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On Monday, the White Sox announced that Luis Robert has been diagnosed with a Grade 3 right hip flexor strain, an injury which he suffered on while beating out an infield single on Sunday. A Grade 3 strain is a complete tear, and it’s possible Robert will need surgery to repair it. That decision will be made in the coming days as the team and the outfielder consult with specialists.
Even if Robert does not need surgery, he will not be allowed to resume baseball activities for 12-16 weeks. A lengthy rehab would commence after that, so we’re probably looking at a late-August return even in a best-case scenario. Robert missing the remainder of the season might be more likely.
Although he has hit just one home run over his first 103 plate appearances this season, Robert has been very good overall at the plate, sporting a .316/.359/.463 batting line. He’s also stolen four bases while being caught just once. Unless you have unlimited injured list spots, you almost have to cut Robert loose in a redraft league. It’s undoubtedly a tough pill to swallow if you used an early-round pick on Robert.
With Adam Engel (hamstring) also still working his way back from injury, the White Sox are down to converted first baseman Andrew Vaughn in left field and Adam Eaton in right field. In center – at least until Engel is ready – will be Leury Garcia and Billy Hamilton. Garcia is probably higher in the pecking order, but you’d have to be in a really deep league for him to become fantasy relevant. General manager Rick Hahn also wouldn’t rule out exploring help from outside the organization.
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Unfortunately, Robert’s diagnosis wasn’t the only bad news involving one of the game’s young stars that came out Monday.
The Dodgers revealed that Dustin May has been diagnosed with a tear in his right ulnar collateral ligament, which he suffered while throwing a pitch in a start this past Saturday in Milwaukee. May will undergo Tommy John surgery on May 11, ending his 2021 season and most of his 2022 campaign, as well.
May was excellent in his first two seasons in the majors, putting up a 2.98 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 76/21 K/BB ratio over 90 2/3 innings. This year, though, he had been putting to rest any doubt that he would be able to miss bats at the big league level. The young right-hander fanned 35 batters in his 23 frames to go along with a 2.74 ERA and 0.96 WHIP. Among pitchers with at least 20 innings, he ranks seventh with a 37.6 percent strikeout rate and also seventh with a 34 percent CSW.
The Dodgers are prepared probably better than any club to fill that void left by May, although not as well prepared as they were a month ago.
David Price began the season in the bullpen but suffered a Grade 2 right hamstring strain a little over a week ago, sending him to the IL. Price is reportedly doing well but probably wouldn’t be a realistic option to start until at least late May. Tony Gonsolin started the season on the IL with right shoulder inflammation. He resumed throwing off a mound last week but, like Price, is also likely a few weeks away from being ready to start a major league game.
Another option that the Dodgers haven’t ruled out is pitching Trevor Bauer on short rest.
“We’ve thought about it, yeah. There’s a scenario that it could happen,” manager Dave Roberts said. “I think we do a good job of listening to the player, as well, if they have some sort of track record or experience -- which Trevor does. We’re going to talk through it. Once we deal with this weather, the games and what days we play or don’t play, we’ll have a little bit more clarity on that.”
Bauer has said he would prefer to pitch on short rest, of course, even saying when he was a free agent that it would be a big selling point if a team would allow him to do it. It’s probably not something the Dodgers would consider doing for a long stretch, but until Price and/or Gonsolin return? Maybe.
Starting Pitchers with an EDGE
Kenta Maeda vs. TEX – 5 1/3 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 2 BB, 8 K
Maeda wasn’t efficient in this one, needing a season-high 94 pitches to get through his 5 1/3 innings. However, he will certainly take this effort after putting up three straight clunkers. It was good enough for the right-hander to pick up his second victory of the season, and his eight punchouts were a season high.
Vince Velasquez vs. MIL – 6 IP, 1 ER, 4 H, 2 BB, 6 K
Velasquez served up a solo home run to Lorenzo Cain in the first inning on Monday but was in control after that. It’s easily his longest outing of this season and marks just the fourth time since 2019 that he’s gone at least six innings. It had seemed like the Phillies planned to put Matt Moore back in the rotation, but Velasquez surely earned another turn with this effort. Moore still hasn’t made an appearance since returning from the COVID-19 injured list over two weeks ago.
Tyler Anderson vs. SD – 6 2/3 IP, 2 ER, 2 H, 3 BB, 5 K
Anderson carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning of this one, but a Wil Myers broken-bat single broke that up and the shutout bid was gone quickly after that as the lefty was chased from the game. It was still another fine effort from Anderson, who lowered his ERA to 3.24. He hasn’t allowed more than two runs in any of his last four outings.
Hitters with an EDGE
Josh Naylor vs. KC – 2-for-4, HR, 2B, BB, 3 RBI
Naylor punctuated the Indians’ decisive five-run seventh inning on Monday, following Eddie Rosario’s go-ahead, three-run home run with a two-run shot of his own. The long ball was Naylor’s first of the season. He’s had a rough go of it so far in 2021 but is starting to come out of it a little bit lately, picking up eight hits over his last 22 at-bats.
Ramon Laureano vs. TOR – 2-for-4, HR, 2 RBI
Laureano’s long two-run blast off of Steven Matz in the fifth inning put the A’s back ahead what turned out to be for good in their win over the Blue Jays. It was the outfielder’s third straight game with a long ball, and he now has six on the season to go along with eight stolen bases.
Cedric Mullins vs. SEA – 3-for-5, HR, 2B, 2 RBI
Mullins entered this season with one career home run off of left-handed pitching. After ditching switch-hitting to exclusively hit from the left side going into 2021, he’s already gone deep twice off southpaws this year following a bomb against lefty reliever Anthony Misiewicz.
Nick Pivetta, SP, Red Sox
With 17 walks in 25 2/3 innings, it hasn’t been all smooth sailing for Pivetta in his first five starts for the Red Sox this season. However, he’s also struck out 25, has given up more than two runs in a start just once and has yielded a total of just two hits over his past two outings. Pivetta is riding high into a dream matchup Tuesday against the Tigers, a team that’s sporting just a .275 wOBA and 29 percent strikeout rate versus righties.
He made things interesting again by issuing a pair of walks and throwing just eight of 20 pitches for strikes, but Alex Reyes escaped with a save in nailing down the Cardinals’ win over the Mets on Monday. Reyes has now issued 12 walks over 14 1/3 innings this season, yet somehow has yet to allow a run and is 8-for-8 in save chances.
It was Jake Diekman’s turn to close out a victory for the Athletics on Monday. After Lou Trivino allowed a run while facing the heart of the Blue Jays’ order in the eighth inning, Diekman came on for the ninth and retired the 8-9-1 hitters with ease. He now has three saves on the season to Trivino’s five saves.
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Tuesday’s Matchup of the Day
Yes, you read that correctly. This matchup might not have a whole lot of sizzle, but both of these guys have been excellent so far this season. Gibson recorded just one out in his Opening Day start but since then has permitted just three earned runs over his last five outings. Meanwhile, Happ gave up just two runs over seven frames in his last outing after carrying a no-hitter into the eighth inning of his start prior to that.
American League Quick Hits: Shohei Ohtani was scratched from Monday's scheduled start versus the Rays after he was hit on the right elbow by a pitch while batting Sunday, but he played as a DH and doubled and homered … Hyun-Jin Ryu (glute) is on track to rejoin the Blue Jays' rotation on Thursday against the Athletics … Anthony Rendon had to be carried off the field during Monday’s game against the Rays after fouling a ball off the inside of his left knee … George Springer was removed from Sunday’s game and was unavailable to play Monday because of leg fatigue … Adalberto Mondesi (oblique) could begin a rehab assignment next week … Dean Kremer tossed six frames of one-run ball against the Mariners on Monday … Hunter Dozier homered and tripled Monday against the Indians … Manuel Margot went 2-for-5 with a homer and three RBI on Monday in the Rays' win over the Angels … Willy Adames homered and doubled on Monday in the Rays’ win over the Angels … Luis Arraez was removed from Monday's game against the Rangers due to concussion symptoms following a collision at home plate … Alejandro Kirk (hip) is expected to be sidelined for around six weeks.
National League Quick Hits: The Brewers optioned Keston Hiura to their alternate training site on Monday … Bryce Harper (wrist) is not expected to need a trip to the injured list, but he is expected to be sidelined for another game or two … J.D. Davis landed on the IL on Monday with a sprained left middle finger … Lorenzo Cain homered, walked and scored twice Monday against the Phillies in his first game back from the injured list … Christian Yelich picked up a couple singles Monday in Philadelphia in his return from the IL … Pete Alonso went 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles and two runs scored Monday in a loss to the Cardinals … Tommy La Stella (hamstring) is expected to be placed on the injured list … Jean Segura (quad) will begin a rehab assignment this week … Christian Walker (oblique) was activated from the IL Monday.