Daily Dose: Waino, No Bueno

Drew Silva
It was a tough week for pitchers, as three big names went down with season-ending injuries. We cover those and more in The Week That Was

Another day, another major elbow scare in MLB.

Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright was flown back to St. Louis on Wednesday morning after complaining of discomfort on the outside of his right (pitching) elbow following his start Tuesday night at the Rays’ Tropicana Field. Waino was pretty sharp in that outing versus Tampa Bay, tossing seven scoreless innings, but he acknowledged to reporters afterward that he didn’t feel quite right and the Cardinals wanted him to be examined by their team doctors back home.

The good news is an MRI came up negative for ligament damage. The bad news is there isn’t any clarity yet to this situation. Wainwright was given a cortisone shot and the Cardinals believe he might be dealing with something similar to tennis elbow, but that’s just an educated guess for now. The 32-year-old right-hander seems unlikely to take his next turn in the rotation Monday against the Mets and a 15-day disabled list stint could very well be on the horizon.

Wainwright logged 276 2/3 innings in 2013 between the regular season and playoffs.

Now the Cards appear to be paying for it.

Tyler Lyons has been the go-to spot starter for St. Louis this year, but he’s recovering from a shoulder injury at Triple-A Memphis. Joe Kelly, meanwhile, is still in the bullpen session stage of his rehabilitation from a severe hamstring strain. Perhaps it’s time to stretch out Carlos Martinez.

Matzek Makes Splash In MLB Debut

Rockies left-hander Tyler Matzek was called up from Triple-A Colorado Springs in an emergency move Wednesday and tasked with making his major league debut in a tough park (Coors Field) against a dangerous Braves lineup. The 23-year-old exceeded all expectations, yielding just two runs over seven-plus innings. He struck out seven Atlanta batters and showed surprisingly-good command throughout the evening, yielding zero walks and delivering 61 of his 80 pitches for strikes. He hadn't made a walk-less start at the Triple-A level this season. Matzek was working on a shutout Wednesday until the Braves rallied for two runs on a pair of RBI singles in the bottom of the eighth.

The 11th overall pick in the 2009 MLB Amateur Draft out of a California high school, Matzek got ranked a Top 50 prospect in both 2010 and 2011 by Baseball America. But he was sporting an ugly 4.05 ERA, 1.52 WHIP, and 61/31 K/BB ratio in 66 2/3 innings this season for Triple-A Colorado Springs at the time of his sudden callup and owns a hideous 6.0 career K/BB in 530-plus minor league frames. It’s difficult to buy that a promotion to Denver has suddenly fixed his control problems. We wouldn’t be diving in outside of deeper leagues.

Rays Going Back To Balfour?

It was only three days ago (Monday morning, to be exact) that Rays manager Joe Maddon announced Grant Balfour had been removed from the club’s closer role in favor of a matchup-by-matchup committee. Balfour surrendered five runs in the ninth inning of a crushing loss to the Mariners on Sunday afternoon, pushing his season ERA to 6.46, and it looked like Jake McGee or Juan Carlos Oviedo might finally get a crack at some saves. But not much has changed.

Oviedo started the sixth inning of Wednesday’s 6-3 defeat of the visiting Cardinals and it was Balfour who had closing duties, tossing 2 1/3 hitless innings on 31 pitches for his 10th converted save of 2014.

That appearance undoubtedly woke up a sense of confidence in the 36-year-old from Australia, and it probably inspired Maddon to go back to Balfour the next time a save opportunity arises. Balfour, McGee, and Oviedo are all worth owning in standard mixed fantasy leagues until this situation is further settled. Maybe the bottom-dwelling Rays have a run of wins in them to provide a proving ground.

National League Quick Hits: Reds ace Johnny Cueto struck out 12 batters over six shutout innings Wednesday versus the Dodgers … Pirates starter Francisco Liriano was placed on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday with a strained left oblique … Tyson Ross threw seven shutout innings in a no-decision Wednesday against the Phillies, lowering his ERA to 2.97 … Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy went 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles in Wednesday’s defeat of the Mets … Cliff Lee played catch Wednesday for the first time since landing on the disabled list in mid-May with an elbow strain … Rockies trainer Keith Dugger guessed Wednesday that Carlos Gonzalez (finger) will be sidelined for five weeks … Reid Brignac slugged a walkoff three-run homer in the Phillies’ win over the Padres on Wednesday night … Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos landed back on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday with a strained right hamstring … Hanley Ramirez was a late scratch Wednesday and is not expected to play Thursday because of right AC joint irritation … Cardinals reliever Kevin Siegrist (forearm) is expected to ramp up his throwing program this weekend … Andrew McCutchen homered, doubled, and walked twice against the Cubs on Wednesday … Matt Harvey (elbow) has finally conceded that he is unlikely to pitch this season … Rockies pitching prospect Daniel Winkler needs Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery … Gerrit Cole (shoulder) played catch from a distance of 90 feet on Wednesday and could throw a bullpen session Friday … Josh Harrison is day-to-day with left ankle pain … Cardinals first baseman Matt Adams (calf) is on track to be activated Friday … Braves starter Julio Teheran was lit up for seven earned runs in 6 1/3 innings Wednesday in a loss to the Rockies … Chad Billingsley has been pulled off his rehab assignment with more elbow issues … Pablo Sandoval was scratched from the Giants’ lineup Wednesday because of an illness.

American League Quick Hits: Rangers ace Yu Darvish notched his first career shutout Wednesday in an easy defeat of the Marlins … Masahiro Tanaka improved to 10-1 with a complete game effort Wednesday night against the Mariners … Astros left-hander Dallas Keuchel cruised through eight innings of one-run ball Wednesday versus the Diamondbacks … Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said Tuesday that the club remains hopeful of extending Jon Lester before he hits free agency this winter … Phil Hughes struck out nine batters over seven shutout frames Wednesday as the Twins topped the Blue Jays … Royals youngster Yordano Ventura fired seven innings of one-run ball in Wednesday’s win over the Indians … Carlos Beltran (elbow) resumed throwing on Wednesday but will remain the Yankees’ designated hitter for the foreseeable future … Jose Altuve is day-to-day with a tweaked oblique muscle … Josh Willingham hit a two-run homer in the Twins’ defeat of the Blue Jays on Wednesday … Jose Abreu slugged his 19th home run of the season Wednesday as the White Sox beat the Tigers … The Twins optioned catcher Josmil Pinto to Triple-A Rochester on Wednesday afternoon … The Red Sox signed veteran outfielder Andres Torres to a minor league contract on Wednesday morning … Mike Aviles is day-to-day with a stubbed toe … A’s catcher Stephen Vogt hit his first home run of the season Wednesday against the Angels … Brian Dozier (back) expects to return to the Twins’ starting lineup Friday … Shane Victorino (hamstring) is on track to begin a rehab assignment this week at Triple-A Pawtucket … The Marlins placed Justin Smoak on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday with a quad injury and activated Logan Morrison … Miguel Gonzalez (oblique) could return to the Orioles’ starting rotation early next week … Robinson Cano hit his first home run at Safeco Field (as a member of the Mariners) on Wednesday night … Desmond Jennings finished 2-for-4 with two RBI in the Rays’ defeat of the Cardinals on Wednesday at Tropicana Field … Chris Carter slugged a pair of solo homers Wednesday to help the Astros beat the Diamondbacks.