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Within the span of a few hours on Thursday night, two prominent outfielders came up holding their right hamstrings. They left their owners holding their breath as well.
Both injuries happened on relatively nondescript plays. Going first-to-third on an infield ground ball, Jason Heyward slid awkwardly into third base and stayed on the ground, grabbing his right leg in pain. The 23-year-old left the game immediately but walked off without assistance.
A short while later, Matt Holliday was running out a routine ground ball when he pulled up short of first base. It wasn't a particularly close play and Holliday wasn't running at full speed, making the injury even stranger. Like Heyward, Holliday was able to walk off under his own power.
The diagnoses for both players are similar. Heyward said after the game that he thinks he can avoid a trip to the disabled list, saying the hamstring was mainly sore and not necessarily pulled.
Holliday echoed those sentiments after the Cardinals game.
"It just kind of grabbed me a little bit," Holliday told reporters. "We'll see how it feels tomorrow."
While both players will likely remain active for their teams, with the upcoming All-Star break there's a good chance both are used sparingly by their respective teams this weekend. It wouldn't be surprising if both sat out the remaining three games before the break, possibly being used only in late-game pinch-hit situations. Owners should keep an eye on the players' statuses, but it would probably be a good idea to bench both until after the break.
While a couple outfielders look to be sidelined, two big-name shortstops who had missed significant time returned to the field on Thursday.
Derek Jeter made his 2013 Yankees debut Thursday afternoon at Yankee Stadium after missing much of the first half with a broken ankle, going 1-for-4 with an infield single, a run scored and an RBI. Troy Tulowitzki, who hadn't played since June 13 with a broken rib, had a rougher go of it, going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts and committing a throwing error in the field.
A twist came after Jeter was pulled for a pinch-hitter -- he was the team's DH, so it wasn't for defensive purposes -- in the eighth inning of the game. Jeter said he felt his right quadriceps tighten up while going first-to-third in the first inning but played through it before being removed. The 39-year-old will undergo an MRI on Friday morning to ensure there's nothing more than meets the eye with the injury.
Jeter brushed it off after the game, but Yankees manager Joe Girardi, who has seen more than one of his star players go down with significant injuries this year, expressed a tad more concern.
"It's kind of what we've went through this year," Girardi told USA Today. "Hopefully it's nothing."
Assuming it's just that, both players should be activated and inserted into fantasy lineups immediately. It may take a day or two to knock the rust off, but both should be back in the swing of things in no time.
A team thought to have an excess of pitching in March is suddenly bereft of healthy arms of late.
The Diamondbacks entered the season with a rotation of Ian Kennedy, Trevor Cahill, Brandon McCarthy, Patrick Corbin and Wade Miley, with Daniel Hudson expected back by midseason and talented young arms Tyler Skaggs and Randall Delgado on the outside looking in.
Fast forward to present day, where McCarthy is still sidelined with a shoulder injury, Hudson has had a second Tommy John surgery and Cahill, it came out Thursday, may not rejoin the rotation until August at the earliest.
Cahill tweaked his shoulder while playing catch last week, and the setback has put his timetable for a return up in the air. The right-hander has since resumed playing catch but currently has no schedule for a rehab assignment.
Cahill's setback coupled with McCarthy's rehab -- McCarthy is throwing live batting practice but still hasn't been cleared for a rehab assignment -- has left the Diamondbacks looking for viable fill-in options to get them through the next few weeks.
Enter the young guns. Delgado has been part of the rotation since June 18, compiling a 3.82 ERA and 28/4 K/BB ratio in 33 total innings with the club. Skaggs, meanwhile, has been used on a spot-start basis, going 2-1 with a 4.03 ERA in 29 innings. Skaggs was returned to the minors after Wednesday's start, but he should be back up to fill the fifth starter role after the break.
There's no telling how long either will remain in the rotation going forward -- rumors are already spreading that the Diamondbacks are in the market for some help on the trade market -- but both have the talent and (current) opportunity to be useful fantasy contributors in mixed leagues. Given the choice between the two, Delgado has earned a slight edge with his performance this season. But neither is a bad option.
National League Quick Hits: Matt Kemp (shoulder) won't swing a bat for 5-to-7 days. It's hard to see him coming off the disabled list on July 21 when first eligible now ... Ryan Braun was placed on the bereavement list. He'll likely miss the rest of the first half ... Yasiel Puig left Thursday's game against the Rockies after seven innings with an aggravated left hip ... Along with Tulowitzki, Dexter Fowler was activated by the Rockies on Thursday. He batted leadoff and went 0-for-4 in his return ... Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers said the team doesn't have a designated closer. Brad Ziegler was called on to save the 5-3 win on Thursday ... Evan Gattis (oblique) will start a rehab assignment with Triple-A Gwinnett on Friday ... Yonder Alonso (hand) is expected to be activated from the DL on Friday. He hasn't played since May 31 ... Clayton Richard needs season-ending surgery to shave down part of his left clavicle. He should be ready to go by spring training of next year ... Jordan Zimmermann has been dealing with a sore neck for a few weeks. The right-hander may ask not to pitch in the All-Star game to give the neck a few extra days of rest ...Giants manager Bruce Bochy reaffirmed on Thursday that Matt Cain is healthy. Some outside the club were questioning his health after his second straight poor outing Wednesday ... Marco Estrada (hamstring) had his live batting practice session on Saturday cancelled. Estrada isn't too concerned with the setback, but he'll likely be out a few more weeks as a result ... Freddie Freeman celebrated his All-Star fan selection by going 3-for-4 with four RBI. No word on whether any postgame celebrations took place.
American League Quick Hits: Melky Cabrera (knee) will begin a rehab assignment Friday with Triple-A Buffalo. He should be activated immediately after the break ... Chris Davis hit his 34th home run of the season. He's already surpassed his career-highs for homers and RBI -- and we're not to the All-Star break yet ... Rick Porcello's suspension was dropped from six games to five. With some maneuvering after the break, the suspension won't cause him to miss a start ... Josh Lindblom was optioned to Triple-A Round Rock after another poor start Wednesday. He had a 5.46 ERA before the demotion ... Chris Dickerson received a cortisone shot in his left shoulder. He said he got the shot in hopes of playing before the break, but the Orioles may still play it safe with him this weekend ... Jeff Baker (thumb) took batting practice on Thursday. He could start a rehab assignment as early as Monday ... Craig Gentry (hand) will begin a rehab assignment on Sunday with Double-A Frisco ... Steve Delabar won the final roster spot for the American League in the All-Star Game ... Erasmo Ramirez got blown up in his first start of 2013, giving up seven runs over 4 1/3 innings against the Red Sox. The 23-year-old should be better going forward.