Around the Major Leagues: 2013 Week 5

Updates on the major news across Major League Baseball during the fifth week of the season. League Players and Pitchers of the Month for April have been crowned.

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On to the past week in baseball!


AL East


- The following stat appears in the AL East section only because starter Brian Matusz of the Orioles issued the final strikeout of the month. According to Elias Sports Bureau, 5,992 is the number of strikeouts that were recorded throughout Major League Baseball during April.  It was the highest number of strikeouts in the history of baseball for the month and the second highest for any month ever.  The Houston Astros should not feel so lonely anymore.


- Orioles fans breathed a sigh of relief when Dr. James Andrews recommended and then gave pitching prospect Dylan Bundy a platelet-rich plasma injection to ail his sore right elbow.  According to the Baltimore Sun, the right-hander will miss at least six weeks as he rests and rehabs, though it's much better than the 12 months that Tommy John surgery would have benched him.


- Chris Davis, who has been on a tear to lead Baltimore's offense this season, earned the American League Player of the Month award for April.  The first baseman led the league in home runs (nine) and RBI (28), while finishing fourth in batting average (.348) and fifth in on-base percentage (.442).


- Initially expecting to miss possibly one start, Josh Johnson was placed by the Blue Jays on the 15-day disabled list with inflammation in his right triceps.  Toronto recalled starter Ricky Romero from the minor leagues, as the left-hander will try to put his command issues of the past year behind him and stick in what has been a struggling rotation.


- When the word ‘spitball' appears, most fans think of old-time baseball.  Not this time.  Starter Clay Buchholz of Boston was recently accused by Dirk Hayhurst of the Toronto media and others for throwing spitballs by doctoring the ball with a foreign substance on his left arm.  Buchholz immediately denied the accusation, though it will be interesting to watch when the right-hander faces the Blue Jays again on May 11th.


- Whether or not Buchholz has received ‘help' from any substance, the right-hander was named Pitcher of the Month in the American League for April.  He went a perfect 5-0 with a 1.19 earned-run average and 39 strikeouts.  Buchholz beat out lefty Matt Moore of the Rays, who also went 5-0 with a 1.13 earned-run average.


AL Central


- Reliever Bruce Rondon of the Detroit Tigers received his chance to dazzle fans and befuddle hitters, though the flamethrower struggled over three outings in his major league debut for Detroit before getting demoted to Triple-A on Thursday.  Rondon is not finished in the major leagues this season, though the right-hander allowed five hits, three runs, and two walks over 2.1 innings.


- The White Sox may be without starter Gavin Floyd for an extended period of time after finding a tear in his elbow.  According to the Chicago Tribune, the White Sox will look at several options before considering surgery, but Tommy John is currently staring Floyd in the face.  The right-hander has a 5.18 earned-run average over five starts this season.


- Another Chicago starter is facing a stint on the disabled list, as Jake Peavy is dealing with back spasms.  The right-hander would not expect to miss much time if a move is needed.  Peavy is off to a hot start (3.38 earned-run average, 39 strikeouts and six walks over 32 innings) coming off a solid 2012 season that saw him top 200 innings for the first time since 2007.


- Jeremy Guthrie tossed his first career shutout when the right-hander dominated White Sox hitters on Saturday night.  Guthrie's performance has been representative of a revamped Kansas City rotation whose collective 3.56 earned-run average sits seventh best in Major League Baseball. That is a far cry from the 5.01 ERA the rotation posted in 2012 (26th worst in baseball).  With a dynamic bullpen to compliment the rotation, the Royals are 17-10, a half-game behind the division-leading Detroit Tigers.


AL West


- Josh Donaldson of the Oakland Athletics hit his way to Player of the Week honors in the AL for the week ending April 28th.  The third baseman batted .545 with both patience and power, as he walked seven times and ripped seven doubles.


- Six hours and 32 minutes.  That's the length the Angels-Athletics match-up lasted on Monday night/Tuesday morning.  As first baseman Brandon Moss lifted a pitch off Barry Enright that landed in the stands to give the A's the walkoff win in the 19th inning, the game was officially the longest in franchise history for the Oakland Athletics, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.


- Seattle has kicked their season into gear with a solid week, as the Seattle Times outlines how that has happened here.  With a record of 15-18, the Mariners have fought their way back near .500 and look to make some noise in the West.


- Starter Justin Grimm took a head-start in the race for Rookie of the Year as he was named Rookie of the Month for April.  The Rangers hurler made three starts after getting the call from the minors and posted a 1.59 earned-run average with two wins, 15 strikeouts, and four walks in 17 innings.


NL East


- Starter Tim Hudson of the Braves had a game on Tuesday worthy of telling his future grandchildren.  Hudson joined the 200-win club with an 8-1 Atlanta victory over the Nationals.  The right-hander also made his presence known at the plate with a home run and double over his three plate appearances.


- The Atlanta-Journal Constitution noted that the Braves are on pace for two team records, one good and one bad.  The good is that Atlanta is on pace for a franchise record 236 home runs this season.  The bad is that the team has struck out an April record 246 times, adding to the record pace that the entire league is logging.


- Justin Upton's hot start for Atlanta has been well publicized, and now the outfielder was recognized as the NL Player of the Month for April.  Upton led the league with 12 home runs and hit .298 with 19 RBI and a .402 on-base percentage for the month.


- Upton wasn't the only player to earn monthly honors for the Braves, as Evan Gattis was honored with Rookie of the Month honors after belting six home runs and driving in 16 runs.  According to, Gattis led all NL rookies in home runs, RBI, slugging percentage (.566) and total bases (43).


- The only threat in the Marlins' lineup went down with a hamstring strain.  Giancarlo Stanton has been off to a sluggish start this year (.728 OPS, three home runs), though the outfielder has sadly been one of the most productive hitters in the lineup for Miami.  Stanton could miss a month as the slugger landed on the 15-day disabled list with the injury.


- Delmon Young made his debut for Philadelphia by ripping a home run in a 14-2 loss in Cleveland.  Young will spend plenty of time in right field for the Phillies, though the outfielder made his first start in six years at the position.  Phillies fans are poised to boo at Young's first misstep in right, an odd positional choice for the big-bodied player.


- Roy Halladay is headed to the disabled list after letting it known to the Phillies that he has been dealing with shoulder pain as early as his April 24th start against the Pirates, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.  The right-hander coughed up nine runs to a struggling Miami offense in a loss Sunday afternoon and continues to seek answers for a rough start this season punctuated by decreased velocity.


- Matt Harvey of the Mets will become a household name before the year is out, and the starter is being recognized for his efforts by winning April Pitcher of the Month for the National League.  Harvey finished 4-0 in six starts with a 1.56 earned-run average and 46 strikeouts in 40.1 innings.


NL Central


- It did not take long for Cubs owner Tom Ricketts to threaten a move out of Wrigley Field should the $300 million renovation plan fall through.  The Chicago Tribune wrote about some reactions from Cubs personnel here.


- Speaking of the renovation plans for Wrigley Field, check out photographs of the proposed changes.


- Russell Martin of the Pittsburgh Pirates led the National League in home runs with four on the week, which helped earn him Player of the Week honors.  The catcher hit .375 with a .958 slugging percentage, leading to his first career weekly honor.


- Set to serve a six-game suspension for hitting first baseman Allen Craig in a start against the Cardinals, Jonathan Sanchez was released by Pittsburgh after struggling mightily through five appearances and four starts.  Sanchez wasn't able to carry over a solid spring for the club, as the left-hander coughed up seven home runs, eight walks, and posted an earned-run average of 11.85 over 13.2 innings.


- The news for John Axford keeps getting worse.  The Brewers reliever was axed as the set-up man not long after losing his role as closer.  Manager Ron Roenicke told the Journal Sentinel that Axford lost his new role after he surrendered four runs in the eighth inning in a 6-4 loss to the Pirates on Wednesday.


- The bullpen of St. Louis has already gone through a makeover, as top pitching prospect Carlos Martinez and starter Seth Maness have replaced struggling relievers Marc Rzepczynski and Mitchell Boggs.  The Cardinals received some interesting news this week when Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that pitcher Chris Carpenter could play a role in the bullpen starting in late-June or July.  Carpenter has been feeling better since dealing with a nerve issue that looked to end his 2013 season before it began.


- Speaking of the Cardinals bullpen, Jason Motte is officially out for the 2013 season after it was announced that the flame thrower would undergo Tommy John surgery.  Motte was recently on a throwing program in an attempt to get game-ready but was subsequently shut down.


- Cincinnati has hoped for the quick return of ace Johnny Cueto but may have to wait awhile longer as the right-hander was forced to skip his rehab start on Friday.  According to the Cincinnati Inquirer, Cueto has experienced renewed soreness in his right oblique, an injury that forced him out of the playoffs last season.  There is currently no timetable for his return. Lefty Tony Cingrani has done well as his replacement.


NL West


- Talk around Arizona has centered around closer J.J. Putz's job security after he blew his fourth save on the season Tuesday night.  Quoted by the Arizona Republic here, Putz was unable to sleep after the loss to San Francisco.


- According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, the Padres are forming a multi-year offer to Chase Headley that would make the third baseman the highest-paid player in Padres history.  San Diego plans to have the offer ready mid-season, though Headley has made it known that he does not want to negotiate during the season.  Headley is controlled by San Diego through 2014.


- Roy Oswalt served up 11 home runs in just 59 innings for the Texas Rangers last season, though the right-hander may have to get used to the long ball if he expects to pitch this season.  Oswalt signed a minor-league deal with the Rockies this past week. The former All-Star will throw in extended spring training before going to the minors for a couple of starts in an attempt to join Colorado's rotation.


- Hanley Ramirez was true to his word in returning early from the thumb injury that has sidelined the shortstop since the opening of the season.  Four games after his return, the Dodgers infielder was helped off the field after injuring his left hamstring and was later placed back on the 15-day disabled list.  It is a tough break for a team that has already seen more than its fair share of injuries this season.




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


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