Cameron Maybin just can't catch a break.
Maybin struggled over the first two weeks of 2013 before landing on the disabled list with a right wrist impingement. The injury forced him to miss a month and a half, and when he returned he hit .278 with four RBI, stolen bases and four runs scored. On June 9, Maybin hit his first home run of the season.
It would also be his last. Maybin sustained damage to the posterior crucial ligament in his left knee, an injury that forced the center fielder to miss six weeks. Two aborted rehab assignments later, Maybin finally had surgery on his right wrist on September 4. Maybin finished the year with just 14 games played.
Finally healthy, the 26-year-old has big plans for 2014. Last month, Maybin said he plans to steal 30-to-40 bases and score 80-to-90 runs this year. In Saturday's Cactus League game, Maybin launched his first home run of spring.
Sunday, Maybin made a diving catch in the third inning and came up favoring his left shoulder. Maybin stayed in the game, but an inning later he exited as a result of the play.
Maybin will have an MRI of the shoulder performed Monday, after which more should be known regarding the extent of the injury. On the surface, it doesn't look good -- the sheer fact that the shoulder requires an MRI shows that it's more than just run-of-the-mill soreness -- and the loss of Maybin would be the second blow the Padres have been dealt already this spring. The team is still missing Chase Headley, who sustained a strained right calf during drills earlier in camp.
If Maybin were lost for any significant period of time, the silver lining is that they still have three starting-caliber outfielders in Carlos Quentin, Will Venable and Seth Smith on their roster. Venable started 52 games in center field last year and has 138 starts in center over the course of his career. The left-handed hitter quietly joined the 20/20 club last season, belting 22 home runs and stealing 22 bases, and would make for a nice late-round selection if he's slated for anything more than a part-time role.
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Bumps And Bruises
Maybin isn't the only player feeling the pain in spring's early days.
Tis the season for bumps and bruises, and players across the Grapefruit and Cactus leagues are feeling the pain. Starlin Castro left Sunday's Cactus League game with a mild right hamstring strain. Castro injured the hamstring sliding into second base in the game's first inning. The shortstop is considered day-to-day.
Mike Leake was dealing with what Reds manager Bryan Price described as "a little bit of a strain" to his abdomen that forced the right-hander to miss his scheduled start Sunday. The injury isn't serious -- Leake will resume throwing Monday -- and there's no reason to expect the ailment to linger.
Cody Asche was hit on the right hand by a pitch Sunday and immediately left the game. Asche had an ultrasound on the hand, which was presumed broken by some in attendance, and it came back negative. The Phillies are calling it a bruise, but it's likely to keep the third baseman out of action for a few days.
Zack Greinke will also miss time after leaving his Thursday start with a right calf strain. The right-hander threw just four pitches before exiting, and he's already been scratched from his next scheduled start. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said the team is going to be cautious with Greinke, offering that there's currently no timetable for his return. The 30-year-old had been an option to start one of the team's two games in Australia later this month, but that now seems like a remote possibility.
A couple closers were in the news in recent days.
Trevor Rosenthal threw a bullpen session Sunday, the first time he'd thrown off a mound since tweaking his right groin during live batting practice last Tuesday. The Cardinals' hard-throwing young right-hander is expected to get into Grapefruit League action sometime this week. Even with the expected return of Jason Motte in April, Rosenthal will serve as the Cardinals' closer this season and should be a top-5 closer in the league.
Nate Jones, who was sidelined by a glute injury at the start of camp, said he's "ready to rock and roll" after throwing a 30-pitch live batting practice session Saturday. Jones is in competition with Matt Lindstrom and Daniel Webb for the White Sox' closer role. Jones had an 89/26 K/BB ratio in 78 innings last season and, if healthy, is the most likely choice to break camp with the job.
The most interesting news from over the weekend comes by way of Texas, where Dallas Morning News reporter Evan Grant noted that Neftali Feliz is still a work in progress in Rangers camp.
"Feliz was not sharp in his intrasquad game and I’m told his mechanics are still kind of out of whack," Grant said. "He’s not getting his arm extended enough to max out the velocity."
Feliz compounded his problems Sunday, when he gave up a two-run home run to Tyler Flowers in his inning of work. It was especially problematic for the right-hander because it came on the heels of a clean inning from Joakim Soria, Feliz' main competition for the closer role. What looked to be Feliz' job to lose after a strong Dominican Winter League showing now has the markings of a competition.
National League Quick Hits: Tommy La Stella is turning heads in Braves camp thus far. The second base prospect is unlikely to unseat Dan Uggla for a starting role, at least right now, but he's a player to watch this season after a terrific 2013 season in the minors ... Padres manager Bud Black said Carlos Quentin, one of the outfielders who will need to step up if Maybin misses time, is "right around the corner" from making his Cactus League debut. Quentin is recovering from right knee surgery in September, his third such surgery in 18 months ... Aramis Ramirez (colon) said he's 7-to-10 days away from getting into Cactus League games. Ramirez underwent surgery two weeks ago to remove a non-malignant polyp from his colon, and he should be back and ready by Opening Day ... Marco Scutaro (back) has yet to swing a bat this spring. Giants general manager Brian Sabean is still holding off on searching for replacements for his second baseman ... Jonny Venters (elbow) will do some light throwing off a mound Wednesday, his first since Tommy John surgery in May. Venters is shooting for a late May or early June return to Atlanta's bullpen.
American League Quick Hits: Justin Verlander (core muscle repair surgery) will make his spring debut Thursday. It appears as though his offseason surgery won't affect his readiness for Opening Day ... Josh Hamilton (calf) has "made a lot of progress the last couple days," according to Angels manager Mike Scioscia. Hamilton strained his left calf last Tuesday. The club is still expected to exercise caution with the veteran outfielder ... Jurickson Profar (shoulder) has played in games as a designated hitter but is still not ready to play in the field. Profar has been cleared to throw, but the Rangers don't want to push the youngster ... Geovany Soto had the walking boot on his surgically repaired left foot removed. The catcher had surgery just a week ago but should still be ready for Opening Day ... The Pirates and Brewers have been scouting Mike Carp. Carp hit .296/.362/.523 in a part-time role with the Red Sox last season and would likely play first base for either club.
Cameron Maybin just can't catch a break.