Chris Sale. Getty Images.

Chris Sale fractures foot in home accident

The Chicago White Sox feared the worst when they found out that their ace and potential Cy Young Award winner Chris Sale reported to camp today limping.

Apparently the 25-year-old left-hander was injured in an accident at his home. According to the team’s Twitter accound Sale suffered an avulsion fracture to his right foot. Thankfully for the White Sox the prognosis is that Sale will only be out for three weeks.

Obviously now Sale will miss spring training and his opening day status is in jeopardy. To read this post in its entirety go to Baseball Hot Corner using the link below:

White Sox ace Chris Sale has fractured foot

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Alex Rodriguez. Chris O'Meara/AP

A-Rod to get time playing at first for Yankees

New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi wasn’t kidding when he said that there was a possibility of Alex Rodriguez getting sometime at first base.

Yankees’ general manger Brian Cashman had already made it quite clear that he wouldn’t be playing at third anymore when he signed third baseman Chase Headley to a four-year deal $52 million deal in mid-December, meaning that more than likely Rodriguez would be relegated permenently to the designated-hitter position.

With third base now not an option, unless something happens to Headley, A-Rod said that he would not be happy to just be a DH. And of course, the question still lingers as to whether or not Rodriguez will still be able to hit the way he used to when he was using performance enhancing drugs (PEDs).

Alex  Rodriguez. USATODAY Sports.

Alex Rodriguez. USATODAY Sports.

Granted he’s always been able to see the ball well, there’s no confusion there. He’s never admitted to using PEDs during his first seven seasons in the league with the Seattle Mariners. While that doesn’t mean he didn’t, it doesn’t prove he did either and back then he could still hit the long ball.

He played well enough in Seattle that he made the American League All-Star team four times. He was good enough to land what was, at the time, the most lucrative contract in MLB history. The Texas Rangers signed Rodriguez to a 10-year deal worth $252 million.

But then, the now fallen-from-grace superstar, was only 24-years old when he signed with the Rangers, the same time he now admits to have begun using PEDs. With Texas his home run totals went up (obviously) as he led the league in home runs all three seasons with the Rangers. He made three more All-Star teams and won the first of his three American League MVP awards.

The concern now is that with Rodriguez, who will turn 40 this July, there are no guarantees that he will be able to hit the same way he used to without PEDs and without the youth he had in Seattle.

Mark Teixiera. Elsa/Getty Images.

Mark Teixiera. Elsa/Getty Images.

However, there is still a chance that even if A-Rod can’t hold up in the DH position, he could end up playing some first base. Especially with Yankees’ first baseman Mark Teixeira‘s injury history, it could be a win-win for Rodriguez and the Yankees.

He wouldn’t have to be a permenant DH for the next three seasons. He still has three years left on his contract with New York.

Yet, the move to first base also depends upon Rodriguez’s ability to learn a new position. This wouldn’t be his first time doing so which is a good starting point for the slugger. When he moved from the Rangers to the Yankees A-Rod, a former shortstop, made the move over to third base.

Although Rodriguez admitted that the move to third was not a simple one,

“Everything was hard about that,” Rodriguez said. “That was really difficult. I wasn’t very good at the beginning, but Graig [Nettles] helped out a lot, I talked to [Robin] Ventura and just did tons of early work.”

Early work is what A-Rod has already begun doing. He began his first base training on Friday, taking grounders and recieving throws for the first time.

Rodriguez said the was “anxious to learn” to play first and that he’d do “whatever Joe (Girardi) needs.” He also mentioned that he had a great tutor in teammate Teixeira.

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How well Teixeira does as a tutor remains to be seen since it was Rodriguez’s first time out as a first baseman.

Six-time Gold Glove award winner at the hot corner, Eric Chavez, made a similar transition when he joined the Yankees after spending 13 seasons with the Oakland Athletics.

While Chavez made just 13 appearances at first base for the Yankees, he still knows what it is like to make the transition, mentioning that the hardest part was getting used to the different type of glove first baseman use.

Chavez, who is now retired and working as a special assistant to Cashman, believes that if A-Rod can learn to use the glove, he’ll be just fine.

“I never got comfortable with the first base glove,” Chavez said. “For some reason, it kind of threw my timing off, but he’s so athletic. If you can play shortstop, you can play any position on the field. As long as he’s comfortable with that glove, I don’t see it being any problem whatsoever.”

Girardi could tell that A-Rod was giving it his best shot but that he won’t be an ace at the position rifht away, saying,

“I think he’s trying to learn. I think he was paying attention and trying to learn. He’s never taken balls over there, he’s never seen what a bunt defense looks like from over there, and that’s going to take some time.”

It’s still unclear if A-Rod will make a suitable back-up for Teixeira at first, being that it was his first time out but he’s willing and able to learn so it may just be something that works out for both the Yankees and Rodriguez.

*This piece was originally posted on Baseball Hot Corner. Check out Baseball Hot Corner to see more of my work and that of my colleagues’

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Matt Harvey. Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images.

After 18 long months Mets’ Matt Harvey finally faces batters

New York Mets’ starting pitcher Matt Harvey had Tommy John surgery in October of 2013 and he was far from what you might call a “happy camper” or even a remotely cooperative one about it.

Initially he attempted rehabbing his torn ulnar collateral ligament but reluctantly opted for the procedure as it is, on the whole, much more effective. As soon as Harvey was out of surgery he was talking about returning at somepoint during the 2014 season.

The Mets wanted Harvey to rehab at their Florida facility but Harvey argued into a compromise with Mets executives in which he would be in New York with the team during homestands and in Florida while they were away on road trips. That compromise was only the beginning of Harvey’s quest back to the mound.

Harvey had a couple of other run-ins with Mets executives when he’d tell anyone, even on radio and tv interviews, that he wanted to pitch in 2014. He didn’t care if it was just one inning out of the bullpen, the 25-year-old right hander just wanted to pitch last season.

At one point in early August 2014, when Harvey was allowed to throw off the mound for the first time since his surgery, he even held out hope that he might be able to pitch in the playoffs, even though the Mets were basically out of contention with a sub-.500 record.

Shortly after that first session on the mound Harvey was told that his pitching program was being shut down but that he may have an opportunity to pitch in the Arizona Fall League, which he obviously wanted to do but never did.

It’s been a full 18 months since Harvey had his surgery. The usual recovery period for Tommy John surgery is 12-18 months but the Mets wanted to be overly cautious with their ace who, prior to having surgery, was the starter for the National League in the 2013 All-Star game.

So after what’s been a long year and a half for the hard-headed Harvey, who was continually trying to speed up his recovery, he finally hit a big milestone on Friday. Harvey took the mound and threw to live batters for the first time.

To read this post in its entirety and see what manager Terry Collins, Harvey and his teammates had to say about his sessions on Friday use the link below to go to Baseball Hot Corner:

Met’s ace Matt Harvey is finally back in action

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Melvin Upton Jr. David Goldman/AP

Braves’ Melvin Upton Jr. out 8-12 weeks with foot injury

Atlanta Braves’ centerfielder, formerly known in the baseball world as B.J. Upton, recently decided to change the name he goes by on the field to his given name Melvin Upton Jr. When the change was announced many believed it was a way for Upton to start a new chapter in his career, but it was not.

Even though the change was not meant to be a way of reinventing himself, Upton did need some kind of change having hit just .208 last season and .184 in 2013. He is currently in the midst of a five-year $72.25 million contract and has been largely ineffective.

The name change was actually to honor his father who gave him his name, Melvin. Upton explained the name change saying,

“This has nothing to do with starting a new chapter. I just wanted to. My father thought enough to give me his name, so why not? It was the name that was given to me as a kid. So I felt I wanted to go by my real name.”

Whether or not he wanted a new chapter, in the minds of most fans and likely some players, he got one. However, unfortunately this new chapter has not gotten off to a good start for the centerfielder.

Braves’ manager Fredi Gonzalez noticed Upton favoring his left foot during batting practice on Thursday.

“I saw him limping around,” Gonzalez said.

Upton recieved treatment on Thursday and again on Friday morning. He was sent for x-rays on Friday afternoon.

According to the Braves’ Twitter account Upton will be in a cast for two weeks and won’t be able to play until at least mid-April.

To read this post in full and learn more about  the Braves’ possibilities for replacing Upton, use the link below to go to Baseball Hot Corner:

Braves’ Melvin Upton Jr.’s “New Chapter” is not off to a good start 

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Johan Santana. Getty Images.

Place your bets: Will Johan Santana make a successful comeback?

Many people may be betting against Johan Santana making a comeback, I’m not one of them. I’m ready to give the left-hander a chance and so, apparently are the Toronto Blue Jays.

Jon Heyman, an insider with CBS Sports who first reported that the Blue Jays were taking a chance on Santana, isn’t betting against him either.

It’s a low-risk signing for the Blue Jays and it’s not clear exactly what role Santana will play with the team who already have R.A. Dickey and Mark Buehrle as the veteran aces of the staff and youngster Marcus Stroman who had a breakout rookie season in 2014.

There’s also rookie Aaron Sanchez who could be moved from the bullpen to the starting rotation along with  Drew HutchisonDaniel Norris and Marco Estrada, who they got in return for Adam Lind, all looking to find a place on the big league roster with the Jays.

Regardless if you are betting for or against Santana’s comeback both sides are risky due to his complicated yet spectacular history.

Johan Santana pitches first no-hitter in Mets history. Getty Images.

Johan Santana pitches first no-hitter in Mets history. Getty Images.

Santana, who turns 35 next week, is a two-time Cy Young Award winner. Including those two wins he was voted into the top five for the award a total of five times. He’s made four All-Star appearances and he led the league in strikeouts three straight years while playing for the Minnesota Twins.

Santana has a Gold Glove, led the league in wins in 2006 and led the league in ERA three times. He also has the distinction of throwing the only no-hitter in New York Mets history.

If those aren’t spectacular statistics, I’m not sure what are. On the other side unfortunately, Santana has been fighting injuries since 2010.  

A torn anterior capsule in his pitching shoulder shut him down for the entire 2011 season and he hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 as a result of the same injury recurring prior to the 2013 season.

That’s two shoulder surgeries in two years for the same injury, which could be seen as an important reason for which to bet against Santana. He was on his way to a comeback last year, signing a minor league deal with the Baltimore Orioles, when he tore his achilles tendon during an extended spring training.

Johan Santana. Getty Images.

Johan Santana. Getty Images.

Still, Santana recovered from his injuries and each time has been able to get a team to take a chance on him. He threw his no-hitter for the Mets on June 1, 2012 after undergoing his first surgery and managed to comeback after another surgery to try his luck with the Orioles.

His Achilles tendon has healed and despite some shoulder soreness during his outings in the Venezuelan winter league, he pitched well. In his first outing back he pitched two no-hit innings, facing just six batters and throwing only 17 pitches.

If Santana can remain healthy this time around he’ll be a huge asset to the Blue Jays regardless of what role he ends up in.

Santana does not believe he is done playing baseball and he wants to “go out on his own terms” according to one of his agents.

While there are plenty of reasons to bet against him, there are just as many reasons to believe in him. He’s talented and obviously a fighter. We’ll have to wait and see what happens but for now, at least, he’s got my vote.

What do you think? Vote in the newest BBST poll below!

Adam Wainwright. Getty Images.

Good news for Cardinals: Wainwright has a minor abdominal strain

Update: February 26, 2015 4:15pm PT

The St. Louis Cardinals were happy to report Thursday that their ace, Adam Wainwright, does not have a sports hernia or any other kind of more serious injury. Wainwright had been feeling growing abdominal pain stemming from a weight room injury on February 16, according to Jennifer Langosh of MLB.com.

On Tuesday it was reported that Wainwright was leaving the Cardinals’ Jupiter, Florida training camp and heading back to St. Louis to be examined by specialist Dr. Michael Brunt. Wainwright was diagnosed with an abdominal strain.

He will have to take it easy for four or five days but it shouldn’t put a stop to him starting the season on time. GM John Mozeliak expressed his relief saying,

“I wasn’t overly concerned earlier, but obviously when you’re sending somebody to see a specialist, it’s something you have to worry about. In the end, I feel good about what we know. And I know Adam is relieved.”

The team was already considering having Wainwright make just four spring training starts as opposed to the customary five because the pitcher had undergone an arthroscopic procedure on his elbow over the offseason.

However in light of this latest injury, however minor, Mozeliak said that even taking Wainwright’s number of spring starts down to three should be sufficient for the veteran right-hander.

Original Text: February 24, 2015 3:00pm PT

St. Louis Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright threw his first bullpen session Friday at the Cardinals’ spring training facility in Jupiter, Florida. 

Wainwright who’s health was already under watch, after he struggled through the postseason with elbow soreness, threw the bullpen session feeling fine and without incident. However as he began participating in other workout-related activities, such as running and drills, he began to have pain in his abdomen.

The symptoms became powerful enough on Tuesday that Wainwright was unable to fully participate in the teams workout. 

Adam  Wainwright. Jason Watson/Getty Images.

Adam Wainwright. Jason Watson/Getty Images.

Cardinals’ general manager John Mozeliak has said that while he is not “overly concerned” about Wainwright’s abdominal pain, the team is still going to be cautious with their star pitcher. 

Wainwright  was already on a slightly behind schedule because of an arthroscopic procedure he underwent over the offseason to relieve the elbow soreness he felt during the playoffs. Now he’s been pushed back even further as the team has taken him off the regular pitcher’s schedule.

Mozeliak still didn’t seem too worried telling MLB.com,

“It’s so early in camp that there is no reason to push him.”

The club had already been throwing around the idea of having Wainwright throw just four Grapefruit League starts, instead of the usual five. His diagnosis may solidify their decision.

Wainwright will be flown from Florida back to St. Louis on Wednesday. He will then be examined by a specialist, Dr. Michael Brunt of Washington University, after which the team will issue an update on his condition.

Even though Wainwright struggled a bit during the postseason, he’s coming off one of his best seasons to date. He went 20-9 with a 2.38 ERA in 2014.

Francisco Rodriguez. Getty Images.

K-Rod back with Milwaukee Brewers … again

Francisco Rodriguez keeps returning to the Milwaukee Brewers. He was traded to the team in 2011 from the New York Mets and then accepted arbitration from the Brewers staying with them in 2011.

Milwaukee traded K-Rod to the Orioles in mid-2013 then resigned with Milwaukee as a free agent in 2013 and 2014. This time around the Brewers have agreed to a two-year $13 million dealwith the closer who saved 44 games for them in 2014.

Rodriguez made his fifth All-Star team last season and posted a 3.04 ERA in a league leading 66 appearances for the Brewers.

He had some very good years early in his career with the Los Angeles Angels and one with the Mets, making four All-Star appearances. In his time with Los Angeles K-Rod led the league in saves three times.

Rodriguez began to struggle a little in 2011 and was not the closer for either Milwaukee or Baltimore until last season. He reestablished himself as closer material in 2014 and spent the offseason on the free agent market only to re-sign with Milwaukee.

His Brewer’s teammates are excited to have him back including catcher Jonathan Lucroy and right fielder Ryan Braun who has this to say about his friend and teammate,

“He’s a tremendous asset. He’s somebody that’s comfortable in the ninth inning. There aren’t a lot of guys that are comfortable in that situation. He’s never afraid of the moment. He always embraces the challenge. He takes the ball every single day. He has pitched through multiple injuries. For a guy with that kind of closer experience, it’s really going to be beneficial to us, so we’re all excited about it. The more guys you have with closing experience, the better it will be for the team over the course of the season.”

At just 33, Rodriguez is a good investment for Milwaukee despite having had his struggles. Assuming he returns to his 2014 form the Brewers will have the ninth inning locked down for the next two seasons.

Dontrelle Willis. Getty Images.

The 2015 comeback “kids”

As previously noted there is an influx of players who have been out of the game or even officially retired that are suddenly prepped to make their big comeback to the Major Leagues. I’ve written quite a few posts both here on BBST and on Baseball Hot Corner in regards to this phenonmenon.

Seriously when you see the list and the number of posts written, it’s almost like last year’s trend where seemingly almost every pitcher imaginable was in some stage of the Tommy John surgery process.

With the exception of the “signing Cuban players” trend, I’d say that older players hoping to make their big returns to the show might be the second biggest story of 2015. 

That’s why this post will continually be updated as there are new developments with each player on the list and will also include my original posts. So here we go:

*More to come because there are a number of players I haven’t had the chance to write about yet! So check back for updates on the guys above and news on other players attempting comebacks!

Daniel Robertson. Getty Images.

Prospect Profile: Daniel Robertson, Tampa Bay Rays

Daniel Robertson was once the future shortstop of the Oakland Athletics organization. He was their top prospect and heir apparent to their lacking middle infield.

However, A’s general manager Billy Beane doesn’t always have the luxury of keeping all the players he’s brought up through the organization. He doesn’t even have the luxury of keepinghis best players like All-Star third baseman Josh Donaldson.

He needed a player like Ben Zobrist to take over at second base and be the back man for just about everyother position in case the need arises during the 2015 season.

So Beane traded one of his most coveted prospects shortstop Daniel Robertson along with outfield prospect Boog Powell and big league catcher John Jaso to the Tampa Bay Rays for Zobrist and shortstop Yunel Escobar.

Robertson is now the Tampa Bay Rays’ second-ranked prospect. Last year at High Class-A Advanced Stockton Robertson hit .310/.402/.471 with 15 home runs and 60 RBI in what was his breakout season, at least so far.

To learn more about Robertson, you can read the full version of this post on Baseball Hot Corner via the link below:

Tampa Bay Rays Prospect Profile: Daniel Robertson

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Josh Hamilton. Getty Images.

Update: Josh Hamilton confesses to use of cocaine

Update: February 25, 2015 5:05pm PT

Apparently, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports Hamilton confessed to using cocaine a couple months back but had not tested dirty. Personally, I would not call that “worse” than PED’s since I spent the last, oh almost, two hours researching the effects and ultimately both end with death if a user cannot stop using and is completely addicted.  As it turns out Hamilton may not recieve a suspension as a result of his confession. As a first time offender Hamilton will likely enter a treatment program.

Update: February 25, 2015 3:15pm PT Hamilton is reportedly facing a suspension for something “WORSE” than PEDs. What that could be is anybody’s guess at this point!

Original Text: February 25, 2015 2:30pm PT

According to Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Angels’ outfielder Josh Hamilton is in New York meeting with Major League Baseball officials and may be facing a possible suspension.

Hamilton, who had surgery on his right (non-throwing) shoulder in early February, was only supposed to be out 8-12 weeks. It was later learned that he will be out until at least May recovering from the surgery.

Hamilton had problems with his shoulder down the strectch in 2014. The pain, from what was later found to be irritation of his acromioclavicular joint, became so bad that it moved into his neck and chest, causing the right fielder to miss 11 straight games.

Josh Hamilton. Getty Images.

Josh Hamilton. Getty Images.

He returned for a game but missed the Angels’ last 23 regular season games and completely choked in the Angels’ American League Division Series loss to the Kansas City Royals, going 0-13.

Now, it appears that Hamilton may be out much longer than May if MLB officials decide to issue him a suspension. General manager Jerry DiPoto has confirmed that Hamilton is in New York but would not provide a reason.

However, the Los Angeles Times has learned from a source that he is there for discipliary reasons and it isn’t necessarily the conclusion that is most often jumped to: performance enhancing drugs. In this case it could be something else. Hamilton has abused recreational drugs and alcohol in the past and currently gets drug tested as part of his contract with the Angels.

To read this post in its entirety, use the link below to go to Baseball Hot Corner:

Josh Hamilton facing possible suspension

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