Red Sox righthander Junichi Tazawa will have Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, ending his 2010 season before it starts.
Tazawa, who will have the surgery on Tuesday, will likely return to the mound at some point near the beginning of the 2011 season. Signed out of Japan in 2008, the 23-year-old Tazawa ranked as Boston's No. 6 prospect and the organization's second-best pitching prospect behind righthander Casey Kelly entering the season.
Tazawa made four starts in six appearances in the big leagues in 2009, though he spent the majority of the year with Double-A Portland. He was expected to open 2010 with Triple-A Pawtucket.
Red Sox top prospect Ryan Westmoreland has been diagnosed with a cavernous malformation in his brain and has taken medical leave to get treatment, the team announced today.
"The entire Red Sox organization stands in support of Ryan as he courageously deals with this issue," general manager Theo Epstein said in a press release. "Ryan is a remarkable kid and a talented player, and we understand that many will be concerned about his health. He is getting the best medical attention the world has to offer, and we will have more information soon. Until then—out of respect for Ryan's privacy and at the request of the Westmoreland family—we will not have any further comment."
Westmoreland, 19, left minor league camp on Thursday, March 4. He was diagnosed the next day at Massachusetts General Hospital, had consultations with three leading experts in the field, and on Tuesday will have surgery with Dr. Robert Spetzler of the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix.
Jared Mitchell, the White Sox' first-round pick in 2009, could miss the 2010 season after crashing into the wall in a spring-training game.
Mitchell, who helped Louisiana State to the 2009 College World Series championship, ranked No. 55 on Baseball America's Top 100 last month and ranked as the White Sox' No. 1 prospect this offseason. He got hurt Friday, tearing a tendon in his left ankle that will require surgery, according to numerous media reports. He made an impressive catch up against the wall on a long drive by the Angels' Juan Rivera.
White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen told reporters that Mitchell could miss the entire season.
"It's supposed to be about a year," he said. "We have to wait to see after surgery happens. Hopefully, everything goes well. The more important thing after that is the rehab, and hopefully, he'll get back pretty quick. We'll see what happens."
Stephen Strasburg’s time in the Arizona Fall League is finished after the Nationals righthander twisted his left knee prior to today’s game.
The Nationals in a press release claimed the injury was "not serious" and that an MRI showed inflammation. Strasburg will fly to Washington D.C. tomorrow to visit medical director Dr. Wiemi Douoguih. Strasburg, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 draft, will miss his scheduled start for Saturday’s AFL championship game.
We’ve heard conflicting reports on the details and severity of the injury at Baseball America since it happened earlier this morning, but we will pass along further information as we learn more.
Some prospect injury news that is still a bit developing. First, No. 1 overall draft pick Stephen Strasburg will miss his scheduled start in Saturday’s Rising Stars game at the Arizona Fall League. The National righthander has a muscle strain in his neck, according to an AFL press release. Righthander Tommy Mendoza (Angels) has replaced Strasburg on the Rising Stars roster.
Second, Twins catcher Wilson Ramos, who is tearing up winter ball in his native Venezuela, left a game last night with an apparent right knee injury. Twins general manager Bill Smith said the club is aware of the injury but is not yet aware of the severity of the problem. Ramos ranks second in the Venezuelan League in batting at .403 with a league-high six home runs through 20 games and 77 at-bats.
The Arizona Fall League lost a little of its star power this week, as Mike Stanton and Jason Heyward, two of the top outfield prospects in baseball, were sent home by their teams because of injuries.
Stanton, Florida’s top prospect, was hitting a Fall League-leading .478 before being shut down with a back injury. He had hit only one home run but was 11-for-23 with four stolen bases before the injury flared up. Heyward, the Braves’ top prospect, was sent home with a strained hamstring that also led to back inflammation according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was 4-for-14 with three doubles in four games in Arizona.
Both players are expected to be fully healthy before spring training.
Diamondbacks pitching prospect Jarrod Parker is going to have Tommy John surgery, after going down in the middle of the season with elbow trouble.
Arizona shut down the righthander, the organization’s top prospect, with elbow tightness in late July when he was pitching at Double-A Mobile, and hoped rest and rehab would fix the problem. During instructional league he played catch at 120 feet, and he was scheduled to resume throwing off a mound in January.
But Parker’s agent broke the news on Thursday afternoon that he planned to have Tommy John surgery next week, and the Diamondbacks confirmed it later in the day. [...] Continue Reading »
Rays minor leaguer Darin Downs is in serious but stable condition in a Birmingham, Ala., hospital after being struck in the head by a batted ball Monday night.
Downs, 24, has a cracked skull, brain swelling and some facial paralysis, according to a source. He’s in intensive care at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Birmingham. He was struck in the head in the fifth inning of his start for Double-A Montgomery, facing host Birmingham. With runners on first and second, Christian Marrero hit a liner back through the box that struck Downs in the head; the force of the carom sent the ball into the Birmingham dugout, and the play was ruled a run-scoring ground-rule double.
Downs was expected to have surgery to repair of of the damage once the swelling goes down somewhat, but he had not had surgery as of Monday afternoon.
Downs was having his best season, making his second start at Double-A after going 12-4, 2.00 at high Class A Charlotte in the Florida State League.
According to King, the 19-year-old Venezuelan suffered the injury on Saturday night while catching a game with Trenton. His timetable for return was set at six weeks, meaning that a winter ball stint, either in the Arizona Fall or the Venezuelan league, is not out of the question.
Disappointingly, this injury likely removes Montero from serious consideration for our Minor League Player of the Year award. He batted .337/.370/.562 in 347 at-bats, mashing 17 home runs and driving in 70 runs in 92 games split almost evenly between Trenton and high Class A Tampa.
Today’s Prospect Injury report is a little lighter than usual, though fewer players to write about in this section is always a good thing.
Jason Knapp, rhp, Phillies: Knapp’s power arm has led to 111 strikeouts in 85 1/3 innings for low Class A Lakewood, but he’s had to give that arm a break as of late due to shoulder fatigue. While Knapp has collected strikeouts in bunches in the South Atlantic League, the 18-year-old’s ERA has been a bit erratic, along with his control. He’s averaging 4.1 walks per nine innings with a 4.01 ERA. In his last start on July 11 at Kannapolis, Knapp recorded just two outs before leaving the game with three walks, three hits, no strikeouts and six runs allowed. And from the unusual stat department: Knapp leads the minor leagues with five balks.
Jordan Walden, rhp, Angels: Walden left his start on Monday with a strained right forearm, departing in the first inning without recording an out. Walden, 21, also missed a month earlier in the season with the same injury. Many times it’s a precursor to Tommy John surgery, though we don’t know yet what’s going to happen with Walden, whose ERA with Double-A Arkansas sits at 5.25 in 60 innings in the Texas League.
Angel Villalona, 1b, Giants: Villalona was supposed to represent the Giants along with lefty Madison Bumgarner at the Futures Game on Sunday. But Big V suffered a strained left quadriceps while running the bases on July 7 for high Class A San Jose. Villalona, 18, will be out for three more weeks. He’s struggled mightily in the Cal League, where he’s hitting .267/.306/.397 with just seven unintentional walks in 310 plate appearances. Then again, Villalona is two to three years younger than even the best prospects in that league.
Max Ramirez, c, Rangers: It hasn’t been a good year for Ramirez’s wrists. After missing two weeks in early June with right wrist soreness, Ramirez is now on the disabled list and rehabbing in Arizona with tendinitis in his left wrist. Ramirez has yet to play this month, but when he has played this year, the results have been nowhere near where they were last year. Ramirez, 24, is batting .238/.308/.332 in 56 games for Triple-A Oklahoma City. [...] Continue Reading »
Daniel Schlereth, lhp, Diamondbacks: Schlereth hit the seven-day disabled list after straining his ribcage, just 19 days after his demotion from the majors back to Double-A Mobile. The first-round pick in 2008 carried a team-leading 1.14 ERA with 31 strikeouts in 23 2/3 innings this year for Mobile. His brief stint in the majors saw his ERA balloon to 9.64 in six appearances.
Junichi Tazawa, rhp, Red Sox: Tazawa went on the seven-day DL as of Tuesday, but it appears the Red Sox are just trying to rest him.
Juan Francisco, 3b, Reds: Francisco, the Reds’ hottest hope for a Latin American success story, breifly visited the seven-day DL from June 20-27 for a pulled right hamstring he suffered against in a game against Tennessee. Despite the respite, Francisco’s 13 homeruns for Double-A Carolina is still tied for the team high, and he leads the Mudcats with 50 RBIs. [...] Continue Reading »
Two days after placing first baseman Yonder Alonso on the disabled list, the Reds’ Double-A affiliate, the Carolina Mudcats, have lost another big bat, as third baseman Juan Francisco was disabled with a strained right hamstring. The move to the seven-day Southern League DL is retroactive to Saturday, the 20th, so he’ll miss the coming week. Francisco was hitting .261/.291/.471, with a rough 11-63 walk-strikeout ratio and 13 home runs in 67 games (276 at-bats). The 13 home runs ties Francisco with Mudcats teammate Chris Heisey for second in the SL behind Ryne Hughes, recently promoted from Montgomery to Triple-A Durham.
Yonder Alonso was placed on the seven-day disabled list at Double-A Carolina with a broken hamate bone in his right hand. Alonso injured his hand swinging on a 3-0 fastball in the second game of a doubleheader Thursday. According to a press release, the Reds—who drafted Alonso seventh overall last year out of Miami—plan to further assess Alonso in the coming days to determine his rehabilitation schedule.
The first baseman hit .302/.378/.503 with seven home runs and 37 RBIs. In his time with the Mudcats, he’s hitting .246/.309/.377 with one home run.
With the draft overtaking the Baseball America universe last week, the Prospect Injury Report is back this week with an extra-rich serving of prospect injuries.
Jarrod Parker, rhp, Diamondbacks: Pitching injuries can be devastating for a player and disappointing for a player development staff, but it has to be even more frustrating when the injury is a result of bad luck. The Diamondbacks placed Parker on the seven-day disabled list after a line drive struck his right wrist in the first inning on Saturday, causing him to leave the game. The X-rays were negative, but Parker will miss at least his next start. Parker, who at 20 has already reached Double-A Mobile, has a 3.19 ERA with a 46-20 K-BB mark in 42 1/3 innings with the BayBears after breezing through the high Class A California League in four starts to open the season.
Michael Ynoa, rhp, Athletics: Ynoa is paving new territory. It’s hard to imagine a more famous pitcher by the age of 16 than Ynoa, who has carried enormous expectations since signing last year on July 2 for an international record of $4.25 million. Now 17, Ynoa will have to wait at least another month to make his much-anticipated debut, which will likely come in the Rookie-level Arizona League. He had an MRI on his right elbow, which revealed "a right elbow strain with some inflammation around the ligament," according to the San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser.
Pablo Ozuna, a 34-year-old second baseman who signed with the Phillies as a minor league free agent in January, received a 50-game suspension for violating terms of the minor league drug prevention and treatment program. He showed an elevated testosterone/epitestosterone ratio, a performance-enhancing substance violation.
Playing for Triple-A Lehigh Valley, Ozuna was batting .294/.342/.396 with 15 doubles in 187 at-bats. He signed with the Cardinals out of the Dominican Republic in 1996 as a purported 17-year-old, but it was later revealed that he had used a falsified birth certificate to shave four years off his age.
That diminished Ozuna’s prospect status significantly, but he did rebound to fashion a career, most notably as a utility player with the White Sox for three seasons from 2005 to 2007. In that time, he batted .290/.327/.363 in 208 games—though he did not take a postseason at-bat in Chicago’s run to the 2005 World Series title. He did appear in two ALCS games as a pinch-runner, though, stealing a base and scoring a run.
The Mariners’ High Desert affiliate boasts the best record in the high Class A California League, a distinction they owe in large part to the circuit’s No. 1 offense. The Mavericks have outscored and out-homered their closest competition, Inland Empire, by margins of 86 runs and 18 home runs.
And while High Desert features one of the most favorable hitting environments found anywhere in the U.S., Seattle farm director Pedro Grifol insists that the club’s top talents—players such as third baseman Alex Liddi, center fielder Tyson Gillies and first baseman Joe Dunigan—are not simply a high-altitude mirage.
"I know it’s High Desert and it’s a great place to hit, but I feel like it’s taking some of the credit away from these kids," Grifol said. "Tommy Cruz is a great hitting coach who’s doing great things with this group. And let’s face it, these guys hit in every park." [...] Continue Reading »
Chris Nelson, ss, Rockies: Nelson hasn’t played for Double-A Tulsa since May 22, going on the disabled list with a sprained right wrist, according to BA correspondent Jack Etkin. Nelson injured his wrist sliding into second base on May 8. He returned after sitting out a few games, but has been unable to play as of late. Nelson had been playing well, batting .280/.355/.477 in 29 games in the Texas League. He also missed time last year with a broken hamate bone, which limited him to 81 games in 2008.
Jason Heyward, rf, Braves: Heyward hasn’t played since May 26 with what’s being described as "side pain." The Myrtle Beach Sun News reported the injury in early May as a hip flexory injury, and that’s been about the only thing that has been able to slow down Heyward thus far. Through 37 games with high Class A Myrtle Beach, the 19-year-old Heyward has hit .295/.373/.561 with 16 walks and 24 strikeouts.
Jake McGee, lhp, Rays: McGee hasn’t been on the field yet this year, and now it looks like he’ll be back a little later than originally expected. He had Tommy John surgery last July and was expected to finish his rehab program early this month, though his timetable has been pushed back roughly a month after he experienced some forearm tightness, according to the Montgomery Adviser. McGee’s new rehab program is now scheduled to be completed on June 26. When healthy, McGee had one of the best fastballs from the left side in pro ball, though at this point he might be a better fit in the bullpen than in the starting rotation.
Shooter Hunt, rhp, Twins: Hunt’s season has been downright miserable, and now he can add a trip to the seven-day disabled list with a strained groin to his struggles. We knew Hunt was going to have control problems as he rose through the minor league ranks when the Twins made him the 31st overall pick last year, but I’m not sure anyone expected Hunt to walk nearly two batters per inning. In 17 2/3 innings with low Class A Beloit, Hunt has allowed 23 runs (21 earned) for a 10.70 ERA, with 33 walks, four hit batsmen, seven wild pitches and 18 strikeouts. Not all hope is lost for Hunt, who can look at Daniel Bard’s turnaround for inspiration. Hunt doesn’t throw as hard as Bard does, but his fastball and curveball are plus pitches when they’re on, so a move to the bullpen could be in Hunt’s future.
Joe Benson, of, Twins: We’ve already had several prospects—Reds shortstop Chris Valaika, Red Sox shortstop Yamaico Navarro and Tigers center fielder Casper Wells, among others—go on the disabled list with hand or wrist injuries. Add Benson to that list, as the high Class A Fort Myers outfielder will miss about a month after he broke his hand punching a wall:
"We have some guys who will punch a wall from time to time," said Jim Rantz, the Twins’ director of minor leagues. "Unfortunately, the wall wins every time."
Tyler Colvin, lf, Cubs: Colvin suffered a concussion and was hospitalized after colliding with high Class A Daytona center fielder Tony Campana while ranging for a ball in left-center field on May 9. Both players had to be removed from the field on stretchers, according to the Daytona Beach News-Journal:
"It was very scary," said Cubs catcher Mark Reed, who saw the collision from Daytona’s bullpen. "That’s the worst collision I’ve ever seen. Something like that puts a sick feeling in your stomach and you just want them to know that they’re in your thoughts and prayers."
Both players had aggressively gone after a hard line drive off the bat of Clearwater’s Dominic Brown. They collided at full speed and were sprawled motionless on the turf.
"When I got to them Tony was out," right fielder Jonathan Wyatt said. "(Campana’s) eyes were turned right and he wasn’t awake. He had some blood in his mouth. It was pretty scary. I wanted to help him. I kept saying, ‘Tony, wake up.’ "
The Cubs placed Colvin on the DL, and he hasn’t played since the game of his collision. [...] Continue Reading »
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