Remember all those pitchers coming off of injuries that were supposed to come back and give your fantasy team an instant boost? The same pitchers that fantasy pundits (including yours truly) weâ€™re touting as lottery tickets that could wind up helping you achieve fantasy baseball glory? Yeah? Most of them are still on the DL and working their way back to a return.
Braves starter Brandon Beachy was supposedly going to be return â€œany week nowâ€ for the last month. He was almost all the way back from a Triple-A rehab assignment, but suffered a setback of sorts and is still undergoing tests. He underwent a MRI on Saturday and it showed â€œno structural damage.â€ Thatâ€™s good, but heâ€™s still not close pitching in an actual game and it sounds like heâ€™s going to be on the shelf a while longer.
Diamondbacks walking injury Daniel Hudson has suffered a re-tear of his ulnar collateral ligament. Heâ€™ll go under the knife again and start the rehab process all over. Hey, all this means is that fantasy pundits will be able to cut and past their 2013 off-season blurbs on Hudson into their 2014 offseason blurbs about Hudson.
Cubs starter Scott Baker started a rehab program, was shut down in spring training, resumed throwing in late April and…hasnâ€™t been heard from since. The lack of information on Baker is disturbing and itâ€™s looking more and more like â€œifâ€ rather than â€œwhenâ€ for Bakerâ€™s 2013 debut.
Marlins pitcher Nathan Eovaldi will actually make his season debut on Tuesday in Arizona. Raise your hands if you were holding onto the â€œEovaldiâ€ lottery ticket! Higher. Higher! Hmmm. Thereâ€™s unsurprising lack of hands going up. Eovaldi was very Eovaldi like during his rehab starts he struck out 15 in 20 2/3 innings over two different levels. Heâ€™s always had the stuff of a big-time strikeout pitcher, but heâ€™s never put it together at any level above Rookie League baseball. Plenty of good seats still available on his bandwagon.
Padres manager Bud Black was recently quoted as saying thereâ€™s a â€œdefinite possibility that Cory Luebke wonâ€™t pitch in 2013. He was shut down with elbow soreness and will try to start a throwing program in a couple weeks. Heâ€™s absolutely droppable even if youâ€™re a member of his family. He was probably the trendiest of late round flyers during the off-season. This is why we see so many lottery tickets end up in the trash or, in Luebke’s case, pegged as a sleeper for 2014.
The good news is that Royals starter Danny Duffy is in the middle of a rehab program at Triple-A. The bad news is that he was absolutely lit in his last outing. He was blasted for six runs on seven hits in two walks in only 2 1/3 innings. He might be fully healthy in a few weeks, but itâ€™s going to take a run of competent outings before he gets back to striking out and walking lots of batters at the major league level.
Meanwhile, Duffyâ€™s teammate Felipe Paulino is having much better success in his rehab at the Royals Double-A affiliate. Paulino threw five scoreless innings with six Kâ€™s and two walks last Tuesday. Heâ€™s in-line for a few more starts, but appears to be a solid bet to beat Duffy to the majors this year.
Yankees disappointment Michael Pineda threw 5 2/3 innings in an intra-squad game last Friday. Is â€œintra-squadâ€ code for â€œthe office softball teamâ€? They didnâ€™t think he could finish the sixth? Did the pitching coach tell him, â€œYouâ€™ve done enough today against these middle-aged accountants working at the Yankee offices in Tampa. Hit the showers, kid.â€ To be fair to Pineda, he didnâ€™t give up any runs, but did allow three hits while striking out five. Heâ€™ll continue his rehab at the Yankees High-A affiliate and could be back in the majors before the All-star break.
The Rangers have a trio of lottery tickets involved in various stages of rehab. Colby Lewis successfully threw off a â€œhalf-moundâ€ last Friday after experiencing soreness earlier in the week. Throwing off a â€œhalf-moundâ€ doesnâ€™t deserve a â€œsuccessfullyâ€ when someone has pitched as long as Lewis has. The current time table has Lewis progressing to a regular, man-sized mound fairly soon and working his way back to the big club by July.
Neftali Feliz is also throwing off a half-mound. Is it safe to assume heâ€™s using the same half-mound as Lewis? You donâ€™t hear about the half-mound very often, so itâ€™s a reasonable guess that teams donâ€™t keep them around. The groundskeeper must hate these guys. â€œAll that work to prep the real mound and these sissies need a half-mound.â€ Feliz isnâ€™t expected to return until August at the earliest and sounds like a decent bet to join Luebke in the â€œI skipped 2013â€ club.
It sounds like a minor league rehab assignment is imminent for Rangers reliever Joakim Soria. Do relievers really need the full rehab program? It seems to be really silly to make a reliever do the same amount of work when he only has to throw about 1/3 of the innings of a starter. He could be back in the majors by the end of the month and could usurp the closerâ€™s role if Joe Nathan ever struggles.
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