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).

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As Aaron Altherr's audition begins, Pete Mackanin says Cody Asche 'needs to step it up'

As Aaron Altherr's audition begins, Pete Mackanin says Cody Asche 'needs to step it up'

ATLANTA — Nearly four months late, Aaron Altherr is finally getting his shot to show the Phillies he deserves to be part of their future outfield plans.

Altherr, 25, was activated from the disabled list before Thursday night’s game against the Braves and was in the lineup, batting fifth (see story). Altherr will see a lot of playing time over the final two-plus months of the season. He’s essentially auditioning.

“We want to see him play as much as possible,” manager Pete Mackanin said before the game. “So if he stays healthy, I’m going to keep running him out there. That’s what this year is all about. We’re finding out about the guys that are here. He is a potentially important part so we want to see what he does. I’m anxious to see what he does.”

Altherr, a ninth-round draft pick in 2009, played in 39 games for the Phillies last season. He hit just .241, but 20 of his 33 hits were for extra bases and he had a .827 OPS. He was slated to be the team’s everyday rightfielder before suffering a wrist injury that required surgery early in spring training.

Altherr is healthy now and eager for his chance.

“I’m good to go mentally and physically,” he said Thursday afternoon. “I’m definitely excited to be back up.”

Altherr took Peter Bourjos' spot on the roster. Bourjos was placed on the disabled list with a sprained right shoulder two days after running into the outfield wall in Miami.

With Mackanin committed to giving Altherr playing time, it will be interesting to see how the skipper divides up playing time with the remaining outfielders, especially when Bourjos recovers. Bourjos was a trade candidate before his injury. He could still be moved in a waiver deal once he’s healthy in August. Tyler Goeddel, Cody Asche and Jimmy Paredes also play corner outfield spots and much heralded prospect Nick Williams is expected to be here at some point (see Future Phillies Report).

Asche is walking a tightrope. He entered Thursday night’s game mired in a 4-for-51 skid and Mackanin seems to be losing patience.

“As I said earlier in the season, this is a very big year for Cody to prove that he can be part of the future and he needs to step it up,” Mackanin said.

Tonight's lineup: Aaron Altherr bats 5th for Phillies in season debut

Tonight's lineup: Aaron Altherr bats 5th for Phillies in season debut

Aaron Altherr, activated by the Phillies Thursday afternoon, bats fifth and plays right field in his season debut in Atlanta. 

Sometimes one hitter can make a lineup look much different. Altherr's presence in the middle of the Phillies order provides them with three power hitters, something they've seldom had this season. He provides some protection out of the five-hole for Tommy Joseph and Maikel Franco, who precede him.

Cesar Hernandez remains in the leadoff spot for the Phillies after going 3 for 4 with a walk Wednesday to raise his batting average to .290. 

Cody Asche may soon lose playing time as the Phils' outfield picture gets more crowded, but for now his lineup spot appears safe. With Peter Bourjos on the DL, Asche gets the start in left field and bats eighth.

1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Odubel Herrera, CF
3. Maikel Franco, 3B
4. Tommy Joseph, 1B
5. Aaron Altherr, RF
6. Carlos Ruiz, C
7. Freddy Galvis, SS
8. Cody Asche, LF
9. Aaron Nola, P

Phillies reinstate Aaron Altherr, place Peter Bourjos on 15-day DL

Phillies reinstate Aaron Altherr, place Peter Bourjos on 15-day DL

The player who was projected to be the Phillies' opening day rightfielder and No. 5 hitter is finally ready to play. The Phils on Thursday reinstated outfielder Aaron Altherr from the disabled list after he missed the season's first 103 games with a wrist injury.

Altherr takes the 25-man roster spot of Peter Bourjos, who was placed on the 15-day DL with a right shoulder sprain.

Altherr, 25, impressed with power late last season, hitting .241/.338/.489 for the Phillies with 11 doubles, four triples, five home runs and 22 RBIs in 161 plate appearances. 

He tore a tendon sheath in his wrist on a diving catch attempt early in spring training, had surgery and missed about four months in total. The Phils were patient with Altherr during his rehab assignment, giving him the full 20 days before making the decision to add him to the active roster. In 13 games at four different levels during the rehab stint, Altherr went 14 for 41 (.341) with two doubles, a homer and seven walks.

Bourjos injured his shoulder running into the wall at Marlins Park earlier this week. The injury will keep him from being traded ahead of the Aug. 1 non-waiver deadline, but Bourjos could be moved in August. He hit .410 in June but was slumping before the injury, hitting .148 over his last 14 games.