tulowitzki (side) was out of the lineup for the second straight day Wednesday ... Cliff Lee spun eight innings of one-run ball in a victory over the Mets on Monday … Zack Greinke yielded two runs over 8 2/3 innings Monday against the Cubs and improved to 5-0 with a 1.23 ERA in August ... Jay Bruce went 2-for-4 with his 24th homer Monday against the Cardinals … Allen Craig launched a go-ahead grand slam in Monday's win over the Reds … Dexter Fowler left Monday's game with a left lateral knee bruise and is considered day-to-day … Yasiel Puig went 3-for-5 with a home run in Monday's win over the Cubs ... Bobby Parnell has experienced improvement in his neck, but it hasn't been decided whether he will undergo surgery to repair a herniated disk … Rafael Betancourt has a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow and will undergo PRP therapy before exploring the possibility of Tommy John surgery … The Diamondbacks activated Miguel Montero and Eric Chavez from the disabled list Monday … Brandon McCarthy allowed only an unearned run over seven innings in Monday's win over the Padres … The Padres called up outfielder Reymond Fuentes on Monday after he batted .330/.413/.448 with six home runs and 35 stolen bases between Double- and Triple-A this season … Juan Nicasio tossed six scoreless innings and struck out nine batters in Monday's win over the Giants … Jeremy Hefner will undergo Tommy John surgery on his right elbow … Jaime Garcia (shoulder) began a throwing program Monday and is expected to be ready for spring training … The Diamondbacks will call up left-hander David Holmberg to make his major league debut Tuesday against the Padres …
AL Quick Hits: Miguel Cabrera connected for his 43rd home run Monday against the Athletics … Matt Moore (elbow) is expected to rejoin the Rays' starting rotation on September 3 … The Athletics are hopeful that Bartolo Colon (groin) will return from the disabled list to start Thursday against the Tigers … Alex Rodriguez launched a solo home run -- the 650th home run of his career -- in Monday's loss to the Blue Jays … R.A. Dickey gave up two runs (one earned) over 6 1/3 innings in a win over the Yankees on Monday … Billy Butler went 3-for-3 with a home run, three RBI, and two walks Monday against the Rays … Colby Rasmus' return from a strained left oblique will be delayed after he suffered a minor setback … Coco Crisp hit his fourth homer in five days in Monday's win over the Tigers … Adam Dunn reached the 30-homer mark for the ninth time in his career Monday against the Astros … A.J. Pierzynski launched a three-run homer in Monday's win over the Mariners … Josh Reddick was placed on the disabled list Monday with a sprained right wrist and hopes to avoid surgery … Chris Carter slammed a pair of home runs and knocked in four runs in Monday's win over the White Sox … FOX Sports' Jon Paul Morosi reported Monday that Kendrys Morales was claimed on waivers by an unidentified team … Lance Berkman (hip, knee) is expected to be activated on September 1 … Josh Johnson (forearm) won't throw for two weeks and will likely miss the rest of the season … Brett Anderson (foot) is expected to rejoin the Athletics in a relief role … Astros prospect right-hander Mark Appel has been shut down for the year …