Monday was not a good day for the Cardinals. In addition to falling back into second place in the NL Central after Adam Wainwright took a beating in a second straight start, Yadier Molina was forced to make an early exit due to left wrist soreness.
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The good news is that Molina is being called day-to-day, but Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes that the veteran backstop has been dealing with nagging soreness dating back to the World Baseball Classic. His contributions behind the plate are difficult to fully quantify or appreciate, but that the Cardinals are 68-45 with him in the lineup this season and 11-13 without him speaks volumes.
While the Cardinals will hope for a better Tuesday with Michael Wacha returning from the minors to take on the Reds, here are some other notes from a busy Labor Day in the baseball world.
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Billy Speeding Into Our Hearts
Billy Hamilton is go. The Reds officially promoted the 22-year-old speedster on Monday along with their other September call-ups.
Hamilton, who swiped a professional record 155 bases last season, batted .256/.308/.343 with six home runs, 41 RBI, and 75 stolen bases in 123 games with Triple-A Louisville this season while making the transition from shortstop to center field. While his numbers are underwhelming on the surface, the 22-year-old hit .283 with a .324 on-base percentage after the All-Star break.
The Reds aren't expected to push Hamilton into a prominent role right away, but he could still be quite a weapon as a pinch-runner. He's worth adding in NL-only and deeper mixed fantasy leagues for those who need steals. It should be a fun sneak preview at the very least.
Cain Nearly Able
Matt Cain gave the Giants quite the scare when he was hit in the right forearm by a comebacker on August 22, but it turns out he'll rejoin the Giants' rotation as soon as he's eligible.
Cain, who suffered a forearm contusion as the result of the comebacker, threw 90 pitches in a bullpen session on Monday with no issues. It essentially functioned as a rehab start now that the minor league season has concluded, which means that he'll be activated to start Saturday against the Diamondbacks.
Cain is in the midst of a disappointing season in which he has posted a 4.43 ERA over 26 starts. His peripherals actually aren't too far off from his career norms, but his magical ability to keep the ball in the ballpark has eluded him, especially on the road. He quietly righted the ship prior to the injury, so a strong finish wouldn't be surprising.
Setback for CarGo
If you were hoping to get Carlos Gonzalez back in your lineup in fantasy leagues this week, it's time to find another option. Troy Renck of the Denver Post reports that Gonzalez was scratched from Monday's minor league rehab game with Triple-A Colorado Springs due to more issues with his sprained right middle finger.
Gonzalez's finger isn't any worse than it was before and no MRI will be necessary, but there's little reason to risk pushing him back out there with the Rockies so far out of the race. It appears that he still hopes to make it back at some point this month in order to get some peace of mind going into the offseason, but a shutdown wouldn't be surprising if the discomfort lingers.
NL Quick Hits: Clayton Kershaw notched a win Monday despite giving up five runs over five innings Monday against the Rockies … Yasiel Puig will sit out Tuesday after leaving Monday's game with a mild right knee strain … Troy Tulowitzki was held out of Monday's lineup due to leg soreness, but is expected to return Tuesday … Freddie Freeman went 2-for-5 with five RBI in Monday's win over Mets … Carlos Beltran (back) expects to return to the lineup Tuesday … Mat Latos allowed two runs in a complete game win over the Cardinals on Monday … Stephen Strasburg allowed an unearned run and struck out 10 batters over six innings Monday against the Phillies, but was handed a no-decision … Nationals manager Davey Johnson said Monday that Bryce Harper has been playing through a hip injury … Cole Hamels tossed seven innings of one-run ball and struck out eight in a no-decision against the Nationals on Monday … Carlos Gomez didn't start Monday due to general soreness … Giancarlo Stanton (ankle) went 0-for-4 with a strikeout in his return to the lineup Monday … The Braves will push Julio Teheran's next start back to September 10 in order to give him some extra rest … Domonic Brown is day-to-day after an MRI revealed mild tendinitis in his right Achilles tendon … Andre Ethier went 3-for-4 with a home run, two doubles, and three RBI in Monday's win over the Rockies … Chase Headley (back) missed his fifth straight game Monday … Dexter Fowler (knee) could return to the lineup soon … Brandon McCarthy gave up four runs in a complete game loss to the Blue Jays on Monday … Charlie Morton allowed two runs (one earned) over seven innings in Monday's win over the Brewers … Christian Yelich went 3-for-4 with a solo home run in Monday's win over the Cubs … Jordan Schafer tied a career-high with four hits and three stolen bases Monday against the Mets before making an early exit with a lower back strain … Henderson Alvarez allowed three runs over six innings in Monday's win over the Cubs and hit his first career home run, but left with right hamstring tightness …
AL Quick Hits: Miguel Cabrera (abdomen) took batting practice Monday with no issues … Felix Hernandez gave up three runs over 6 2/3 innings Monday against the Royals before leaving for precautionary reasons due to a lower back cramp … Edwin Encarnacion smacked his 35th home run in Monday's win over the Diamondbacks … Yoenis Cespedes homered and singled in Monday's win over the Rangers … Austin Jackson (shoulder, neck) went 2-for-4 with a run scored in his return to the lineup Monday … The hot-hitting Coco Crisp left Monday's game with a right shin contusion … Justin Masterson left Monday's start against the Orioles in the second inning due to soreness on the left side of his rib cage … Doug Fister spun seven scoreless frames in Monday's win over the Red Sox … Jason Castro left Monday's game with a right knee sprain and will be evaluated Tuesday … Derek Jeter went 2-for-4 with two RBI in Monday's win over the White Sox … Matt Wieters went 4-for-5 with a home run and two RBI in Monday's win over the Indians … Jeremy Hellickson could rejoin the Rays' rotation on Wednesday … Bud Norris tossed seven innings of one-run ball and struck out eight in a win over the Indians on Monday … Corey Kluber (finger) is expected to return from the disabled list Friday … Ryan Raburn (heel) expects to be activated from the disabled list Tuesday … Alcides Escobar stole two bases and scored a run in Monday's win over the Royals … Chris Colabello launched two home runs -- including a go-ahead grand slam -- in Monday's win over the Astros … The Orioles will call up prospect infielder Jonathan Schoop on Tuesday … Esmil Rogers allowed one hit over 6 1/3 scoreless innings in a win over the Diamondbacks on Monday … Derek Norris (toe) will be activated from the disabled list Tuesday … Tyler Flowers will undergo season-ending surgery on his right shoulder this week and is expected to miss anywhere between 3-6 months …