June 29, 2011
The Pirates called up 25-year-old outfielder Alex Presley(notes) from Triple-A on Tuesday, needing a replacement for the injured Jose Tabata(notes). The move paid immediate dividends, as Presley went 2-for-5 with three RBIs from the lead-off spot, belting his first major league homer in the process. Here's the highlight. (Because it's not a proper Closing Time unless we link to a bomb that someone hit off Jo-Jo Reyes(notes)).
Presley was hitting .336/.389/.500 for Indianapolis at the time of his promotion, with eight homers and 18 stolen bases in 22 attempts. He ranked third in the International League in batting average, steals and total bases, and he's been a tough out for both left-handers and righties. (Splits here). Presley has a clear chance to be a fantasy asset; playing time won't be an issue in the short term, as Tabata is expected to be sidelined by his quad injury through the All-Star break.
If your roster is speed-challenged, give Presley a look. It sounds like the Bucs want the kid to run. This via MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch:
One of the areas where the Pirates wanted particular refining was in the running game. Presley has the speed to be a prolific base stealer, but until this year, he had never tapped into his potential.
"It was never a matter of speed," Presley said. "It was just a matter of getting leads and going. It was more of a mental thing for me to just go. Before, I could find a way to talk myself out of stealing. This year has been totally different. I knew it was one of the things I had to do to get back."
Presley hit .320/.373/.494 across two levels in 2010, so he isn't likely to be a batting average liability. There's modest power here, too, and obvious speed potential. Do whatever feels right, gamer, then join us for bullets...
• Oakland's Gio Gonzalez(notes) didn't allow a runner to travel past first base over eight dominant innings against the Fish. He struck out nine and allowed just one hit, then Andrew Bailey(notes) blew away the top of the Marlins' batting order in the final frame (no hits, no walks, three Ks). Florida is stuck on three wins for the month of June, which is appalling. That team basically can't get a victory unless I stream a starting pitcher against 'em.
• St. Louis had a six-run lead in the eighth against the O's on Tuesday, so the team tried to sneak Ryan Franklin(notes) into the game, and the usual results followed. Franklin allowed three hits, including a JJ Hardy(notes) homer, and he retired just one batter (not quietly). Fernando Salas(notes) was then called upon to clean up the mess, which he did beautifully. Salas got the final five outs in a non-save situation, striking out two batters and allowing no hits. Kyle Lohse(notes) got himself back on track, pitching five scoreless innings before rain interrupted his outing.
Cards third baseman David Freese(notes) went 2-for-4 in his return from the disabled list, raising his season average to .363. He hit fifth for St. Louis, just behind Holliday and Berkman, ahead of Rasmus. If Freese is still available in your league — and he's just 35 percent owned, so that's a strong possibility — please consider the pick-up.
• Zack Greinke's(notes) disastrous turn against the Yankees wasn't simply about bad luck, obviously. He allowed a homer, struck out no one, and issued three walks over two brutal innings. But Nyjer Morgan's(notes) ridiculous misplay in the first didn't exactly help Greinke's cause. (That's Morgan pictured on the left, flopping like sea lion). What should have been a routine lazy fly somehow became a triple. But then the rest was all on Zack. One decent note for the Brewers: Mat Gamel(notes) went 2-for-4 with an RBI in his first major league action of 2011. He's on the approved list for fantasy purposes over the next week, while Milwaukee needs a DH.
• Doug Davis(notes) started the first game of a double-header for the Cubs and Rodrigo Lopez(notes) the second, so you can probably fill in the blanks from there. Chicago gave up 30 hits and 19 runs, losing twice. Pretty much everyone had multiple hits for the Giants. Cody Ross(notes) went 4-for-9 with a pair of doubles, Panda was 3-for-10, Aubrey Huff(notes) went 2-for-8 and scored three times. If you need a bright spot for the Cubs, well...many beverages were sold on Tuesday. And Carlos Pena hit homer No. 17, his seventh in his last 11 games.
• Mets starter RA Dickey(notes) struck out six Tigers over seven innings, earning his fourth win of the season. He's now given us five useful starts in his last six appearances, with a few respectable K totals in the mix. Dickey's fantasy ratios haven't quite matched last year's ridiculous rates, but the K/9 is up and the underlying stats suggest he's been nearly as sharp as he was in 2010. He'll draw the Yankees in his next start; that's never what you want to see, even though Dickey beat the Bombers last month (6.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 6 Ks).
• Entering Tuesday's start, Josh Beckett(notes) had been something of a BABIP miracle this season (.217), and he'd done a fine job keeping the ball in the park (3.9 HR/FB percentage). But he allowed five hits over six innings against the Phils, giving up a pair of homers in a 5-0 loss. Domonic Brown(notes) awoke from a month-long slump with this shot in the second inning, then later added a double. There was no save opportunity for the Philly 'pen, because Cliff Lee(notes) was too good. But had closing services been necessary, the nod would have likely gone to Antonio Bastardo(notes). On Tuesday, the team placed Ryan Madson(notes) on the 15-day DL with a hand contusion.
• Kyle Farnsworth(notes) blew a save on Tuesday, when Jay Bruce(notes) took him deep to lead-off the ninth. But Farnsworth's useful fantasy season continued nonetheless, as he picked up a win when Evan Longoria(notes) walked off in the bottom of the inning. We should note that Kyle has allowed a run in five of his last eight appearances for the Rays, giving up multiple hits more often than not. You've already turned a big profit on him, though (16 saves), so you probably don't care about the recent hiccups.
• Ben Revere(notes), Minnesota's lightly owned lead-off man, swiped two bases in a 2-for-3 performance against the Dodgers on Tuesday. The 23-year-old outfielder has four multi-hit games in his last eight, and he's batting .273 for the year with eight steals. Revere has a history of 40-steal seasons in the minors, and he stole eight bases at Triple-A Rochester earlier this season.
• JJ Putz(notes) had another tough turn against the Tribe: BS, 0.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, BB, K. The big blow was this thing right here, a ball that Carlos Santana(notes) simply crushed deep into the stands in right field. Putz does not lack job security, but June has been a struggle (6.17 ERA). He's thrown 36 pitches over the past two days in a pair of rough outings, so don't be surprised if he gets a day of rest.
• Washington outfielder Laynce Nix(notes) went 4-for-4 on Tuesday, hitting homer No. 12 and bumping his average to .286. But he checked out in the seventh inning due to tightness in his Achilles, and reportedly won't play on Wednesday. That's an ongoing concern here.
• Kansas City second baseman Chris Getz(notes) gave us another two steals, and another two-hit game. He's swiped 14 bags on the season, and he's raised his average to .270 (where it probably won't stay, but you never know). Getz's speed is legit; he went 15-for-17 on the base paths in 2010, in limited duty.
• Sometimes, after a loss, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen is an absolute delight. This from Doug Padilla:
"The game finished the way it started — very bad," Guillen said. "It's nobody's fault. If they're going to blame anybody, they should blame everyone — counting myself. We still struggle with men on third base with less than two outs. We don't do the little things, and do you expect to win? Hell no. We played like [expletive], you go home like [expletive]."
Guillen said he was glad the game ended when it did and he didn't have to watch it any longer, saying he woke up at 6 a.m. to play golf and it wasn't worth staying up any longer.
Guillen pulled Alex Rios(notes) from the game in the seventh due to hustle fail, but the move didn't exactly light a fire. Juan Pierre(notes) managed to go 3-for-6 for the Sox, which of course doesn't help those of us waiting on the arrival of the still-scorching-hot Dayan Viciedo(notes). So that's [expletive], too.
Photos via Getty Images