Camp notes: Ervin Santana to start '09 on DL
You are likely well aware of the big news from this weekend, that Alex Rodriguez indeed will undergo surgery on his hip that will sideline him for six to nine weeks.
Stephania Bell has a fantastic take on the issue here.
For what it's worth, in the famed League of Alternative Baseball Reality experts league that drafted Sunday after the news came out, A-Rod was brought up for $20, advanced to $21, went to $22 and that was it. It could wind up being the steal of the draft if A-Rod is able to bounce back from the surgery close to normal. He hit .302 with 35 homers, 103 RBIs and 18 steals despite missing almost a month last season. However, one would expect his base stealing to potentially be curtailed to ease the stress placed on his hip.
In good news for the Angels, Kelvim Escobar is way ahead of schedule in his rehab from surgery to repair a torn labrum. He could be back in the team's rotation by the end of May, according to the Los Angeles Times. Wait and see in mixed leagues, but he's a good endgame play in AL formats.
• The Cardinals made an early decision on who will play third base for them in the first month of the season while Troy Glaus is out, anointing Joe Mather as the starter after he showed enough to convince the club he could handle the position defensively. The team assigned David Freese and Brett Wallace to minor league camp. Freese was the front-runner for the job, but an Achilles tendon injury that he suffered in a car accident right before camp set him back, and he's still unable to play the field. Mather can provide some pop in NL leagues for the first month, and then likely will be a backup at the infield and outfield corners, potentially squeezing out enough playing time to be useful in deep leagues.
• B.J. Upton reported no pain in his surgically repaired shoulder after his first session of batting practice this weekend, but admitted it's not at full strength yet, putting his availability for Opening Day in doubt. That said, if he does miss some time, it likely wouldn't be longer than a week or two.
• Todd Helton made his spring debut Sunday, hitting a monstrous homer to deep center field estimated at over 450 feet. He's still expected to receive regular rest for his surgically repaired back this season, which will give Ian Stewart some more playing time, but that kind of power has been missing from Helton's game in recent seasons, so this is a good sign.
• A's manager Bob Geren said he was not ruling out prized prospect Brett Anderson as a part of the Opening Day rotation if Justin Duchscherer's injury woes continue. Although the team has multiple alternatives, they don't have Anderson's upside, so he has a chance to pitch his way onto the roster. He made his first start against the Indians' regulars Sunday, and allowed no runs and two singles in 2 2/3 innings.
In other news from A's camp, closer Joey Devine has been sidelined with elbow tendinitis the past few days. This is a situation we'll have to monitor. If you didn't think it was necessary to handcuff Devine with Brad Ziegler before, this might change your mind. We'll keep you posted in case this is more than just some common spring soreness.
• White Sox prospect Gordon Beckham has been impressive in camp thus far, and in Sunday's game against the Dodgers, he batted leadoff and hit three doubles. The second baseman could contend for big league at-bats as soon as this season, given that the competition in front of him (Chris Getz, Jayson Nix, Brent Lillibridge), is relatively unexciting.
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• Yovani Gallardo faced 10 batters this weekend in a start against the Royals, and got just two of them out, walking three and struggling with his control. However, try not to read too much into one bad spring outing; the wildness is uncharacteristic, and he's still a pitcher you definitely want to target this season.
• Brad Penny continues to throw bullpen sessions in his recovery from shoulder issues, but there is still no timetable for him to pitch in an actual game yet, putting his original timetable of being ready by April 15 in doubt. Any delays in his return would benefit Clay Buchholz, who has been impressive in camp thus far, and is a sleeper reserve list play in mixed leagues for those looking to stash away some pitchers with upside.
• Matt Joyce hasn't had a spring at-bat yet due to tendinitis in his lower leg, which isn't helping his case to beat out Gabe Gross as part of Tampa Bay's right field platoon with Gabe Kapler. Joyce is a popular sleeper in AL formats due to his power potential, but he could be headed to the disabled list or the minors once the season opens.
• The Braves' team Web site reported that Josh Anderson is the leading candidate to begin the year as the team's starting center fielder. Given his stolen base potential, he's well worth pursuing in NL leagues, and could be a factor in deep mixed play if he keeps the job.