The Pirates have already had to place Gerrit Cole (shoulder) and Neil Walker (appendectomy) on the disabled list over the last couple days, and it appears another key member of their club will likely be joining them on the DL.
Francisco Liriano had to leave Tuesday’s start against the Cubs in the fourth inning with what has been diagnosed as a left oblique strain. He’ll undergo an MRI Wednesday to determine the extent of the damage, but the reality is that it’s rare when a player avoids the DL with this type of injury. Manager Clint Hurdle conceded that, at the very least, the hurler will miss his next start.
"I think it would be a medical record if a guy can come back in four days and pitch (following an oblique strain)," the skipper told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Liriano’s injury adds another chapter to what has been a disappointing sequel to his terrific 2013 campaign. After allowing a pair of runs over three frames Tuesday, Liriano’s ERA now sits at 4.60 and his WHIP is at 1.45. The left-hander is still getting strikeouts (77 over 72 1/3 innings), but his control has fallen back (4.5 BB/9) following last year’s improvement (3.5 BB/9).
When looking for a potential replacement for Liriano, the Pirates might come up with former Phillie and Twin Vance Worley. Worley is coming off a disastrous 2013 season but appears to have figured things out at Triple-A Indianapolis this year. While the 26-year-old has put up a 4.30 ERA, it’s come along with a 1.11 WHIP and an outstanding 43/4 K/BB ratio across 46 frames.
Cuddyer Out 6-8 Weeks with Fractured Shoulder
Last season, Michael Cuddyer led the National League with a .331 batting average. This year, it appears he’s not going to accumulate enough at-bats to qualify for the title.
Cuddyer on Tuesday was diagnosed with a non-displaced fracture in his left shoulder socket. While he will not require surgery, he’s expected to be in a sling for the next 6-8 weeks. It’s a timetable that isn’t set in stone because it’s such a rare injury for a baseball player.
"I've been in baseball for 27 years professionally," Rockies head athletic trainer Keith Dugger told MLB.ocm. "I've seen two [of these injuries] -- one from a motorcycle crash, and one from a freak diving accident [Cuddyer's]. I've talked to a few of my counterparts, and they've never seen one in baseball. Now, if you're in X Games or possibly football, you see these types of things."
Once he’s out of the sling, Cuddyer will need physical therapy and strengthening exercises before he'll be able to go out on a rehab assignment. That means he doesn’t project to return until late August. Cuddyer, who has made two trips to the DL this season, is batting .317/.366/.500 with five homers and 16 RBI over 31 contests for the Rockies.
The Rockies also got some news Tuesday on fellow outfielder Carlos Gonzalez. CarGo had a small mass removed from his left index finger Tuesday. Although the belief is that it’s probably a benign tumor, more won’t be known until a biopsy is performed. If the biopsy confirms the suspicion, Gonzalez could resume swinging a bat in a couple weeks.
"Typically, it's a couple of weeks for the tissue to heal, and then he can get back his strength and start swinging,” Dugger said.
Walker, Wood Optioned to Triple-A
A couple of young hurlers expected to be big parts of their respective teams’ rotations were optioned to Triple-A Tuesday. One of them isn’t quite ready after coming back from injury, while the other is going to the farm to get stretched out.
Taijuan Walker has had numerous starts and stops along the way in his recovery from right shoulder inflammation. He hasn’t had any physical issues since re-starting his rehab assignment late last month, but he’s also gone only a total of 10 innings and allowed seven runs over those frames.
Walker’s last rehab start on Monday – when he gave up two runs over five innings – was his best showing yet, but it’s no surprise that the M’s want him to get stretched out more and fine-tune things before being added to the big league rotation. He’ll have to remain at Triple-A Tacoma for at least 10 days unless he’s replacing an injured player.
Alex Wood began the season in the Braves’ rotation and pitched quite well, posting a 3.00 ERA and 44/9 K/BB ratio over 45 innings. However, he was moved to the bullpen when Gavin Floyd returned from the disabled list and hasn’t made the quick return to the rotation as previously expected. The left-hander will get stretched back out at Triple-A Gwinnett while he waits for another opportunity to start in the majors.
"There comes a point in time when you've got to do what's best for the individual, the organization and your team," manager Fredi Gonzalez told MLB.com. "We need him to go down and stretch out. There's no timetable. But he's a big piece of our organization and our future."
National League Quick Hits: Wilson Ramos will be re-evaluated Wednesday after leaving Tuesday’s contest with a strained right hamstring ... Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said Tuesday that Cliff Lee (elbow) is close to resuming a throwing program ... Justin Upton is considered day-to-day after exiting Tuesday's game versus the Rockies with a strained left hamstring ... Mat Latos (elbow, knee, calf) has officially been cleared to join the Reds' starting rotation Saturday after getting through a rehab outing Monday with no issues ... Christian Yelich had his third straight multi-hit game Tuesday, going 4-for-6 with four RBI in a win over the Rangers ... Josh Beckett tossed six scoreless innings Tuesday against Reds, lowering his ERA to 2.35 ... Anthony Rizzo went 3-for-4 with two doubles and a two-run home run in Tuesday's win over the Pirates ... Jarrod Saltalamacchia (concussion) has been cleared to resume baseball activities ... Rafael Furcal (groin, hamstring) could make his Marlins' debut as soon as this weekend ... Eddie Butler (shoulder) will be shut down from throwing for at least five days but has no structural damage ... Tyler Thornburg does not need Tommy John surgery ... Tyler Matzek will be called up to make his major league debut Wednesday against the Braves ...
American League Quick Hits: Manny Machado has been suspended five games by Major League Baseball for his actions over the weekend against the Athletics ... Mike Pelfrey will be sidelined for the next 2-4 months after having surgery Tuesday to relieve pressure on his ulnar nerve ... Chris Davis went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts Tuesday and is now batting just .230/.344/.421 this season ... George Springer (knee) missed a second straight game Tuesday but is hoping to be back in the lineup Wednesday ... Brandon Workman allowing just one hit over 6 2/3 scoreless innings against the Orioles Tuesday ... The Rays activated Ryan Hanigan (hamstring) from the disabled list in preparation of Wednesday’s game ... Jake Odorizzi yielded just three hits and one run over 7 1/3 innings in Tuesday’s loss to the Cardinals ... Felix Doubront's (shoulder) rehab start with Triple-A Pawtucket on Sunday is expected to be his last ... Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said Tuesday that James Paxton (shoulder) won't be throwing off a mound anytime soon ... Aaron Hicks (shoulder) may have to be placed on the disabled list ... Justin Smoak (quad) was absent from the lineup Tuesday for the fifth time in the last six games ...