Everyone knew Yankees general manager Brian Cashman was just trying to limit expectations when in February he said he viewed Masahiro Tanaka as “a really solid, consistent No. 3 starter.” After all, even the Bronx Bombers can’t afford to hand out $155 million contracts to mid-rotation starters.
But as great as the Yankees probably thought Tanaka could be, they surely weren’t expecting this.
Tanaka was brilliant again Tuesday, striking out 10 batters while limiting the Blue Jays to just one run on five hits and two walks over six innings. The Japanese right-hander served up a home run to Jose Reyes on the first pitch of the game but then held the Jays off the scoreboard the rest of the way. The scary thing is that Tanaka felt his stuff “wasn’t there” and that he “battled” through the six frames.
The 25-year-old lowered his ERA to an American League-best 1.99 with Tuesday’s effort, and he also leads the Junior Circuit with a 0.95 WHIP and 11 victories. He has a ridiculous 113/16 K/BB ratio over 99 2/3 innings.
It’s possible Tanaka will go through an adjustment period when teams get another look at him. The Cubs got the better of Tanaka in their second meeting on May 20, handing the righty his only loss over the last two seasons. It didn’t happen Tuesday, however, when the Blue Jays faced him a second time. Tanaka has been a top-10 fantasy player overall this season and the most valuable fantasy hurler.
Red Sox Cut Sizemore Loose
Grady Sizemore had everyone rooting for him as he attempted a comeback after missing the last two seasons due to injury. Unfortunately, the stats just weren’t as good as the story.
The Red Sox designated Sizemore for assignment Tuesday after the outfielder batted just .216/.288/.324 over 205 plate appearances. The timing wasn’t coincidental, as he had been in line for a $250,000 bonus with 20 more plate appearances and another $250,000 bonus if he had been on the roster for 12 more days.
More than it being a money saver, though, was the fact that Sizemore just didn’t have a role anymore. Shane Victorino (hamstring) is due back from the disabled list soon, Daniel Nava has shown signs of life lately and Brock Holt just keeps hitting.
Holt’s emergence, in particular, likely spelled the end for Sizemore. The 26-year-old made his first career start in center field Tuesday and went 2-for-4 with a stolen base while scoring the Red Sox’ only two runs in a victory over the Twins. Holt has settled into the leadoff spot for Boston and is batting a blistering .338/.378/.464 over 37 games. He’ll cool off eventually but has certainly earned a role even after Victorino returns.
Arroyo Has Sprained UCL
Bronson Arroyo landed on the disabled list Monday for the first time during his 15-year career. As it turns out, his first DL stay could be a lengthy one.
Arroyo has been diagnosed with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament, and although he’s going to attempt to rest and rehab the injury, it’s an ailment that more often than not leads to Tommy John surgery.
"We're going to try to get all the swelling out, let it calm down completely and not irritate it for 10 days," Arroyo told MLB.com. "Then probably give it another 10 to 15 to 20 days to try to fire it back up and see if it acts differently. And if it acts the same, then we're going to have to try something different."
Arroyo expects to know by the All-Star break whether he’ll return this season or go under the knife. The Diamondbacks have summoned Mike Bolsinger to replace the veteran righty in the rotation. Like Josh Collmenter and Chase Anderson before him, Bolsinger was not supposed to be a big part of Arizona’s rotation this season.
There has been one positive development on the injury front for D’Backs pitchers, as Archie Bradley struck out three while allowing one run over three innings in a rookie league exhibition game Monday. Bradley, who has been out since late April with a mild flexor strain in his pitching elbow, was reportedly clocked at 93 mph in the outing. The top prospect will make one more appearance in rookie ball before returning to a full-season club. Bradley could eventually fill the void left by Arroyo, but he probably won’t be a realistic option until at least around the All-Star break.
National League Quick Hits: Bryce Harper (thumb) took batting practice Tuesday for the first time since landing on the disabled list ... Hanley Ramirez left Tuesday’s game after being hit on the hand by a liner, but X-rays came back clean and he’s listed as day-to-day ... Jonathan Lucroy went 3-for-5 with a pair of homers and five RBI in Tuesday's 7-5 win over the D’Backs ... Cliff Lee (elbow) threw a 20-pitch bullpen session Tuesday ... Adam Wainwright (elbow) will throw a bullpen session Wednesday ... Todd Frazier went 2-for-5 with a tiebreaking solo home run in Tuesday's win over the Pirates ... Michael Wacha tossed six innings of one-run ball Tuesday in the Cardinals' win over the Mets ... Cody Asche (hamstring) is in line to be activated from the disabled list on Thursday ... Justin Upton left Tuesday's game against the Phillies because he was dizzy and felt light-headed ... Carl Crawford has returned to Los Angeles to undergo an MRI on his nagging left ankle injury ... Neil Walker (appendectomy) is expected to be activated from the disabled list when first eligible on June 24 ... An MRI on Angel Pagan's back showed inflammation but no structural damage ... Carlos Gomez (hamstring) is expected back in the lineup Wednesday ...
American League Quick Hits: Michael Brantley was scratched from Tuesday's lineup after experiencing concussion symptoms during his pregame routine ... Drew Pomeranz has landed on the DL with a fractured right hand ... Chris Davis hit a grand slam in Tuesday’s victory over the Rays ... Jose Altuve went 4-for-5 with a pair of doubles in his return to the lineup Tuesday ... CC Sabathia (knee) threw a 25-pitch bullpen session Monday ... Derek Holland (knee) will throw live batting practice on Wednesday and again Monday before the Rangers decide whether he's ready to begin a rehab assignment ... Mitch Moreland is expected to undergo reconstructive surgery on his left ankle ... Mike Trout went 3-for-5 with a double, two home runs, and four RBI as the Angels defeated the Indians on Tuesday ... Colby Rasmus (hamstring) will be activated from the disabled list on Wednesday ... Felix Doubront (shoulder) could be used as a reliever when he returns from the disabled list ... Torii Hunter (hamstring) doesn't expect to return to action before this weekend ... Michael Pineda (shoulder, back) will resume a throwing program Saturday ... Brandon Morrow (finger) will begin a throwing program on Friday ... Tyler Skaggs (hamstring) will not return this weekend as hoped ... Brad Mills will join the A’s rotation after being acquired from the Brewers Tuesday ... The Rangers signed Carlos Pena to a minor league deal ...