To say this has been a frustrating season for Giancarlo Stanton, the Yankees’ slugging outfielder, would probably be beyond an understatement. On the season, he has been limited to just 31 at-bats in nine games, hitting .290/.421/.419 with a home run and seven runs batted in during that stretch.
Why has he been so limited? Until last week it was due to a biceps strain, something that knocked him out for nearly two months. After just returning, though, he is headed back to the injured list, this time with a strained posterior collateral ligament in his right knee. To make matters worse for Stanton and the Yankees, he is expected to miss the entire month of July and won’t be back until August at the earliest (assuming no setbacks).
With the Yankees comfortably 6.5 games ahead of the Rays going into play Friday, they can afford to not rush their star outfielder back. What will be interesting is what this injury does for the future of outfielder Clint Frazier. He seemed to destined to be traded by the deadline, but with Stanton out, he may be kept for depth purposes.
Players Designated For Assignment
A couple of notable players were designated for assignment recently by their teams. First, it appears that the Chicago White Sox are going to be cutting ties with first baseman and designated hitter Yonder Alonso. If you recall, part of the reason that the White Sox signed Alonso in the offseason was to try to woo his brother-in-law, Manny Machado, to the south side. Unfortunately for the White Sox, that plan didn’t work as Machado went to San Diego. What is getting Alonso cut, though, has been his poor play. On the season, he is hitting just .178/.275/.301 with seven home runs, 27 runs batted in and 23 runs scored in 219 at-bats.
It also appears that Hernan Perez will be designated for assignment by the Milwaukee Brewers. This one comes as a little more of a shock given Perez’s ability to play multiple positions, a trait that makes it likely he is scooped up by another team sooner than later. The only position that Perez did not play in his time with the Brewers was catcher (yes, he did have a handful of relief appearances). For Perez, this season he was hitting just .235/.277/.383 with five home runs, 11 runs batted in and 20 runs scored in 149 at-bats.
Speaking of the Brewers, it also appears that they are promoting top prospect Keston Hiura back to the majors and optioning Travis Shaw back to the minors. Shaw, who mashed 63 home runs over his first couple seasons in Milwaukee, has only hit six this year while batting well below the Mendoza line. He will hope to get it figured out in the minors and return sooner than later.
Hicks Has Tommy John Surgery
One of the most fascinating relievers to watch throw will sadly be shut down for the foreseeable future. Jordan Hicks, the Cardinals’ hurler who consistently can throw above 100 miles per hour, suffered a torn ulnar collateral ligament and had Tommy John surgery last Wednesday. With that surgery, it will likely keep the hard thrower out until at least after next year’s All-Star break.
On the season, the 22-year-old Hicks was 2-2 with 14 saves in 15 chances. He had a 3.14 ERA, 0.94 WHIP and opponents were hitting just .163 against him. In 28 2/3 innings pitched, he had allowed 16 hits, 10 earned runs and had struck out 31 versus 11 walks. In his absence, it appears that the Cardinals are turning to Carlos Martinez initially to take over the closer’s role. Here is hoping for a quick recovery for Hicks in his rehab.
Checking In On Kimbrel And Keuchel
In Thursday’s game against the Atlanta Braves, the Chicago Cubs welcomed their new closer, Craig Kimbrel, into the mix and immediately threw him to the fire in a save situation. Although a little shaky, allowing one hit and one walk, he did pick up his first save of the season with his new club.
For Kimbrel and fellow pitcher Dallas Keuchel, it was a long offseason that finally ended when the two signed following the start of the 2019 Major League draft. For Kimbrel, he finally worked himself up to game shape and is now with the Cubs. For Keuchel, he surprisingly found himself ready much quicker than the reliever and has already made two starts for the Braves. In those starts he is 1-1 with a 5.06 ERA, 1.78 WHIP and opponents are hitting .356 against him. Obviously, those two starts are far too few a sample size for concern, but for the Cubs and Braves, they are just happy to have the two up to try to help with their respective pitching staffs.
All-Star Game Starting Lineups Announced
On Thursday night, the starting lineups for the All-Star Game were announced. Granted, the starters are selected by fans and can occasionally become more of a popularity vote than selecting those truly deserving, but for the most part, I think the fans got it right. Major League Baseball did use a new voting technique this year as the first wave of voting isolated it to the top three at each position and then the second round chose the starters. Barring injuries, though, these will be your starters for the game on July 9:
Catcher – Gary Sanchez, Yankees
First Base – Carlos Santana, Indians
Second Base – DJ LeMahieu, Yankees
Third Base – Alex Bregman, Astros
Shortstop – Jorge Polanco, Twins
Outfield – Mike Trout, Angels
Outfield – George Springer, Astros
Outfield – Michael Brantley, Astros
Designated Hitter – Hunter Pence, Rangers
Catcher – Willson Contreras, Cubs
First Base – Freddie Freeman, Braves
Second Base – Ketel Marte, Diamondbacks
Third Base – Nolan Arenado, Rockies
Shortstop – Javier Baez, Cubs
Outfield – Christian Yellich, Brewers
Outfield – Cody Bellinger, Dodgers
Outfield – Ronald Acuna Jr, Braves