It didn’t take Chase Headley long to get on the good side of Yankees fans.
After being acquired via trade from the Padres earlier in the day Tuesday and getting to Yankee Stadium in the middle of the game, Headley struck out as a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning and then grounded out in his next two at-bats. No matter. The third baseman was a hero after delivering a walk-off single in the 14th inning of a 2-1 victory over the Rangers.
It will be interesting to see whether Headley can revive his career over the next two months before he hits free agency. The 30-year-old finished fifth in the National League MVP voting in 2012 after batting .286/.376/.489 with 31 homers and 115 RBI, but he’s battled injuries and, going into Tuesday's action, has hit just .243/.330/.384 since.
There are some factors working in Headley’s favor. He recently went back to the batting grip that he used in 2012 (he stopped using it after fracturing his hand in spring training of 2013) and has hit .319 with a homer, a triple, four doubles and 10 RBI over 16 games this month. He’ll also get to play in one of the better hitting parks in baseball after being stuck in one of the worst his entire career.
Ultimately, Headley is likely to be a modest improvement over Yangervis Solarte, Kelly Johnson and Zelous Wheeler and is worth a shot in deeper fantasy leagues. Solarte was sent to San Diego along with likely relief prospect Rafael De Paula in exchange for Headley. Solarte figures to see some playing time at third base for the Padres, but he hasn’t been fantasy relevant in two months and that’s unlikely to change in San Diego. De Paula is a ways away from making an impact.
Tulo Lands on DL
The Rockies have been snakebit by injuries this season, and another ailment sent one of their stars to the disabled list Tuesday.
Troy Tulowitzki originally suffered what was called a cramp in his left quad on Saturday and sat out the following three games. After being re-evaluated Tuesday, his injury was re-classified as a left hip flexor strain and the club placed him on the DL.
"If Tulo was going to be ready tomorrow or the next day, we still would have held him out," manager Walt Weiss told MLB.com Tuesday. "But we didn't feel like that was [the case]."
The Rockies haven’t set a timetable for Tulo’s return, though trainer Keith Dugger admitted that there’s no guarantee the shortstop will be ready when his 15 days are up early next month. Given that Colorado is out of the playoff race and Tulo has a history of leg issues, expect them to err on the side of caution.
Weiss said that Josh Rutledge will receive the “lion’s share” of the playing time at shortstop in Tulo’s absence. Although he’s been up-and-down both production-wise at the big league level and in that he’s shuttled back-and-forth often between Triple-A Colorado Springs and Denver, Rutledge has some upside for fantasy owners. He had eight homers and seven steals over 291 plate appearances during his rookie season in 2012 and is hitting .298/.356/.471 in 133 plate appearances this year. Those looking for middle infield help would do well to scoop him up.
When top prospect Oscar Taveras was recalled at the beginning of the month, the common thought was that he was up to play every day, or, at the very least, play every day against right-handed pitching.
It hasn’t worked out that way.
Taveras was on the bench Tuesday for the fifth time in the Cardinals’ last seven games and the third time in four contests since the All-Star break. He’s started just two of the team’s last six games versus right-handed starters. When asked Tuesday why Taveras had been riding the pine so often, manager Mike Matheny offered a puzzling answer.
"We all just got to that point in realizing that....everybody knows we need to do what we need to win the game,” Matheny told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “We're not here for development. There are times we like to give guys exposure but the overriding factor is that we need to do what we can to win. Along with that, you don't want a guy to just sit here when he can be getting much need experience at another level."
It’s true that Taveras is hitting just .200/.235/.275 to kick off his career in the majors, but we’re talking about 85 plate appearances. He’s hardly been given a consistent chance to show why he's long been considered one of the best prospects in the game. Taveras had back-to-back multi-hit games from July 8-9, but since then he’s started just three of eight contests. And the funny thing about Matheny’s “we need to do what we need to win the game” comment is that when Taveras has started lately, the Cards have won. They’re 7-2 in the last nine games he’s started, and Taveras had a run, RBI or multi-hit game in six of the seven wins.
Matheny has continued to stick by Allen Craig even though he’s shown zero signs of turning his disappointing season around. Craig has batted .242/.294/.354 overall this season and a sickly .237/.291/.315 versus right-handed pitching heading into Tuesday’s game (he went hitless again Tuesday, while Taveras had a pinch-hit single). He’s 6-for-41 (.146) since Taveras was promoted at the beginning of July.
While the Cardinals’ benching of Taveras doesn’t make sense, the fact is that it’s happening and fantasy owners need to adjust. Unless he or another outfielder is dealt that results in freed up playing time, it’s hard to count on Taveras in redraft leagues anymore this season.
National League Quick Hits: Ryan Zimmerman will undergo an MRI after leaving Tuesday’s game with a strained right hamstring ... The Cubs optioned Mike Olt to Triple-A after Tuesday’s contest ... Jordan Lyles (hand) is on pace to be activated from the disabled list when first eligible on August 4 ... Josh Beckett allowed four runs in 3 2/3 innings to the Pirates in his return from the DL Tuesday ... Kyle Hendricks limited the Padres to five hits over seven shutout innings in a win on Tuesday ... Scooter Gennett left Tuesday's game against the Reds with right quad tightness ... ESPN's Jim Bowden has reported that the Reds and Phillies are talking about a trade involving Marlon Byrd ... Pedro Alvarez exited Tuesday's game against the Dodgers with left knee discomfort ... Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Tuesday that Brandon Belt (concussion) is "making progress" but is still a couple days away from resuming baseball activities ... Angel Pagan (back) was able to take swings from both sides of the plate on Monday ... Kevin Siegrist (forearm, shoulder) is expected to return to the Cardinals' bullpen on Wednesday ... The Diamondbacks placed Cody Ross on the disabled list with a left calf strain ... Both Hanley Ramirez (hand) and Yasiel Puig (hand) sat out again Tuesday ... The Cubs designated Darwin Barney for assignment and activated Emilio Bonifacio from the disabled list ...
American League Quick Hits: Manny Machado received an anti-inflammatory injection after being scratched from Tuesday’s contest due to lower back spasms ... Jason Kipnis acknowledged Monday that his right oblique muscle is still an issue and will likely linger for the rest of the season ... Mike Moustakas went 3-for-5 with two home runs in the Royals' win over the White Sox on Tuesday ... Carlos Santana went 4-for-5 with a home run and nine total bases as the Indians bear the Twins Tuesday ... Kyle Gibson was scratched from Wednesday's scheduled start against the Indians due to a stiff back and will be replaced by Anthony Swarzak ... George Springer (knee/quad) remained out of the Astros' lineup Tuesday ... Joe Mauer (oblique) has progressed to hitting off a tee ... Alex Rios (ankle) is expected to return to the lineup on Wednesday ... Ubaldo Jimenez (ankle) will be cleared for a rehab assignment if a bullpen session on Wednesday goes well ... Lynn Henning of the Detroit News reports that Joel Hanrahan (elbow) is "still a longshot" to pitch for the Tigers this season ... Jose Abreu missed Tuesday’s game with a stiff back but is expected back soon ... The Blue Jays called up top prospect Aaron Sanchez Tuesday and will use him out of the bullpen ...