Down Hill

Ryan Boyer
Seth Trachtman looks at the week ahead, including two starts for the dominant Rich Hill

The Diamondbacks were already without two key pieces of their lineup in Adam Eaton and Jason Kubel, and now they’ll be missing another.

Aaron Hill will be sidelined for the next 4-6 weeks after a CT scan revealed, according to manager Kirk Gibson, a “slight surface fracture.” Hill was originally hurt last Tuesday when he was hit by a pitch and took just two at-bats over the last week. An X-ray and MRI didn’t show anything, which is what caused the delay in placing him on the DL, but the CT scan revealed the bad news.

To take Hill’s place on the roster, the D’Backs activated Didi Gregorius from the disabled list. Gregorius missed most of spring training and was placed on the DL to start the season due to a sprained ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. The young infielder just recently returned to playing shortstop, but he batted a blistering .387 (12-for-31) with two homers, two doubles and a stolen base over seven rehab games with Triple-A Reno to convince Arizona he was ready.

Gregorius didn’t start at shortstop on Tuesday against the Yankees, though that could be because he barely arrived in time for the game. He should be in the lineup most days, with Cliff Pennington and Martin Prado representing options at second base. Gregorius is a career .267/.319/.375 hitter in the minors and doesn’t have much power or stolen base skills, so his upside for fantasy purposes isn’t too high. Still, he’s probably worth taking a shot on in deeper leagues.

Hanley Ahead of Schedule, Jeter Behind

Hanley Ramirez’s recovery from right thumb surgery is going well. So well, in fact, that the shortstop plans to be back “way sooner” than his original timetable of late May.

How soon Ramirez will be able to return is still unknown, and the Dodgers haven’t even confirmed that he’s ahead of schedule. However, with the aid of a special splint that allows him to throw while protecting his thumb, Hanley is already taking batting practice and fielding grounders. It’s hard to imagine him needing another month before rejoining the Dodgers’ lineup.

"It's awesome. No pain, nothing," Ramirez said on "Definitely it's going to happen way sooner than it's supposed to."

In the meantime, the Dodgers plan on sticking with Justin Sellers as their primary shortstop rather than giving Dee Gordon a shot. Sellers entered Tuesday’s game batting just .176/.263/.265, but the club likes his defense.

"We decided we're going to play defense," manager Don Mattingly said. "When you put together a pitching staff like this, you have to catch the ball."

While things are progressing faster than expected for one shortstop, they’re coming along slowly for another.

The Yankees were hoping to have Derek Jeter back on May 1, but that’s not going to happen. The club has scaled back the future Hall of Famer’s workouts at extended spring training, and there’s no timetable for when he’ll be ready to play in games.

“I don’t think they necessarily have an exact date when he’s going to play in games,” manager Joe Girardi said in the Newark Star-Ledger. “We’ll just go day by day and see how he feels.”

It’s obviously a discouraging development for Jeter’s fantasy owners, especially for those that drafted early and were expecting him to be ready for the start of the season. We can’t count out a guy like Jeter returning strong for fantasy owners, but the reality is that this is a 38-year-old that last played the field a month ago and is now having his workouts scaled back. Don’t expect him to return for a while.

Madson Nearing Rehab Assignment

Ryan Madson threw a 40-pitch bullpen session Tuesday "with conviction, with extension and without one bit of pain." It has convinced the reliever that he’s ready to start a rehab assignment next week.

"This is the closest I've felt to being normal," Madson said in the Los Angeles Times. "I felt great (Tuesday). No issues at all. I feel like I can throw in a game tonight if I had to."

Madson has started and stopped a couple times as he works his way back from Tommy John surgery, but it sounds like he’s finally gotten over the hump. He’s shooting to be activated from the DL on May 1. Of course, what fantasy owners want to know is whether he’ll be the closer upon activation. Angels manager Mike Scioscia isn’t sure.

"We'll evaluate how he's throwing and where he fits in," Scioscia said.

With Ernesto Frieri pitching well, Madson will almost surely be eased back into the late innings. They signed him to be their closer, though, and he’ll likely take over the gig before long if he’s pitching well.

National League Quick Hits: Matt Garza (lat) will begin a rehab assignment with Low-A Kane County on Friday. He’ll be limited to two innings initially ... Ryan Braun went 0-for-5 with the first four-strikeout game of his career Tuesday. With 10 strikeouts in his last 17 at-bats, it’s pretty clear his neck is still bothering him ... Barry Zito entered Tuesday’s game with a 0.00 ERA but allowed nine runs in 2 2/3 innings against the Brewers ... Homer Bailey struck out 10 batters over eight scoreless innings against the Phillies in a game that was suspended ... Chris Capuano exited his start Tuesday with a calf injury and needs an MRI. Ted Lilly (shoulder) seems likely to take his spot the next time through the rotation ... Justin Upton hit his eighth home run of the season on Tuesday against the Royals ... Dan Haren allowed seven runs -- three earned -- in 4 1/3 innings Tuesday against a Marlins lineup that was missing Giancarlo Stanton (shoulder). He now has an 8.13 ERA and 2.03 WHIP for the season. Stanton, by the way, remains day-to-day ... Juan Francisco hit two solo home runs Tuesday, giving him four for the year to go along with a .306 batting mark ... Michael Fiers appeared in relief Tuesday and is not expected to start on Saturday. Hiram Burgos is the favorite to take the ball instead ... Freddie Freeman (oblique) took 30 swings on Tuesday and “felt fine.” He hopes to return on April 22 when first eligible ... Chase Headley (thumb) will be activated from the disabled list on Wednesday ... Yovani Gallardo was arrested for DUI early Tuesday morning but is expected to make his next start ...

American League Quick Hits: Michael Bourn will be placed on the disabled list due to a right hand laceration. He should return when eligible ... The Red Sox placed Joel Hanrahan (hamstring) on the DL Tuesday. Andrew Bailey will close while he’s out ... Joe Mauer went 4-for-5 with three RBI Tuesday, notching his second four-hit game in as many nights ... Ubaldo Jimenez was rocked for seven runs on two hits and five walks over just 1 2/3 innings Tuesday. He now holds an 11.23 ERA and 1.83 WHIP for the season ... J.P. Arencibia went 2-for-4 with his fifth home run of the season Tuesday ... Josh Johnson rebounded from a poor outing to strike out eight while allowing two runs over seven innings Tuesday against the White Sox ... Kelvin Herrera allowed four runs, including three solo home runs, on Tuesday against the Braves. The performance strengthens Greg Holland’s hold on the Royals’ closer job ... Jose Valverde will join High-A Lakeland’s roster later this week ... Ricky Romero will throw a second simulated game in extended spring training before appearing in a real game ... Scott Kazmir (rib cage) is on track to join the Indians' rotation on Saturday against the Astros ... Gordon Beckham underwent successful surgery on Tuesday to remove the hamate bone from his left hand. He’ll be out 6-8 weeks ... Andy Pettitte (back) threw 40 pitches in a bullpen session Tuesday and is expected to start Friday against the Blue Jays ... Jose Bautista missed another game Tuesday with back spasms and an inner ear infection, but he hopes to play Wednesday ... David Ortiz still expects to be activated from the disabled list on Friday despite being scratched from Monday’s rehab game with heel soreness ...