The Oakland A's, who have led the American League West for most of the season, enter a weekend series with the Los Angeles Angels in second place, two games behind the Angels. To battle the Angels this weekend and down the stretch for a chance to win the division, the A's will need all their pieces in place. The good news is that outfielder Craig Gentry has been activated from the disabled list.
Cincinnati Reds All Star first baseman Joey Vottohas yet to start what the team calls "baseball activities," but he is jogging and the recent strength test results are encouraging, manager Bryan Price said, according to C. Trent Rosecrans of Cincinnati.com. From the same reporter comes news that RHP Homer Bailey, on the DL since August 8 with a bulging disc, has not yet begun throwing.
Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman (strained right hamstring) took a step toward his expected September return by playing catch for about ten minutes on Thursday, reports Daniel Popper of MLB.com. Outfielder Steven Souza Jr (bruised left shoulder) began his rehab at Single-A Hagerstown, according to Tim Murray of ESPN980.com.
The San Diego Padres enter a weekend series with the Los Angeles Angels with a record of 59-67, third in the National League West. The Padres have struggled offensively, ranking 30th in the Major Leagues in runs scored. Injuries have also hampered the team, who have eight players currently on the disabled list. One player who has been improving is shortstop Everth Cabrera, who will start jogging on Monday.
The New York Mets enter a three-game series with the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday with a record of 60-68, fourth in the National League East. At 26th in the Major Leagues in runs scored, the Mets have been carried by a staff that is 9th in the league in ERA. One member of the staff that has been injured but should return soon is Daisuke Matsuzaka, who was impressive in his rehab start last night for the Brooklyn Cyclones.
The Kansas City Royals dodged a bullet last night, as young catcher Salvador Perez's MRI on his knee came back clean. Manager Ned Yost told MLB.com's Dick Kaegel that the procedure was just a precaution and mainly for peace of mind for Perez. He also said that Perez is expected to be back in the lineup some time this weekend.
The San Diego Padres entered Thursday's game against the Los Angeles Dodgers with a record of 59-66, third in the National League West. The Padres have been hindered by injuries, as eight players and five pitchers are currently on the disabled list. Another pitcher who has been hampered of late is reliever Joaquin Benoit, who has been battling a nagging shoulder issue.
The St. Louis Cardinals enter a weekend series tonight against the Philadelphia Phillies with a record of 69-57, second in the National League Central. At 28th in the Major Leagues in runs scored, the Cardinals will need to improve in order to keep pace with the Milwaukee Brewers down the stretch. One player who should help is All-Star catcher Yadier Molina, who is progressing in recovery from a right thumb injury.
Pittsburgh Pirates star Andrew McCutchen recently returned
from a stint on the disabled list after suffering an avulsion fracture of his 11th rib.
Believing that the initial injury was related to the oblique muscle, the
Pirates hoped that McCutchen would avoid the DL. After all, the center fielder
was putting up MVP type numbers yet again with a slash line of .311/.411/.536, 17
home runs, 67 RBI, and a league leading OPS+ of 168.
In recent weeks, the Detroit Tigers have given up their lead in the American League Central and they could certainly do without the current injury concerns with two of their most prominent players, Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander.
After winning the World Series a season ago, the Boston Red Sox have stumbled to 56-70, last in the American League East. One bright sport this season has been the play of 38-year old designated hitter David Ortiz, who hit his 30th home run of the season yesterday. It's the ninth time in his career to hit the 30-home run mark in a season. In other news, the Red Sox have activated Allen Craig, who has missed most of the month with a sprained foot.
Last night the Los Angeles Angels hopes for a World Championship took a crushing blow as Garrett Richards had to be taken off the field on a stretcher with a knee injury. Today the news got worse as Gordon Edes reported that he has been placed on the 60 day disabled list with a torn patellar tendon and will be out up to nine months.
The San Francisco Giants need a full-strength roster to stay in the playoff hunt. Unfortunately, with Buster Posey hurting and slumping, and both Brandon Belt and Hector Sanchez potentially done for the year because of concussions, that's exactly what they haven't got.
Milwaukee Brewers starters Kyle Lohse and Matt Garza should both be returning to the rotation in time to help the team in another close NL Central battle. The same can't be said of reliever Jim Henderson, who has undergone shoulder surgery after a difficult season in which he has never really been able to find his form or his health.
The Pittsburgh Pirates defeated the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday by the score of 4-3. The win improved the Pirates to 65-62, six games behind the Milwaukee Brewers in the National League Central. The Pirates remain in the thick of the wild card race and have a shot to make a run at the Brewers. They need a pitching staff, that is ranked 18th in the league in ERA, to step it up. A concern is the health of starter Charlie Morton, who is out with a hip injury and now has been diagnosed with a sports hernia.