After enduring a minor setback last month, Braves right-hander Brandon Beachy made his long-awaited return from Tommy John surgery Monday night against the Rockies. And it wasn't pretty.
A little over 13 months removed from his last start in the majors, Beachy was knocked around for a career-high seven runs on eight hits (including two home runs) and one walk over 3 2/3 innings. The good news is that he averaged just under 92 mph on his fastball -- which is right around where he was before surgery -- to go along with five strikeouts and 12 swings and misses.
It's tough to glean too much from one start, but it's not usual for pitchers to have command issues after Tommy John surgery. In other words, don't be surprised if Beachy needs a little more time to look like the pitcher who had a 3.07 ERA over his first 41 starts in the majors. I still think he'll be relevant in mixed fantasy leagues down the stretch, but with both Tim Hudson (ankle) and Paul Maholm (wrist) both on the disabled list, one wonders if the Braves will make a late push for a starting pitcher before Wednesday's non-waiver trade deadline.
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Simmons Heating Up
It wasn't all bad for the Braves on Monday night, as shortstop Andrelton Simmons delivered a walkoff triple in the 10th inning to secure a 9-8 win.
Simmons went 3-for-5 with two RBI in the victory and now hitting .277 with five home runs, two triples, three doubles, 17 RBI, and 13 runs scored in 23 games this month. That includes 10 multi-hit games. The 23-year-old shortstop hasn't hit higher than .255 in any previous month this season.
Simmons is still batting just .249 with a .287 on-base percentage on the year and he's just 5-for-9 in stolen base attempts, but his 11 homers have been a nice surprise. While he has a knack for making contact at a high clip, last month he was hitting way too many grounders and infield pop-ups, rendering him an easy out. This month he got back to hitting line drives and the results speak for themselves.
Simmons doesn't have much patience, so he's best utilized near the bottom of the Braves' lineup, but he's not a bad option in standard mixed leagues if you are bracing for a possible suspension for Jhonny Peralta or Everth Cabrera. He's still available in 56 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
Veras Heads to Motown
The first-place Tigers bolstered their bullpen on Monday by picking up right-hander Jose Veras from the Astros in exchange for prospect outfielder Danry Vasquez and a player to be named later.
Veras was given a chance at the closer role this spring despite a 4.01 career ERA, but he surprisingly thrived in the role, posting a 2.93 ERA and 44/14 K/BB ratio over 43 innings while going 19-for-23 in save opportunities. Not a bad return for a $2 million investment. The Tigers plan to keep Joaquin Benoit as their closer even after the move, so Veras loses most of his fantasy appeal with the change of address.
As for the Astros, Jose Cisnero appears to be the best alternative for saves moving forward. Walks have been an issue for him this season and he has struggled a bit recently, but the 24-year-old right-hander has a 3.48 ERA and 40 strikeouts over 41 1/3 innings. There aren't many great options in the Astros' bullpen at the moment, so he's worth a speculative add in most fantasy formats. Just don't expect a smooth ride.
NL Quick Hits: Carlos Gonzalez (finger) went 5-for-5 with two RBI, a run scored, and two stolen bases in his return to action Monday … Jean Segura (forearm) went 0-for-3 with a walk and a run scored Monday in his return to the lineup … Shin-Soo Choo sat out Monday's game with a sprained ankle … Pedro Alvarez hit his NL-leading 27th home run in Monday's win over the Cardinals … CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reports that the asking price on Cubs' right-hander Jeff Samardzija is significant … Aroldis Chapman blew his fourth save of the season Monday by giving up a walkoff two-run homer to the Padres' Chris Denorfia ... Francisco Liriano tossed seven innings of one-run ball and struck out eight batters in a win over the Cardinals on Monday … CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reports that the Phillies have told teams that Chase Utley is not available … Mike Leake fired seven scoreless frames Monday in a no-decision against the Padres … Daniel Murphy knocked in three runs Monday in a win over the Marlins … B.J. Upton (groin) and Jordan Schafer (foot) are expected to begin minor league rehab assignments this week … The Braves acquired left-handed reliever Scott Downs from the Angels on Monday for right-hander Cory Rasmus … Jon Niese (shoulder) is expected to rejoin the Mets following two more minor league rehab starts … Carlos Quentin was scratched from Monday's lineup after tweaking his left knee … Pedro Strop gave up five runs in the ninth inning Monday in a loss to the Brewers … Cameron Maybin (knee, wrist) will begin a minor league rehab assignment Tuesday with Triple-A Tucson … The Cubs will call up Jake Arrieta to start in Tuesday's doubleheader against the Brewers … Jonathan Broxton (elbow) will begin a minor league rehab assignment Tuesday … The Mets aren't expected to bring back Ruben Tejada and Jordany Valdespin until September …
AL Quick Hits: Alex Rodriguez's lawyer, David Cornwell, said on ESPN on Monday that they are preparing to appeal a suspension from MLB … David Price allowed one run over 7 1/3 innings Monday in a win over the Red Sox … The Rays acquired right-handed reliever Jesse Crain from the White Sox for players to be named later or cash considerations … Edwin Encarnacion connected for his 29th homer in Monday's loss to the Athletics … David Ortiz will not face a suspension for destroying a dugout phone with a bat on Saturday … ESPN's Buster Olney reports that the White Sox are telling teams they're planning to keep Jake Peavy and "build around" him … Yoenis Cespedes hit his first home run since June 21 in Monday's win over the Blue Jays … Alex Cobb (concussion, blister) is scheduled to throw a simulated game Tuesday and could resume a minor league rehab assignment on Saturday … The Mariners activated Michael Morse from the 15-day disabled list and designated Jason Bay for assignment … John Jaso (concussion) has yet to resume baseball activities … Geovany Soto launched a walkoff homer off Ernesto Frieri in Monday's win over the Angels … Peter Bourjos (wrist) has progressed to hitting off a tee … Jason Giambi became the oldest player ever to hit a walkoff homer in Monday's win over the White Sox … Red Sox prospect Xander Bogaerts made his fifth start of the season at third base with Triple-A Pawtucket … The Rangers still have no plans to call up Manny Ramirez …