Around the Major Leagues: 2013 Week 3

Pierce Jefferson provides updates on the major news across MLB during the third week of the season.

AL East


- Baltimore made a surprising run to the postseason last year due in large part to their success against opponents in their division.  According to the Baltimore Sun, the Orioles have the most wins against AL East opponents since the beginning of 2012 with 50, ahead of the Yankees at 46.  With a 7-5 record against the AL East to start the season, they will need all of that success to repeat a postseason appearance.


- Closer Joel Hanrahan will have to sit on the bench for a couple weeks and wait out his opportunity to right the ship on a poor start.  The Boston hurler has a blown save on the season coupled with a towering earned-run average (11.57), as he has walked five over 4.2 innings and served up three home runs.  Andrew Bailey will slide into the closer spot, hoping to make an immediate impression on a role the former A's closer lost in 2012 due to injury.


- Top pitching prospect Allen Webster got the call for the Red Sox to give the team another starter for their day-night doubleheader against the Royals on Sunday.  The talented fireballer recorded a quality start by surrendering three runs (two earned) over six innings with five strikeouts.  Webster will be sent back down to Triple-A but is due to play a larger role for Boston later in the year.


- Several Rays fans and baseball pundits are calling for the promotion of top prospect Wil Myers given their anemic offensive start to the season.  Tampa Bay is reluctant to make the call, as they would control the outfielder for an additional season if they wait until late-April or early-May to promote him.  Tampa's front office has denied that they would allow this to factor into their decision to promote Myers, but the questions will remain until that time comes.  Until then, either put on ear plugs or get used to the various screams for Myers, who is hitting .304 with a .834 OPS through 15 games with the Triple-A Durham Bulls.


- Speaking of Rays prospects, Tampa Bay just lost its best back-up to struggling shortstop Yunel Escobar. Hak-Ju Lee tore ligaments in his knee on a collision at second base at Triple-A Durham and will be out for the remainder of the season.


- Shortstop Derek Jeter received another setback this week - only this one is much greater than before.  Tests revealed a small crack in his injured ankle, which will put the Yankees' most recognizable star out until sometime after the All-Star Break.


- Brett Lawrie returned to third base for the Blue Jays on Tuesday, but the Canadian went just 4-for-23 with nine strikeouts and no walks through the end of the week.  Toronto will need Lawrie to hit to his potential if they expect to erase their cold start.


AL Central


- Prince Fielder smashed his way to the AL Player of the Week Award for the second week of the season.  The Tigers first baseman hit .632 with two home runs, four doubles, 11 RBI, and nine walks in six games.


- The Indians will be without their leadoff hitter and center fielder for at least a couple of weeks, as Michael Bourn was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a spike wound on his right index finger.  Bourn was off to a hot start with a .303 batting average and .375 on-base percentage through 10 games.  The speedy outfielder also popped two home runs.


- Bourn wasn't Cleveland's only loss.  Starter Brett Myers will not throw for two weeks after straining a ligament in his elbow.  Cleveland fans, on the other hand, may not consider it a loss as Myers has coughed up 10 home runs with an 8.02 earned-run average in his first four appearances.  According to the Plain Dealer, no starter has ever surrendered 10 home runs in his first four appearances.


- Power-hitting outfield prospect Oswaldo Arcia was promoted to the Twins twice this past week, the second time when outfielder Darin Mastroianni was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a stress reaction in his left ankle.  Arcia singled in his first MLB at-bat and looks to make an impression in his brief time with the Twins.  Be sure to tune in, as Arcia has the potential to become an All-Star in future years.


- Chicago will be without a power bat in left field, as Dayan Viciedo will miss roughly three weeks with a strained left oblique.  Viciedo has struggled to start the season with a .229 batting average and 16 strikeouts compared to zero walks.


AL West


- The Astros optioned first baseman Brett Wallace to Triple-A on Thursday after his 1-for-24 start to the season.  Wallace struck out a staggering 17 times, though teammate Rick Ankiel has 23 strikeouts in only 11 more at-bats.


- Albert Pujols is battling inflammation of the tissue across the bottom of his foot that has relegated him to DH duties, according to the LA Times.  The Times also quoted him in saying, "I'm dying.  It's hurting real bad."  The foot issue hasn't stopped the future Hall of Famer from besting his poor start from last season with a .317/.436/.508 batting line.


- Matt Harrison is likely out until after the All-Star break after needing back surgery to alleviate a herniated disc.  The Rangers starter was already on the disabled list with a sore back.


NL East


- The second NL Player of the Week award goes to… drum roll… Matt Harvey of the New York Mets.  The exciting young hurler went 2-0 in two starts this past week with a 1.20 earned-run average, flirting with a no-hitter through six and two-third innings against the Twins.  According to the New York Daily News, Harvey is the first pitcher since 1900 to win each of his first three starts of a season, with at least 25 strikeouts and six or fewer hits allowed over those three games.  The talented right-hander is set to have a remarkable season.


- Catcher John Buck blasted his seventh home run to end the week for the Mets, which is already two more than Mets catchers combined for all of last year.


- Brian McCann's rehab from shoulder surgery hit a slight delay when the catcher developed soreness in his right wrist.  Expected to only miss a day or two, McCann was back on the field soon after.  There is no timetable on McCann's return to the Braves lineup, though Evan Gattis has more than made up offensively for his absence.


- Young phenom Bryce Harper required an IV before the Wednesday night contest against the Marlins after missing one game with the flu.  Harper then vomited between innings at one point.  None of that stopped the Nationals outfielder, as Harper went 4-for-5 with a double and RBI.  Harper later changed his name to Chuck Norris.


- Third base prospect Anthony Rendon blistered the ball in spring training, leading to questions about his future role with the Nationals.  Ryan Zimmerman's placement on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left hamstring allowed Rendon to make his major league debut on Sunday against the Mets.  The top prospect went hitless in four at-bats.


NL Central


- The Cubs and City of Chicago came to agreement this past week of a $500 million renovation deal for Wrigley Field.  According to the Chicago Tribune, the deal includes more night games for the Cubs and a Jumbotron-like screen in left field.  Cubs owner Tom Ricketts subsequently promised a World Series title, though the owner was shockingly subtle in detailing when that might happen.


- Cincinnati promoted starter Tony Cingrani to take Johnny Cueto's place in the rotation.  The left-hander had video-game like numbers in three starts in Triple-A, as Cingrani held the opposition scoreless in 14.1 innings with 26 strikeouts and only two walks.  Cingrani's strikeout rate continued in his MLB debut, as he fanned eight batters over five innings and earned his first MLB win against the Miami Marlins.


- The Cincinnati Inquirer examined catcher Devin Mesoraco's opportunity at cementing himself as the Reds starting catcher here.  Starting catcher Ryan Hanigan was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left oblique and is off to a rough start with only three hits in 38 at-bats.


- Brewers starter Yovani Gallardo was in the news for all the wrong reasons this past week.  The right-hander received a DUI after blowing a 0.22, almost three times the legal limit of 0.08.  The incident once again sparked the debate about the lack of aggression Major League Baseball has had in dealing with players and managers who receive DUIs.  It begs the question at what point does something seriously wrong have to happen for MLB to take action.


- Milwaukee brought back reliever Francisco Rodriguez with a minor league deal that includes an opt-out clause if he isn't promoted within 30 days.  Though general manager Doug Melvin indicated to Tom Haudricourt of the Journal Sentinel that the move had nothing to do with John Axford being removed as closer, the Brewers need an improvement in the backend of ballgames.


- A.J. Burnett had a game that he'll remember well into his later years, as the Pirates hurler recorded his 2,000th career strikeout on Wednesday night.  Burnett held the Cardinals hitless through 6 2/3 innings before allowing a double to Carlos Beltran.


- Mitchell Boggs became the third closer in the NL Central to lose his job through the first two weeks of the season.  The Cardinals pitcher has allowed 13 hits and seven walks in 8.2 innings with an astronomical 12.46 earned-run average, as he has blown two saves.


AL West


- Arizona suffered a major loss to their infield after Aaron Hill went down with a slight surface fracture on his left hand after sustaining a hit-by-pitch on April 9th.  The second baseman will miss four to six weeks.  Shortstop Didi Gregorius was promoted, as he looks to make an impression with his glove.  Though he is considered at this point to be a light hitter, Gregorius went on to homer in his first at-bat and now has two home runs among six hits in his first three games.


- According to Bill Shaikin of the LA Times, shortstop Hanley Ramirez vowed he would return to the Dodgers "way sooner" than mid-May from thumb surgery.  Ramirez is hitting in the cage and taking ground balls, as Dodgers fans cannot wait. Current Los Angeles shortstops were hitting .167 through April 16th.


- As Dodgers fans received good news on one injury front, the medical staff produced troubling news on another.  Starter Chad Billingsley faces the possibility of reconstructive surgery as the right-hander is dealing with pain in his throwing elbow.  According to Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times, Billingsley has been placed on the 15-day disabled list and will have his elbow examined on Tuesday.


- Center fielder Cameron Maybin swapped spots with third baseman Chase Headley, as the former went on the 15-day disabled list with a sore right wrist.  Headley and his 31 home runs for the Padres made his season debut on Wednesday by going 1-for-4 in the third spot of the order.


- Dexter Fowler of the Rockies already has more than half the homers this year (seven) than he hit all of last year (13).  13 is the most he's ever hit in a season, a total he's on pace to obliterate in 2013.  Troy Renck of the Denver Post reviews his success here.




Pierce Jefferson can be reached via email at Follow him on twitter (@MLBPJ).


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