Sometimes It Feels As If We're Dropping Like Flies
Saturday, 10 AM UPDATE: Bruce Levine's ESPN AM-1000, Talkin' Baseball radio show from this saturday morning has updates
on Soriano's injury saying it's just a jammed finger and not a
dislocation. Also, Lilly's knee symptoms are related to a meniscus problem
and Dempster may just miss one more start.
Also he interviewed Oneri Fleita (Cubs VP of Player Personnel)
who comments on all things in the Cubs minor league system as well as
the recent rule 4 amateur draft, saying 2nd round pick LSU infielder DJ LeMahieu is close to signing.
A dark cloud seems to loom even with a two game winning streak after tonight's 3-1 win vs the Gnats. So I ask, is dropping like flies worse than dropping flys?
This is not following Lou Piniella's script for the 2nd half of the season:
1) Get Healthy and Stay Healthy
2) Score runs
The "Road to Wrigley" game with the Iowa Cubs vs the Vegas 51's isn't coming until August 9th but it looks like the Iowa Cubs will be staying with their parent club just a bit longer, as two more Cub starters are possibly out for days and maybe more.
In the friday night 6-2 win against the Nationals, Alfonso Soriano dislocated his right little "pinky" finger (his throwing hand) in a base running mishap during the 4th inning. He singled to center on a play where DLee was on second but Lee rounded third and held there based on a strong but high throw to the plate by Nyjer Morgan. The catcher, Josh Bard caught the throw well in front of the plate then caught Soriano half way between first and second in an 8-2-6-4 putout. On the replay you can see that Soriano jammed his hand sliding into the base and he pulled on the finger right away apparently reducing the dislocated knuckle. The Comcast telecast also showed Soriano getting treatment from trainer Mark O'Neal as soon as he got back to the dugout but he stayed in the game and even batted again (he grounded out to 3B in the 6th and walked in the 9th). This type of injury doesn't swell until a few hours later but once the swelling develops the finger stiffens up making it hard to grip things (like a baseball or a bat).
From beat writer Paul Sullivan in the Tribune:
He (Soriano) popped it back in and continued to play, but the finger swelled up
overnight. Soriano was scratched from the starting lineup Friday night
and is expected to miss at least a couple more games. "I don't have power in my hand because I can't grab the bat," he said.
Soriano said he’ll play with pain in the finger as long as the swelling
goes down enough for him to grip a bat again. He anticipated missing
only one game, though manager Lou Piniella said he thought it might
take ‘‘a few days.’’
Since it's his throwing hand there is a chance he will miss more than the initial mention of a game or two but it's all about swelling and stiffness as these simple PIP (proximal interphalangeal) joint dislocations are usually stable once reduced and it looks like Soriano provided the best treatment by reducing the injury immediately. Things that complicate a dislocation include adjacent fractures of the phalanges, flexor or extensor tendon damage, collateral ligament injuries or a tear of the volar plate (part of the joint capsule). I'll assume none of the bad stuff happened here. I'm not expecting a DL stint but even that is possible if he can't comfortably swing a bat in a few days. Lou Piniella was quoted, "I think it'll probably be a few days. I don't think it'll go down in one day."
Color this as a few days off but the medical staff will know more in a day or two.
On top of some recent positive updates regarding Ryan Dempster (great toe fracture) and Geo Soto (left oblique strain) feeling much better and looking more like they will miss the minimum 2 weeks we get news that Ted Lilly has a sore knee which has bothered him much of the season. It didn't have any adverse effect in his last start, a 5-2 win against the Cardinals. Lilly pitched a strong game getting the "W" while going 8 innings giving up a measly 4 hits and one run. He was slated to pitch this Saturday in Washington but they've pushed back his start so that Randy Wells will go Saturday and Kevin Hart will get recalled for the Sunday game. Manager Lou Piniella in a pregame chat with the media just said he had some swelling in the knee. The media is running the gamut from just a few extra days to a mention of a DL decision looming. As of now, there really isn't a diagnosis for his knee problem so they will just wait and see how it feels by monday before a decision is needed.
Carrie Muskat at cubs.com:
"When he came back here [Thursday], his knee was bothering him, and the
last couple starts he's had, it's bothered him somewhat," Piniella
said. "We'll see."
Lilly is scheduled tentatively to pitch Monday night in Philadelphia,
but in essence the Cubs are only buying some time before deciding
whether or not to put the left-hander on the 15-day disabled list.
Lilly, the Cubs’ lone All-Star, has pitched through knee discomfort for
much of the season. He returned from the break with the knee flaring up.
There has been no mention of an MRI but if this lingers, I'm sure that's on the agenda. Hopefully it's just a pushback of his start although getting an assignment in Philly isn't something that even the Ted Lilly Supercomputer wants to tabulate.
Eloy Jimenez atop the leader board for minor-league home runs in the Cub system, with seven. Tied with Balaguert and Vogelbach, two 24-year-olds. Jimenez won't be 20 until late November. Leads the Midwest League in SLG and OPS. Maybe he'll get promoted to the Myrtle Beach squad that visits Woodbridge, VA, in June or Frederick, MD, in August.
Watched two Pelican games at Frederick the other week. Was most impressed by Stinnett and Happ. Happ may swing harder than Javier Baez, though more compactly. (Also got to see Brockmeyer hit a bomb.)
E-MAN: Jose Paniagua isn't a string-bean, but I wouldn't say he necessarily bulked-up during the 2015-16 off-season either, He led the DSL Cubs in HR and doubles in 2014, and he showed XBH power when he arrived in Mesa last year, leading the AZL Cubs in HR, doubles, and RBI in 2015. It's just that he has taken his HR power to a new level this year.
Paniagua displayed plus-HR power in Cactus League Minor League Spring Training games in March, and that got him a slot on the South Bend Opening Day roster. But he was sent to EXST after only six MWL games.
More on the Cub Way.
Martinez is one of my least favorite pitchers in baseball. I'd love to see a game like yesterday's against him.
Send Soler down!
Awesome thanks AZ
Great report, Phil! This organization has so many hitters to be excited about.
Ben Zobrist is very enjoyable to watch!!!!!!
given that he seems to only be throwing low 90s these days rather than the 93-96mph he used to throw, along with his wildness issues this year, he may end up passing through.
i dunno if something is wrong with him physically or his past shoulder issues has rendered him what he currently is, but he's been throwing a lot of sliders he can't control well and his fastball isn't as sharp. even when his slider wasn't working in a game he was still throwing a lot of them.
Any scuttlebutt on where Neil Ramirez gets traded?
He seems better than some of the relievers on competitive teams. He ought to bring more than the waiver fee.
My guess? Toronto.
PHIL: It seems as if Paniagua has always played 1B with the Cubs. At 6'2 and 180#, what is his frame like? String bean? Have you seen him bulk up? Where do you project him? Thanks.
Phil, what's your thoughts on which position players are going to Eugene and who is staying in AZL?
Ahhh...way to bring me down BB.
Still - a win tomorrow will be an acheivement regardless.
Don't mean to spoil your mood, but with tonight's win the are 3-5 on the trip with one to play.
While I'm bringing the room down -- Richard comes in to pitch the 9th with a 12-1 lead...and can't finish the game. Woof.
For some reason
It is remarkable how my mood has become uplifted with one game against the Cards.
That is sick.
But, I have been an addict for a long time.
A W tomorrow and it will be a .500 road trip.
Also, to keep the losses in perspective, if the Cubs were to lose 10 games a month - a lot at this current pace - they still end up 102-60. Six months of the ride!
So, the Mesa Cubs should be solid this summer in the AZL Rookie League?
And, I like the, "But did you know" lead in there. Something a little different.
I can tell really like this group of hitters in AZ right now.
What pitchers out there, other than Cease, should we be excited about?
Thanks as always for the info.