Below you’ll find a roundup of notable moves from the past few days, as well as future expected moves and a Minor League Report, which includes a list of recent major league debuts and a few players who are “knocking down the door” to the majors. For this column, any lineup regulars, starting pitchers, or late-inning relievers are considered “notable,” meaning that middle relievers, long relievers, and bench players are excluded. You can always find a full list of updated transactions here.
6/7/19: OF Dwight Smith Jr. (concussion) placed on 7-Day IL, retroactive to June 7.
6/6/19: OF D.J. Stewart (sprained ankle) placed on 10-Day IL, retroactive to June 6.
6/4/19: 1B Chris Davis activated from 10-Day IL.
The Orioles continue to give Davis a chance to break out of a two-year long slump, although one of his two starts since returning was in right field. With Smith and Stewart both on the injured list, Davis isn’t likely to sit anytime soon. But if the 33-year-old continues to struggle—he was 0-for-9 with four strikeouts before an RBI double on Thursday—the O’s could soon turn to prospect Ryan Mountcastle, one of Monday’s “Knocking Down The Door” picks.
Boston Red Sox
6/7/19: 1B Mitch Moreland activated from 10-Day IL.
Moreland’s absence opened the door for Brock Holt to get some at-bats and he didn’t disappoint. After a slow start and an injured list stint due to a scratched cornea, the 30-year-old had 11 hits in 25-at bats, including a pair of doubles. With Moreland back, Holt will move back to the super-utility role with Michael Chavis sliding back over to second base. On Friday, however, Holt remains in the lineup, Chavis is on the bench, and Moreland is batting 5th.
6/4/19: OF Tyler Naquin activated from 10-Day IL.
After missing close to a month with a strained calf, Naquin still has a good chance to claim one of the team’s corner outfield spots. As of now, rookie Oscar Mercado is holding his own as the everyday left fielder and Jordan Luplow has established that he can crush left-handed pitching but struggles versus right-handers. If the 28-year-old Naquin, who is 1-for-8 since his return and has an .658 OPS in 104 plate appearances, doesn’t hit much over the next month, the Indians might look to the trade market for an outfield upgrade.
6/7/19: OF Charlie Blackmon activated from 10-Day IL.
With Blackmon out of the lineup since May 23, David Dahl (1.162 OPS since May 24) and Ian Desmond (.821 OPS since May 24) have picked up the slack while Raimel Tapia (.539 OPS) has cooled off. While the 32-year-old Blackmon is active on Friday, he’s not in the starting lineup against Mets ace Jacob deGrom.
6/4/19: 3B Jeimer Candelario (shoulder inflammation) placed on 10-Day IL, retroactive to June 2.
Candelario was 0-for-10 since returning from Triple-A and now he’ll miss time with a shoulder injury. Dawel Lugo, who is the starting third baseman with Candelario out, is 11-for-48 with one homer on the season. Seven of his 11 hits have come in two games so it’s been all or nothing for the 24-year-old rookie.
Will Smith’s first stint in the big leagues went well (6-for-21, 2 HR, 2B), but he’ll head back to Oklahoma City with Barnes back on the roster and Russell Martin having a solid season as his backup. The 29-year-old Barnes is back behind the plate on Friday, catching Dodgers’ ace Clayton Kershaw.
6/4/19: 3B Travis Shaw activated from 10-Day IL.
Sending top prospect Keston Hiura back to Triple-A after he made a strong first impression in the majors wasn’t the most popular move, but Shaw will get a chance to bounce back after a terrible start. After all, he was one of the Brewers’ most productive hitters over the past two seasons (.844 OPS, 63 HR, 187 RBI) and Hiura, who had an .865 OPS and five homers in 17 games, should be an important part of the roster one way or another in the near future. They’ll likely need contributions from both players if they want to stay at or near the top of a competitive NL Central.
McNeil went right back to being a hitting machine (6-for-12 since being activated), while the 36-year-old Cano re-aggravated his quad injury two at-bats into his first game back. He’s not expected to be placed on the injured list, at least for now, but he’s not in the lineup on Friday.
New York Yankees
6/7/19: SS Didi Gregorius activated from 60-Day IL.
Less than eight months removed from Tommy John surgery, Gregorius is playing shortstop and batting fifth on Friday. The 29-year-old, who was 20th in AL MVP voting after the past two seasons, could be one of the top free agents available during the upcoming offseason.
McCutchen’s season-ending knee injury, as well as what could be a lengthy absence for Odubel Herrera—his likeness has been removed from signage at Citizens Bank Park—has opened the door for Haseley, the team’s first round draft pick in 2017. While the call-up came much sooner than expected, the 23-year-old was actually playing quite well in the upper minors and had recently earned a promotion to Triple-A.
Haseley is the sixth player from the 2017 draft to reach the major leagues. Four others (Griffin Canning, Keston Hiura, Nick Margevicius, and Corbin Martin) debuted in 2019 while Kyle Wright was a September call-up in 2018.
The Padres’ rookie sensation picked up right where he left off at the time of his hamstring injury, which occurred in a game against the Nationals in late April. Tatis’ three-hit effort on that day raised his batting average to .300. Facing the Nationals again in his first game back, this time at Petco Park, the 20-year-old leadoff man reached base three times on a single and two walks in the Padres’ 5-4 victory.
San Francisco Giants
6/5/19: C Buster Posey (strained hamstring) placed on 10-Day IL, retroactive to June 2.
The 32-year-old Posey, who had an .822 OPS, three homers and nine doubles over his last 105 plate appearances, will rest for at least 10 days while Stephen Vogt and Aramis Garcia handle catching duties for the Giants.
6/7/19: OF Mitch Haniger (ruptured testicle) placed on 10-Day IL, retroactive to June 7.
Haniger was already off to a rough June with only two hits and nine strikeouts in 20 at-bats and it got much worse. Mallex Smith will likely get the bulk of starts in center field while Mac Williamson, signed as a minor league free agent on Monday, could now assume a larger role than previously anticipated with both Haniger and Braden Bishop out of action.
Toronto Blue Jays
6/5/19: OF Teoscar Hernandez recalled from Triple-A.
Mostly relegated to the corner outfield spots in the majors, Hernandez surprisingly returns as the starting center fielder. The 26-year-old was optioned to Triple-A after a four-strikeout game on May 15th, but he had two doubles and two RBIs in his first game back with the Jays.
Notable Moves Involving Part-Time Players
Expected Future Moves
- Pittsburgh Pirates: 3B Jung Ho Kang and OF Corey Dickerson will be activated from the injured list on Saturday June 8. Kang will likely be a part-time player while Dickerson, who had an .804 OPS and won a Gold Glove last season, could also have a tough time finding playing time with Bryan Reynolds having a terrific rookie season (.953 OPS in 146 plate appearances).
The 31-year-old lefty could join the struggling Braves’ rotation as early as next weekend if he’s sharp in his first start for Triple-A Gwinnett on Saturday. A late-June debut, however, seems more likely. Kevin Gausman, who has allowed 15 earned runs and 20 hits over his last two starts, could be the odd man out whenever Keuchel is ready.
6/5/19: Carlos Carrasco (blood condition) placed on 10-Day IL, retroactive to June 2.
Carrasco joins Mike Clevinger and Corey Kluber on the injured list, leaving a struggling Indians team to piece together a starting rotation with the likes of Zach Plesac, Adam Plutko (Saturday’s starter) and whoever is next in line whenever Carrasco’s spot comes up again. The good news is that Clevinger could return later this month. He pitched two innings in first rehab appearance on Tuesday.
6/6/19: Peter Lambert has contract purchased from minors.
Called into action to help a surging Rockies team against the Cubs at Wrigley Field, Lambert allowed just one earned run over seven innings with nine strikeouts to win his major league debut. Needless to say, the 22-year-old right-handed is expected to remain in the rotation for the time being. He’s scheduled to face the Cubs again next week, although it could be a tougher assignment in what will be his first start at Coors Field.
With the addition of Lambert, a second round pick in 2015, the Rockies are tied with the Pirates for most homegrown players (13) on their 25-man roster.
6/4/19: Corbin Martin optioned to Triple-A.
Rated as the No. 50 prospect by FanGraphs coming into the season, Martin has a bright future. He’s just not quite ready for the major leagues. After an impressive debut (5.1 IP, 2 ER, 9 K), the 23-year-old right-hander struggled over his next four starts (14 IP, 10 ER, 11 BB, 10 K). Framber Valdez will replace him in the rotation.
6/5/19: Jimmy Nelson recalled from Triple-A.
While the results weren’t what Nelson would’ve wanted (3 IP, 4 ER, 4 H, 3 BB, 2 K), he had a long road back from shoulder surgery and he’ll get every chance to prove he can return to his pre-injury form when he posted a 3.49 ERA and 10.2 K/9 in 29 starts and was 9th in NL Cy Young voting in 2017.
6/7/19: Caleb Smith (hip inflammation) placed on 10-Day IL, retroactive to June 7.
After pitching at least six innings in six consecutive starts, including an 11-strikeout performance on May 7, Smith had a 2.11 ERA and looked like one of the best pitchers in the National League. He struggled over his last five starts, though, posting a 5.79 ERA and has been unable to pitch deep into any game. Smith’s injury could open the door for Zac Gallen, who has been one of the best pitchers in the minors this season.
Pineda only missed one turn due to knee tendinitis and Smeltzer was brilliant as his replacement, tossing six shutout innings. We’ll see if the 30-year-old Pineda can pick up where left off, having made four straight quality starts before he landed on the injured list.
6/6/19: Daniel Mengden optioned to Triple-A.
Despite having allowed only one earned run in three consecutive outings (15.1 IP, 3 ER), Mengden was sent to Triple-A after getting knocked out of his latest outing after only 2.1 innings (6 ER, 6 H). The 15 walks in 23 innings is the biggest concern for the 26-year-old right-hander, who had been scheduled to start on Monday. No word on who will take his rotation spot.
6/7/19: Zach Eflin activated from 10-Day IL.
The Phillies are glad to get Eflin back as soon as he was eligible to return. He’s been their most consistent starter in 2019, posting a 3.02 ERA, 1.9 BB/9, and 7.0 K/9 in 11 starts.
Strahm’s injury is considered minor. and, more than likely, he is just getting a breather as he’s already approaching last year’s innings total (75.2 IP in ’18; 61.1 IP in ’19). Quantrill, who was called up from Triple-A for the third time this season, should get a longer stint in the majors this time around after pitching well against the Phillies on Wednesday (5 IP, 2 ER, 5 H, 0 BB, 7 K).
St. Louis Cardinals
6/5/19: Genesis Cabrera optioned to Triple-A.
Cabrera heads back to Triple-A after a pair of shaky starts to begin his major league career, opening the door for Michael Wacha to likely return to the Cardinals’ rotation on Monday.
Expected Future Moves
- Cleveland Indians: Adam Plutko will be recalled from Triple-A on Saturday June 8.
- Oakland Athletics: Paul Blackburn will be recalled from Triple-A on Saturday June 8. Blackburn is scheduled to start game one of the double-header.
- Texas Rangers: Joe Palumbo will be recalled from Double-A on Saturday June 8. Palumbo is scheduled to start game one of the double-header.
If all goes well, Kimbrel could join the Cubs later this month after short stints at extended spring training and Triple-A Iowa. Rushing the 31-year-old Kimbrel, who has 333 career saves, is not necessary. Pedro Strop has been steady in the closer’s role and the Cubs are currently in 1st place in the NL Central. The goal is to have a healthy bullpen down the stretch, which could feature six pitchers with closing experience (Kimbrel, Strop, Brad Brach, Steve Cishek, Brandon Kintzler, Brandon Morrow.)
6/7/19: Wade Davis activated from 10-Day IL.
It wouldn’t be a surprise if Davis, who made his last appearance on May 14, is back in the closer’s role as of Friday. But with Scott Oberg having proven to be a reliable fill-in, they could ease the 33-year-old Davis back slowly.
6/7/19: Seranthony Dominguez (UCL damage) placed on 10-Day IL, retroactive to June 6.
Dominguez, who could require season-ending Tommy John surgery, joins a long list of Phillies relievers on the injured list. Veteran Juan Nicasio and Vince Velasquez, recently demoted to the bullpen, could be the team’s best bets to bridge the gap to closer Hector Neris.
Minor League Report
Major League Debuts (May 31-June 2)
- Peter Lambert, SP, Colorado Rockies: 7 IP, ER, 4 H, BB, 9 K, W 6/6/19
- Adam Haseley, OF, Philadelphia Phillies: 0-for-4 6/4/19
Knocking Down the Door
Luis Urias, 2B, San Diego Padres (Triple-A El Paso)
Ian Kinsler has actually been quite good since May 1 (.276/.330/.517, 5 HR, 6 2B) and Greg Garcia is a really good utility infielder. Both are veteran players who have made positive contributions to the best Padres team in nine seasons. But it’s only a matter of time before the 22-year-old Urias takes a permanent spot in a very talented Padres’ infield with Manny Machado, Fernando Tatis Jr., and Eric Hosmer. While Urias struggled during his first big league stint of 2019, when he made seven starts at three different positions over a 13-day period, he should undoubtedly be named the starting second baseman job once he does return.
In 44 games for Triple-A Paso, Urias is slashing .368/.461/.724 with 14 homers, 12 doubles and 27 walks in 204 plate appearances. He has 16 multi-hit games, including nine games with at least three hits since May 24. The power surge—he’s already surpassed his 2018 total between the majors, Triple-A, and Double-A—is probably somewhat fluky because of the hitter-friendly environment of the Pacific Coast League. But maybe not entirely. With Urias’ hitting tools, he was always expected to develop some power.
Dylan Cease, SP, Chicago White Sox (Triple-A Charlotte)
Despite losing Carlos Rodon for the season and dreadful performances from Reynaldo Lopez and Ivan Nova, the White Sox have resisted the temptation to call on their best pitching prospect. But they probably can’t wait much longer. Cease continues to cruise along in Triple-A, not dominating but also not ever really struggling. In 10 starts, the 23-year-old a 3.46 ERA, 3.3 BB/9, 10.2 K/9, and has allowed more than three earned runs just one time. He’s pitched at least six innings in four of his last six starts and can easily give the White Sox at least 15-18 starts and around 90 innings—he pitched 124 innings in ’18; he’s pitched 52 innings in ’19— if they call him up soon.