Gordon Beckham, ss, White Sox: Beckham’s outstanding start to his pro career will be briefly on delay. The 2008 first-round pick hasn’t played since Thursday due to a strained abdominal muscle. Beckham, 22, has been crushing the Double-A Southern League with a .303/.381/.505 line through 26 games. He has only two home runs, but Birmingham’s home park suppresses home run output, so Beckham has piled up the doubles with 14, second in the SL to the Reds’ Todd Frazier.
Neftali Feliz, rhp, Rangers: Feliz is expected to return to Triple-A Oklahoma’s rotation tomorrow after missing his last start with a sore shoulder. He’ll also need to start throwing more strikes when he returns to lower his 5.03 ERA after five starts. Feliz’s power arm has helped him strike out 21 batters in 19 2/3 innings, but he’s also walked 16.
Josh Reddick, of, Red Sox: Reddick hit his sixth home run of the season on Thursday, but he also strained his oblique muscle on that same swing and went on the seven-day disablied list, according to BA correspondent Alex Speier, who expects Reddick to miss more than just seven days.
“Those things are obviously tricky. We’re going to be extremely cautious here because we don’t want any reaggravation of the injury,” said farm director Mike Hazen. “Being that he’s an aggressive swinger, you somewhat have to be mindful of that. He’s doing better in the first couple of days, which is good. We’ll see how it goes from here.”
Reddick, 22, was off to a promising start for Double-A Portland, hitting .288/.358/.644 in 17 games with eight walks and 18 strikeouts.
Jose Tabata, of, Pirates: Tabata will be out for four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring. Tabata, who ranked as Pittsburgh’s No. 3 prospect entering the season, was batting .250/.324/.297 for Double-A Altoona with six walks and just four strikeouts in 17 games. Despite being only 20 years old, Tabata has proven to be somewhat injury prone since signing out of Venezuela in 2005. He also missed time last year with a strained hamstring following the midseason trade from the Yankees, and he had hand surgery in August 2007 to remove the hamate bone in his right wrist.
Jordan Walden, rhp, Angels: Has any organization had a worse April than the Angels? With key injuries in the big league rotation and lineup, an 8-11 start (third in the American League West), the tragic death of Nick Adenhart and having a pair of their top pitching prospects go on the seven-day disabled list last week, it hasn’t been the best of times for the Angels. Now Walden is on the DL, too, with inflammation in his right elbow. The Double-A Arkansas righthander was scheduled to have an MRI on Monday.
Lorenzo Cain, cf, Brewers: Cain didn’t join Double-A Huntsville until April 20 after nursing a sore hamstring back to health. He returned for four games, then injured his left knee while attempting a diving catch at Carolina on Thursday. The speedy 22-year-old will miss four to six weeks with a torn posterial cruciate ligament, a much better diagnosis than what was originally feared as a possible season-ending anterior cruciate ligament tear.
Kelvin De La Cruz, lhp, Indians: Hard to script a better start to a season than what de la Cruz, Cleveland’s top starting pitching prospect, had for high Class A Kinston in his first two starts. He pitched 12 innings, posting a 1.50 ERA with two walks and 19 strikeouts. But the Indians had to scratch 20-year-old Dominican from his next scheduled start on April 19 with tightness in his left forearm, and he hasn’t pitched since. The Indians could know more in a few days when de la Cruz goes to Cleveland to see the team’s medical staff there.
Mason Tobin, rhp, Angels: The Angels placed Tobin, their No. 10 prospect, on the seven-day disabled list after Tobin left Wednesday’s game against Visalia with shoulder soreness, according to the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin:
"We’ll have to wait and see," Quakes manager Keith Johnson said. "We’ll see how he is in a few days, and if he feels OK, he’ll start throwing on the side. There is no timetable."
In his third appearance of the season, Tobin entered the game in the eighth inning and recorded two outs, but left after allowing four runs (none earned), two walks and one hit. Tobin was limited to 37 1/3 innings last year, when he strained his shoulder and didn’t pitch after June 6.
If you had Mariners righthander Juan Ramirez pegged for greater things, well, then you’re not alone. He fanned 113 Midwest League batters last season in 124 innings, all while showing markedly-improved command. And after two starts for high Class A High Desert this year, the 20-year old Nicaraguan was 2-0, 0.79.
While one might hesitate to call Ramirez’s start to the season dominating—mostly because he’s walked five and struck out just four through 11 1/3 innings—he clearly has been unhittable. And that’s true regardless of which definition one uses. The 6-foot-3, 175-pound Ramirez has limited California League batters to a .111 average (4-for-36), allowing just one home run, which he surrendered at Stater Bros. Stadium, his home turf in Adelanto, Calif.
One scout who saw Ramirez last season raved about the easy 92-94 mph velocity and plus life that the pitcher generates. And it’s that ability to keep the ball off the barrel of opposing batters—and to keep it on the ground—which has most benefited him in the hostile Cal League. Thus far, he’s recorded 21 groundouts and nine flyouts, good for a 2.33 ratio. [...] Continue Reading »
Padres outfielder Chad Huffman already has smacked two home runs for Triple-A Portland, helping to erase the memory of spending a year and a half in San Antonio’s Wolff Stadium, a notoriously tough park for righthanded power hitters. The evidence: He clubbed only one homer at home last year, and eight on the road. But other Padres’ prospects have to wait for their opportunity to make a strong early impression.
Portland second baseman Matt Antonelli, 24, racked up 32 spring-training at-bats, showing his trademark selectivity (.351 OBP). But he came down with soreness in his right quad and began the year on the disabled list. [...] Continue Reading »
We’re rolling out a new feature in 2009 by introducing the Baseball America weekly prospect injury report. Every Wednesday, we’ll track down prospect injuries for you, letting you know who’s hurt, how they got hurt, how much time they will miss and who’s coming back from the disabled list. For spring training and offseason injury notes, check out our organizational roster previews.
Aaron Cunningham, of, Athletics: Oakland’s top positional prospect is on the disabled list after separating his shoulder on Sunday in a home-plate collision with Triple-A Tacoma (Mariners) catcher Jeff Clement. The A’s say that Cunningham, who turns 23 next week, could return to the field in a couple of weeks, though at this point that’s more of an educated guess depending on the severity of the damage to his shoulder.
Bryan Morris, rhp, Pirates: BA correspondent John Perrotto tells us that the Pirates have placed Morris on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette expects Morris to miss four to six weeks with "significantly restricted range of motion" in his shoulder. Morris’ career has been sidetracked by injuries since he signed with the Dodgers as a first-round pick out of Motlow State (Tenn.) CC in 2006. He missed the entire 2007 season to have Tommy John surgery, then returned to the low Class A Midwest League to pitch 81 2/3 innings before the Dodgers sent him to the Pirates in the three-way deal that sent Manny Ramirez to the Dodgers and Jason Bay to the Red Sox. Morris threw 14 1/3 innings last year for the Pirates before the team shut him down when Morris felt pain in his shoulder.
Logan Morrison will miss the next six to eight weeks of the season after fracturing his right wrist while playing first base on Friday for Double-A Jacksonville, according to BA correspondent Mike Berardino:
Morrison brought his glove hand, the right hand, into the baseline to fetch an errant throw and got it caught on the baserunner as he sped by.
"We were hoping it was just a bruise, but the MRI showed it was an emulsion fracture," (Marlins vice president of scouting and player develoment Jim) Fleming said. "It’s not a big deal. It’s in a splint right now and they’re debating whether to cast it or not."
Morrison, 21, hit .332/.402/.494 in 130 games last year in the high Class A Florida State League, then went on to dominate in the Arizona Fall League. Morrison is Florida’s No. 3 prospect behind center fielder Cameron Maybin and right fielder Mike Stanton, and is the No. 18 prospect in all of baseball.
The season’s first significant injury belongs to Mariners third baseman Carlos Triunfel, who suffered a left leg injury on Friday night while sliding into second base in Double-A West Tenn’s game at Montgomery.
The 19-year-old Dominican, who played in the Arizona Fall League last October and November, will be evaluated by team doctors either Monday or Tuesday in Seattle, said farm director Pedro Grifol.
The Mariners will then know the likely length of Triunfel’s absence and the extent of his injury, likely a broken fibula.
"It’s unfortunate because he was comfortable, he was playing well and he was playing hard according to our coaches," Grifol said Sunday afternoon. "But he’s young. It’s just a bump in the road, and he’s got to get through it."
The injury came as Triunfel tried to break up a double play in the fourth inning of West Tenn’s 10-1 win. He had hit an RBI double in the first inning and a linedrive single to left in the fourth.
Apparently Triunfel’s cleat got caught in the dirt, according this report by the Montgomery Advertiser.
"He’s really disappointed. But he’s in good spirits," Grifol said. "He’s a hard worker so whatever comes his way, he’s going to overcome it."
The injury led to roster moves, with infielder Erick Monzon, 27, being added to West Tenn. The club will use utilityman Oswaldo Navarro and is expected to activate infielder Ronnie Prettyman from the disabled list in a few days.
Regardless of when Triunfel returns, Grifol already is thinking ahead, with possible plans to send Triunfel to the Arizona Fall League and possibly a winter league assignment as well.
He was expected to play third, short and second this season, continuing a plan that the Mariners started last year in the Arizona Fall League. Last season at high Class A High Desert, Triunfel hit .287.336/.406 with eight home runs and 20 doubles, with 49 RBIs, in 436 at-bats.
Major League Baseball suspended Cardinals pitcher Deryk Hooker 50 games after he tested positive for "a drug of abuse." MLB did not specify what it was that caused Hooker to test positive.
Hooker had an excellent year in 2008 between the Rookie-level Appalachian League and the low Class A Midwest League. He struck out 73 batters in 65 innings, walking 20 and finishing with a 2.77 ERA. Hooker, 19, is a 6-foot-4, 185-pound righthander and a seventh-round pick in 2007 from Mira Mesa (Calif.) High.
The Pirates asked Jarek Cunningham to come to camp early this year to get him a head start at his new position. But he’ll have to wait until 2010 to start his first full season after tearing the ACL in his left knee during a drill on Saturday, according to MLB.com.
Cunningham, 19, will miss the entire 2009 season after hitting .318/.387/.507 in 43 games in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League last summer. An 18th-round pick out of Mount Spokane (Wash.) High, Cunningham signed for an above-slot $100,000 bonus. He played mostly at third base and shortstop last year, but the Pirates were expected to move him to second base this year.
Usually it’s a pitcher succumbing to Tommy John surgery or a shoulder operation, but this year the first major prospect injury appears to belong to a position player.
Playing in a minor league B game, Dodgers infielder Ivan DeJesus broke his left leg as he slid into home and had to be carted away from the field, according to BA correspondent Tony Jackson. The injury, a broken left tibia, might cause DeJesus to miss the entire 2009 season, according to Dodgers manager Joe Torre.
DeJesus, who turns 22 on May 1, batted .324/.423/.419 in 128 games last year with Double-A Jacksonville last year, playing primarily at shortstop but also seeing significant time at second base. This offseason the Dodgers signed Rafael Furcal through 2011 with a club option for 2012, so DeJesus didn’t appear to be in the Dodgers’ long-term plans at shortstop. The club recently signed Orlando Hudson to a one-year, $3.38 million contract to play second base, a position that DeJesus seemingly could have stepped into at some point in 2010 after more development in the minors.
Fernando Martinez is hurt—again.
The Mets’ No. 1 overall prospect was enjoying a stellar campaign in winter ball, dominating the Dominican League during the regular season and hitting a pinch-hit home run in the Caribbean Series.
But now Martinez, who turned 20 in October, is heading back to New York to have his right elbow checked out, according to MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez.
"I felt my elbow tighten up the day before yesterday (after throwing)," Martinez said. "It was a little swollen. It’s better. I feel I can play again. I don’t think I need to fly to New York to get a check up but the Mets want me to."
Since signing for a seven-figure bonus out of the Dominican Republic in 2005 and making his debut in 2006, Martinez has racked up a medical file that includes (with regular season games played in parentheses):
The Rangers’ 2009 season is already starting to look eerily similar to that of 2008.
Eric Hurley, a righthander that Texas eyed for a starting rotation slot, is likely to miss the season after undergoing surgery Wednesday to repair a torn rotator cuff, according to The Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Hurley, a first-round pick in 2004, had spent the offseason trying to get his shoulder ready. This after the Rangers shut him down in August shortly after a July 27 start in which the Athletics battered him for six earned runs in only two innings. [...] Continue Reading »
Catcher Max Sapp, the Astros’ 2006 first-round pick, has been in the hospital for more than two weeks with a case of meningitis, according to a report in the Houston Chronicle. Sapp, 20, underwent surgery for a severe sinus infection and contracted the illness. His breathing has been assisted by a respirator.
Sapp hit .200/.282/.294 with four home runs and 29 RBIs in 74 games with low Class A Lexington in 2008. He signed for $1.4 million out of Bishop Moore High in Orlando, Fla., but has struggled at the plate in three years as a pro. He’s battled hip and back injuries during his career and has yet to hit better than .241 in any of his three seasons.
Pirates righthander Bryan Morris had surgery to repair a ligament in his right big toe and will miss at least the first month of the 2009 season, Pirates correspondent John Perrotto reports. The 21-year-old Morris joined the organization at the 2008 trade deadline in the three-team deal that sent Jason Bay to the Red Sox and Manny Ramirez to the Dodgers.
The Dodgers selected Morris out of Motlow (Tenn.) CC with the 26th overall pick in the 2006 draft, but he struggled with his control in his debut, walking 40 batters in 60 Pioneer League innings. Following the season, he had Tommy John surgery that knocked him out for the entire 2007 campaign.
Morris returned to the mound in April 2008 to pitch effectively for low Class A Great Lakes. He went 2-4, 3.20 with 72 strikeouts and 31 walks in 82 innings before his trade to the Pirates. He made three largely ineffective starts for low Class A Hickory after the trade.
The eighth overall pick in the 2007 draft will miss the entire 2009 season.
Rockies righthander Casey Weathers will likely undergo Tommy John surgery after getting a second medical opinion, according to Baseball America columnist Tracy Ringolsby.
Weathers, 23, worked in the mid- to high-90s with his fastball and mixed in a high-80s slider this season for Double-A Tulsa, though he often struggled with his command. After posting a 3.05 ERA with 28 walks and 54 strikeouts in 44 1/3 innings out of the Drillers’ bullpen, Weathers joined the U.S. Olympic team in Beijing. Weathers had been pitching in the Arizona Fall League as well.
Twins outfielder Ben Revere will undergo a minor surgery to remove loose particles from his left knee, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports. Revere, who was with low Class A Beloit, hadn’t played since Aug. 18, and the announcement comes after he had returned to Minnesota to have his knee examined by a team doctor.
Revere, 20, was kept in extended spring training through most of April, but he had no problems adjusting to the Midwest League after joining Beloit late in the month. With a compact swing and a great understanding of the strike-zone, Revere maintained an average over .400 as late as July 24 and will finish the year at .379/.433/.497 in 340 at-bats. A first-round pick in 2007, Revere overcame doubts about his size (5-foot-9, 166 pounds) and has become the likely No. 1 prospect in the Twins system. He impressed with his defense in center field and his speed on the bases as well, where he was 44-for-57 in steal attempts. The announcement also comes one day after Revere was named the Midwest League’s most valuable player.
According to a report in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Pirates are shutting down righthander Bryan Morris for the remainder of the season due to pain in his right biceps just below the shoulder. The injury is not considered serious, as an examination revealed no damage to the labrum or rotator-cuff.
Morris was acquired as part of the Manny Ramirez trade on July 31, when he was one of the four prospects the Pirates netted in return for sending outfielder Jason Bay to the Red Sox. The 21-year-old Morris had been enjoying a breakout season for low Class A Great Lakes in the Dodgers organization, going 2-4, 3.12 in 81 2/3 innings. After the trade, Morris made only three starts for Hickory, the Pirates’ low Class A affiliate, before going down. He pitched five shutout innings in his debut Aug. 5, but struggled in his final two starts. He gave up nine runs–eight earned–in 9 1/3 innings over his last two outings, losing both times. He finishes the year 0-2, 5.02 for Hickory, and 2-6, 3.47 overall between his two stops.
The Yankees have placed Double-A center fielder Austin Jackson, the No. 2 prospect in the system entering the season, on the disabled list. Jackson is reportedly nursing a back injury.
Jackson, 21, was hitting .287/.357/.425 with 19 steals in 25 attempts for Trenton. He left Friday’s game against Reading after just two plate appearances. With only a week left to go in the minor league season, the injury could end Jackson’s season.
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