MLB Notes: Stanton hit in helmet by pitch

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MLB Notes: Stanton hit in helmet by pitch

JUPITER, Fla. -- An intrasquad matchup Wednesday between two precocious talents left Giancarlo Stanton dazed and Jose Fernandez shaken.

Stanton was hit in the back of the helmet during a Miami Marlins practice game by a fastball that got away from Fernandez, the team's top pitching prospect. Stanton remained on his feet but left the game and said the beaning affected his eyesight.

"I wasn't dizzy," he said. "I saw a little grayness and fuzziness on the outside of my eyes, but it's subsiding now."

Stanton bruised the back of his neck, and X-rays were planned, but there was no sign of a concussion, manager Mike Redmond said.

After the game, Stanton stood in the clubhouse with an ice bag on his neck, while Fernandez sat alone at his locker with his head down. The 20-year-old right-hander, the Marlins' first-round draft pick in 2011, said the pitch slipped from his hand but still had plenty of velocity.

"Over 95 mph, I know it was. It's a scary moment," Fernandez said. "My hands were sweating a lot. It was just not a good pitch. I feel bad. It's not a good feeling, I promise you."

The pitch, the first from Fernandez to Stanton, struck the slugger on the lower edge of the helmet above his neck. Fernandez followed Stanton into the clubhouse to apologize (see full story).

Gonzalez waiting to hear from MLB
VIERA, Fla. -- Washington pitcher Gio Gonzalez says he and the Nationals are still waiting to hear from Major League Baseball, which is conducting an investigation linking him and other players to an anti-aging clinic in Coral Gables.

Gonzalez has denied he ever received performance-enhancing drugs from Tony Bosch's now-closed Biogenesis of America clinic. ESPN reported Tuesday that Gonzalez was the only client named so far who had not received PEDs.

The 27-year-old left-hander did not answer questions about the report on Wednesday, but he did make a statement to reporters, saying he hadn't heard anything yet officially from MLB," but plans "on sitting down and cooperating with them."

Gonzalez says he is "confident this is going to come out good." (see full story)

Hughes could be out two weeks
TAMPA, Fla. -- New York Yankees pitcher Phil Hughes could be sidelined for two weeks because of a bulging disk that will be treated with anti-inflammatory medication.

"I'm convinced I'll be symptom free in the next four or five days," Hughes said Wednesday. "I felt like I was kind of ahead of the game with my throwing. I threw a bunch of bullpens before I got here, and, thankfully, it's early enough in spring. It's a setback, but I still have a lot of time to get it right."

Hughes said he will be treated with the anti-inflammatory medication for four or five days. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said it could be two weeks before Hughes could resume throwing off a mound (see full story).

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Phillies' Darin Ruf could be facing quiet goodbye

Phillies' Darin Ruf could be facing quiet goodbye

The final eight games remaining on the Phillies’ 2016 schedule will undoubtedly serve as a farewell to Ryan Howard.

Lost in the background may be the fact this week could quite possibly be the end for the man who was supposed to platoon alongside him this year, as well: Darin Ruf.

Both men have been supplanted by Tommy Joseph, who's hit 21 home runs in just 100 games this year while positioning himself as the Phillies first baseman of the near future.

Ruf will start Saturday night against Mets’ lefthander Sean Gilmartin. The Phillies are not scheduled to face a lefty starter for the rest of the season, so Saturday could be one of the final chances to see Ruf in a Phillies uniform, especially considering manager Pete Mackanin’s stated intent to give Howard more playing time down the stretch.

“It seemed like we never faced a lefty for the first month of the season. So that didn’t help Ruf at the time,” Mackanin said.  “Joseph entered the picture and made an immediate impression.”

Ruf’s departure from the majors set the stage for Joseph’s immediate emergence. At the time of his May 13 demotion to AAA Lehigh Valley – and Joseph’s promotion -- Ruf was had a .158/.206/.193 slash line.
  
Since his Sept. 1 return to the majors after rosters expanded, Ruf has done what he can to make sure his possible final season in a Phillies uniform ends on a high note. On Friday night, he drilled a home run to left center off Mets reliever Josh Smoker in pinch-hit duty, the first time Ruf had gone yard since Oct. 1, 2015.

“It felt good,” Ruf said about ending his home run drought. “You just try to simply things and last night it worked out for me.”

Where Ruf will be next year is a more complicated matter, as the 30-year-old is out of minor league options. Japanese scouts were spotted at the games he played for AAA Lehigh Valley.

With Lehigh Valley, Ruf received an opportunity he’s never truly been able to get with the Phillies due to the longstanding presence of Howard: a chance to play every day and consistently accumulate plate appearances. He hit .294/.356/.529 in 390 trips to the plate for the IronPigs. 

Ruf has never made more than 300 plate appearances in a major league season and would struggle to crack that number if he remains in Philadelphia as a backup to Joseph, who will still be 25 on opening day next year.

“I learned [this year] that you can’t take anything for granted in this game,” Ruf said. “You’ve just got to keep working to get better every day, got to put up numbers no matter where you’re at in order to get to where you want. 

“Hopefully, wherever I’m at next year, I can do that.”

Tonight's Lineup: Jorge Alfaro catches, bats 8th vs. Mets

Tonight's Lineup: Jorge Alfaro catches, bats 8th vs. Mets

Jorge Alfaro is behind the plate for the Phillies tonight and bats eighth. Alfaro has appeared in just four games since being called up earlier this month, and has just one hit in 10 at-bats. 

Tommy Joseph is back in the lineup and batting fifth. Pete Mackanin has said that Ryan Howard would get a lot of playing time during the last few games, but it is Joseph who gets the start tonight. Joseph is batting just .154 against the Mets this season. 

Odubel Herrera, who has been hitting well in September, will remain in the three spot. He has two homers and is batting .391 over the past week. Herrera has two hits in six at-bats against Mets' starter Sean Gilmartin. 

Phillies

1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Roman Quinn, RF
3. Odubel Herrera, CF 
4. Maikel Franco, 3B 
5. Tommy Joseph, 1B
6. Darin Ruf, LF
7. Freddy Galvis, SS
8. Jorge Alfaro, C
9. Alec Asher, P