Andrew Cashner has been on the disabled list this season about as much as he’s been off it, but the big right-hander is poised to rejoin the Padres’ rotation again soon.
Cashner made his second and final rehab start for Triple-A El Paso on Monday, allowing three runs over five innings. Though it hasn’t been determined what day specifically he’ll return, it will be this weekend in Arizona.
"My breaking ball was better, my sinker was very good, I threw some good changeups," Cashner told MLB.com about how his last rehab outing went. "Overall ... my pitch execution was very good."
While Cashner felt confident in how his stuff was Monday, the results weren’t great and his pitch count only got up to 63. Thus, he probably won’t be able to pitch too deep into his first start off the DL this weekend, making him a sketchy fantasy play right off the bat after he missed two months with a shoulder issue.
Cashner has a history of shoulder issues, having missed nearly all of 2011 with a rotator cuff problem and a big chunk of 2012 with a strained lat. However, there’s no doubting he’s pitched very well when healthy. Since becoming a full-time starter with the Padres a few weeks into last season, Cashner has put up a 2.83 ERA and 1.14 WHIP over 38 starts. The 6.6 K/9 rate over that time leaves something to be desired, but his stuff suggests that number will eventually rise. So while it might not be wise to activate him immediately, Cashner could ultimately provide a nice boost down the stretch.
While the Padres will be adding one dynamic arm to their rotation, they’ll be losing another. At least for now.
Jesse Hahn was optioned to Double-A San Antonio on Tuesday as the Padres try to keep his innings down. Hahn is only up to 110 1/3 frames between Double-A and the majors, but that’s a lot more than his previous career high of 69. The 25-year-old has had injuries in the past and the club just wants to be careful.
"I know this organization cares about me and cares about my arm," Hahn told MLB.com.
San Diego has said Hahn will rejoin the Padres when rosters expand next month, but they’re not ready to say whether it will be as a starter or reliever. The young righty boasts a 2.96 ERA and 65/29 K/BB ratio over 70 innings for the big club this season.
When an MRI on Yu Darvish’s right elbow last week showed only “mild” inflammation, Rangers manager Ron Washington said he expected to have the righty back in the rotation on August 25, the first day he’s eligible. However, the skipper is now pumping the brakes on that declaration.
“I’m not really thinking about the 25th,” Washington told the Dallas Morning News on Tuesday. “I just don’t know what’s going to be. I don’t know what’s going to happen there.”
The good news is that it does not appear Darvish has suffered a setback. Rather, Washington and the club’s brass probably came to the conclusion that it wasn’t worth the risk of bringing their ace back after a minimum DL stay when the injury involved his pitching elbow. The Rangers will continue to roll with a rotation of Colby Lewis, Nick Tepesch, Nick Martinez and Miles Mikolas, with the fifth spot up in the air. Not coincidentally, if the season ended today they’d have the first pick in next year’s draft.
Like Darvish, Ubaldo Jimenez won’t be making a start for a while. Jimenez’s absence, however, is not injury related.
The Orioles have decided to demote their struggling right-hander to the bullpen following an outing over the weekend that saw him allow six runs while lasting just 4 1/3 innings. Of course, Jimenez was in hot water long before that, having posted a 4.83 ERA over 20 outings while issuing an American League-leading 66 walks.
"You got your reasons, he doesn't have to agree with them," manager Buck Showater told MLB.com. "He's been a great teammate, a professional. Has got a good heart. He wants to do well. It's not like he's pitched poorly all year, it's just with 39 games left, [we want to] see how Gonzo does."
“Gonzo” is Miguel Gonzalez, who will rejoin the O’s rotation on Sunday against the Cubs. Gonzalez is more deserving of a rotation spot than Jimenez at this point with a 3.79 ERA over 19 starts, but he’s not a safe bet, either, with a 1.41 WHIP and a whopping 20 homers allowed over 113 2/3 frames.
Jimenez is just 20 starts into a four-year, $50 million contract that he signed last season. To put it kindly, the investment has not paid off thus far.
Mike Fiers did it again Tuesday. In a victory over the Blue Jays, the right-hander surrendered just one run on two hits and one walk over seven frames. He struck out six and exited after retiring the last 17 batters he faced.
In three starts since taking Matt Garza’s (oblique) spot in the rotation, Fiers holds a 0.86 ERA, 0.52 WHIP and 25/3 K/BB ratio over 21 innings. It’s essentially a continuation of what he’s done in 2014 in the minors, where he holds a 2.55 ERA, 0.95 WHIP and 129/17 K/BB ratio across 102 1/3 Triple-A frames.
The Brewers will have an interesting (but welcomed) dilemma on their hands should Fiers continue to pitch well (and he gets the Padres at Petco in his next turn). Kyle Lohse (ankle) is due back next Tuesday, and Garza isn’t far behind. Fiers and Jimmy Nelson would have to be the only realistic candidates to be bumped from the rotation when Garza is ready, but Nelson has put up five straight quality starts. It’s possible the Brew Crew will consider going with six starters, but more likely the situation will wind up working itself out.
National League Quick Hits: Zack Greinke’s next start is up in the air due to a sore pitching elbow ... Yadier Molina (thumb) expects to begin swinging a bat on Wednesday or Thursday ... Jhonny Peralta continued his hot hitting with a solo homer in Tuesday’s win over the Reds ... Dodgers manager Don Mattingly indicated Tuesday that Josh Beckett (hip) might not return this season ... Justin Upton had a three-run homer and a two-run single Tuesday against the Pirates ... Pirates manager Clint Hurdle indicated Tuesday that Pedro Alvarez is unlikely to play third base again this season unless he's needed in an emergency ... Carlos Gonzalez might not be ready for the start of spring training after undergoing surgery Tuesday on his left patella tendon ... Jim Henderson underwent arthroscopic shoulder surgery Tuesday ... Michael Cuddyer didn’t play Tuesday against the Royals because of hamstring soreness ... Aroldis Chapman was unavailable for a second straight day Tuesday due to a sore shoulder ...
American League Quick Hits: Hisashi Iwakuma dominated the Phillies on Tuesday, striking out 11 in eight scoreless innings ... Chris Tillman struck out nine White Sox hitters, allowing just one run over eight innings Tuesday ... Alex Rios was scratched from Tuesday's lineup due to a bruised right thumb ... Justin Verlander (shoulder) threw off flat ground from 50 feet on Tuesday afternoon ... Wil Myers (wrist) wasn’t activated Tuesday as hoped but is expected back later this week ... Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Tuesday that David Phelps (elbow) could return in a bullpen role ... The Indians signed Scott Atchison to a one-year contract extension with a club option for 2016 ... Eric Hosmer (hand) is likely another couple of weeks away from swinging a bat ... Derek Norris will not play Wednesday due to a minor back issue ... Twins pitching prospect Kohl Stewart left his outing with Low-A Cedar Rapids on Tuesday with more shoulder soreness ...