Yankees fireballer Joba Chamberlain will make his long-awaited debut as a starter on Tuesday. He will be limited to 70 pitches. The entire East Coast media will be drooling.
Pedro Martinez will also make his long-awaited return to the Mets’ rotation Tuesday. Pedro claims that the Mets clubhouse would have been looser if he had been around. Let’s hope he can be awesome and injury free for the rest of the season, because who wouldn’t want to watch just a little bit more acery from one of the most entertaining pitchers of our generation?
No. 1 prospect in America Jay Bruce had 4 more hits on Friday, raising his batting average in his first 4 games to .571. That the Reds not only went out and sign Corey Patterson this winter specifically to block Bruce, but then stuck with him in the leadoff spot, for two whole months, despite his .200 average and his execrable .240 OBP, can only be taken as a searing indictment of Dusty Baker and departed GM Wayne Krivsky, and anyone else in the Reds organization who could have stepped in and put a stop to the madness. Bruce had nothing left to prove in the minor leagues since more than a year ago, and should have been starting in centerfield for the Reds on opening day.
Steeply declining Indians DH Travis Hafner has been put on the DL for generalized suckiness (officially, a “sore shoulder”). Hafner’s bat has fallen off a cliff the last two seasons, beyond what a mere sore shoulder can explain. He may not be truly this bad, but I think it is safe to say that the Indians are going to be regretting signing him to an extension through 2012 for years to come.
Red Sox ace Daisuke Matsuzaka will go on the DL with a strained rotator cuff, missing at least one start if not more. This means an encore performance of the Justin Masterson show. Everyone is talking about how all signs are as good as can be on Matsuzaka’s shoulder, but I don’t know if there can really be “good signs” when we are talking about some sort of rotator cuff problem.
The Carlos Gonzalez era has officially begun in Oakland, where the organization’s top prospect was called up on Friday and quietly got off to a fine 2 for 3 start, amid much less fanfare than that surrounding the callups of Bruce or Clayton Kershaw. I’m not sure if he’s really ready to hit in the Majors – his AAA stats still showed he has some issues with commanding the strike zone – but with Ryan Sweeney going on the DL, the A’s needed someone to play centerfield, and Gonzalez’s plus defense and rocket arm, at least, will play immediately.
Even less fanfare attended the Cardinals’ decision to call up outfielder Joe Mather, and surprisingly, send down Chris Duncan, who hadn’t exactly been sucky. It was already ridiculous how many talented young outfielders the Cardinals have all of a sudden, what with Ducan, and Rick Ankiel, and Skip Schumaker, and Ryan Ludwick, and Brian Barton. You can now add Mather to that list, as he already made a spectacular diving catch in his first game up, and he might have to be on your fantasy radar having already slugged 12 homers and posted a 1.077 OPS so far at Triple-A this season.
Rumors are starting to heat up again about Kenny Lofton possibly catching on with a big league team at last. Despite hitting .296 with 7 homers and 24 stolen bases last season, Lofton has yet to find a taker for his services this year. His defense has declined to the point where he should no longer be an everyday starter, and he can no longer hit left-handed pitching, but he can still put up strong numbers vs. right-handers and should be able to find a place on somebody’s roster as a part-timer. The Cubs and Mets continue to be rumored as destinations, and Lofton would make some sense for both squads. But in my view this is just people stirring up rumors as there has been no credible evidence that either team is willing to sign Lofton. But with lefty stick, ability to hit for average, and still-dangerous speed, it makes no sense that Lofton doesn’t at least have a role as a bench player when people like Mark Sweeney still have major league jobs.