We’re closing in on June and that means things are happening in Major League Baseball. Some teams are already out of it (I’m looking in your direction Baltimore and Houston), while others are unexpectedly in it (Go Padres!) and the time for maneuvering, dumping and trading is almost upon us. Here are all the latest rumors we’re hearing from around baseball.
Beckett’s DL stay to be short?
Red Sox ace Josh Beckett landed on the disabled list Wednesday with back pain. While carrying around a massive ego can’t be good for one’s spine, current indications point towards this DL stint being a short one. The 30-year-old Texan is supposed to throw a side session Friday if there is time (the Red Sox arrived home late). If not, manager Terry Francona says the team will back plans up a day or two.
The problem for Boston is that Beckett just signed a four-year, $68 million contract extension in January and back problems aren’t something that typically just disappear for a pitcher. And thus far in 2010 Beckett has been less than stellar. So far he’s 1-1 with a 7.29 ERA, a 1.66 WHIP and a .305 batting average against in 45.2 innings (eight starts). It might actually be a good idea to let Beckett rest and figure out what’s wrong, instead of rushing him back quickly and possibly making things worse.
Ethier returning soon
The Los Angeles Dodgers expect to have Andre Ethier back sometime next week, according to reports. The outfielder – who was leading the National League in all triple crown categories before breaking his little finger on May 14 – will likely make two rehab starts at Albuquerque this weekend. His return was originally targeted for today but instead he’ll likely be back with the Azul early next week. The Dodgers need Ethier’s back back soon, as they have scored two runs or fewer in three of their last four games.
Kyle Lohse is nowhere near returning
The St. Louis Cardinals announced the other day that righty Kyle Lohse will undergo surgery to alleviate muscle discomfort in his pitching arm. According to Joe Stauss of the Post-Dispatch, the uniqueness of the injury makes his possible return difficult to predict. With starter Brad Penny already on the DL, it looks as if the Cardinals will have to make some sort of move to acquire a pitcher. St. Louis will likely bring up Adam Ottavino to make Saturday’s start against the Cubs, but he doesn’t seem to be a long-term solution.
Could St. Louis explore a move for someone like Roy Oswalt? Probably not because the Astros probably won’t move him within the division and the Cardinals don’t have the type of advanced prospects to make such a deal work. More likely is a move for a free agent (ESPN.com is suggesting Pedro Martinez), or a trade for a veteran to eat innings.
Oswalt to the Rangers a real possibility?
Speaking of Roy Oswalt, he went out and dominated Wednesday night, tossing eight shutout innings against Milwaukee. The Texas Rangers – who seem to always need pitching – have reportedly checked in on the availability of Oswalt. It will take a few major league-ready prospects to get any deal done with Houston. Since the Astros could lose Lance Berkman to free agency after the season, it would stand to reason that either Chris Davis or Justin Smoak would have to be involved in any trade with Texas.
A move to the Rangers could be the best fit for an Oswalt deal, but any possible move to Arlington will be complicated by the Rangers’ bankruptcy situation and impending sale.
The Dodgers and Angels are also possible destinations for Oswalt, though the Dodgers appear to be more interested in Seattle’s Cliff Lee at the moment.
Charlie Morton is having a rough season
You know how Ubaldo Jimenez (9-1, 0.88 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, no-hitter at Coors Field) is having a historically fantastic season right now? Picture the exact opposite of that and you’ll have what Pittsburgh Pirates righty Charlie Morton is going through.
Morton lost again Thursday night, running his record to 1-9 on the season. In just 2.0 innings on the hill, Morton give up seven runs (five earned) eight hits, three walks and two home runs. His nightmarish season line looks like this: 1-9, 9.35 ERA, 1.89 WHIP, .342 BAA, 66 hits in 43.1 innings and 12 home runs allowed.
Shockingly Morton is keeping his rotation spot for now. What in the name of Mike Maroth is going on around here? The kid has an option left and could be moved down to Triple-A Indianapolis, since Brad Lincoln looks ready to move into the rotation with the big club, but for some reason manager John Russell is sticking with Morton. Lincoln, a first-round pick from 2006, may be just a start or two away from making his debut. Morton may just be warming the spot for him until then.