MLB Notes: Stanton hit in helmet by pitch


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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Phillies-Giants 5 things: Madison Bumgarner looms as Phils seek to snap skid

Phillies-Giants 5 things: Madison Bumgarner looms as Phils seek to snap skid

Phillies (31-44) at Giants (48-27)
10:05 p.m. on CSN

After losing for the 10th time in 11 games, the Phillies face a tough a test as they may face all year Saturday night: Giants ace Madison Bumgarner.

One of baseball's premier pitchers, Bumgarner will take the hill against Jeremy Hellickson, with the Phils' looking to avoid another defeat.

Here are five things to know for tonight's matchup.

1. This is Mad-ness. No, this is Bumgarner!
Whether it is his lucious locks of hair, his 2014 World Series MVP award or his sterling ERA, Bumgarner seems to have everything going for him. 

Still just 26 years old, Bumgarner is in the midst of his best regular season ever. The lefty ace known as "Mad Bum" has the third best ERA in all of baseball (1.85) and has the fifth most strikeouts of any pitcher with 128 K's. 

Ever the workhorse, he's also sixth in baseball with 102 innings pitched in his 15 starts. He is easily on pace for his sixth straight year with at least 200 innings pitched and he has never had an ERA above 3.37. 

All of this is to say that the Phillies are going to have a lot of trouble scoring Saturday. 

Bumgarner's bat has even made news this year. He has two home runs this year (one off Clayton Kershaw) and has created headlines with his desire to join the home run derby in July. He has 13 career homers, including five last season.

To make matters worse for the Phils, Bumgarner has had their number. He is 4-2 with a 3.14 ERA in seven starts against the Phillies, striking out 51 batters in 48⅔ innings. He also had a .353 average in 19 plate appearances against the Phils, picking up six singles. 

2. What to make of Hellickson
Phillies fans now have a solid sample size with which to judge Hellickson. Acquired from the Diamondbacks in the offseason, the veteran righty was supposed to fill a role atop the Phillies' rotation, providing steady innings. Furthermore, many wondered whether he could be used as a trade chip to bring back a prospect come July.

As we near July, it's time to take stock in what Hellickson has actually provided the Phillies and what they can expect from him moving forward. 

A. Innings: He's been solid on this account. In his 15 starts this season, he's completed at least five innings in all but two games (one of which the Phillies won). In his last eight starts, he has thrown at least six innings seven times and has done so 10 times. 

B. Quality: It was tough to expect high quality innings from Hellickson a few years removed from arm injuries. He hadn't produced an ERA below 4.50 since 2012. So far in 2016, he's been about as expected, sporting a 4.41 ERA in 87⅔ innings. He has seven quality starts, a good but certainly not great mark.

C. Trade value: This is still tough to gauge. When he had a 3.68 ERA at the end of May, it seemed like he may get something back in a trade, but a few below average starts brought him back to his post-2012 levels. Still, his penchant for pitching deep into games paired with few high quality pitchers set to be free agents this offseason make him a useful chip for general manager Matt Klentak.

3. Wait, where is Hunter Pence?
There is only one former Phillies player on the Giants and it's a fan favorite: Hunter Pence. Pence patrolled the outfield in Philadelphia for 155 games during the 2011 and '12 seasons before he was traded to San Francisco mid-year. Pence hit 28 home runs in a Phillies uniform to go with 94 RBIs and a .289 batting average

But Pence won't be on the field this weekend for the Giants. He tore his hamstring in early June and underwent surgery, which was supposed to keep him out for 6-8 weeks. 

The Giants come to Citizens Bank Park to begin August, which would be right around the time Pence rejoins the roster. 

With Pence out, rookies Mac Williamson and Jarrett Parker alongside veteran Gregor Blanco have been taking turns filling in the spacious right field at AT&T Park.  

4. Players to watch
Phillies: Cop out here with two people. I'm going with the catching duo of Cameron Rupp and Carlos Ruiz. Rupp has been solid in his first year as a starting catcher while Ruiz has success against Bumgarner in his career, collecting seven hits and a home run.

Giants: Underrated at shortstop, Brandon Crawford is well on his way to earning his contract extension with the Giants. Crawford made a lot of that money off of his defensive prowess, but he can handle the bat, currently with a career-high on-base percentage in his age 29 season.

5. This and that 
• Another Phillies hitter with a home run off Bumgarner is Andres Blanco, who is 1 for 4 off the lefty with just the dinger to show for it. 

• Unsurprisingly, Ryan Howard struggles against the lefty ace. He is 2 for 11 with a walk and six strikeouts. It'd be tough for Pete Mackanin to go with him at first, even with Tommy Joseph in the midst of a slump.

• Buster Posey is 0 for 7 with a walk against Hellickson. Crawford is 4 for 7 with a walk in eight plate appearances against the righty.

• Before this recent stretch, the Phillies hadn't had a stretch of 11 losses in 12 games since June 8-20, 2015. 

Zach Eflin's strong start nullified as Phillies give up late lead in loss to Giants

Zach Eflin's strong start nullified as Phillies give up late lead in loss to Giants


SAN FRANCISCO – Coming into AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants, was not an easy assignment for the sputtering Phillies on Friday night.
The Giants were on fire. They had won 11 of their previous 12 games to go 20 games over .500 and open a six-game lead in the National League West. They were 22-13 at home and were playing in front of their 444th straight sellout crowd.
On top of it all, the Phillies would be sending a rookie to the mound for his third big-league start.
But Zach Eflin ended up delivering a strong start for the Phillies – he left after six innings with a one-run lead – one that secured his place in the rotation for now.
In the end, the Phillies suffered a 5-4 loss to the high-flying Giants because the bullpen couldn’t protect a one-run lead in the seventh inning and the bats couldn’t do enough to capitalize on eight base runners in the final two innings (see Instant Replay).
“That’s what the game boiled down to,” Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said.
The loss was the Phils’ 27th in the last 34 games, dropping them to 31-44.
If there was a positive for the Phils it was that they continued to swing the bats well after breaking out for 38 hits and 22 runs the previous three games in Minnesota. The Phils had 10 hits, one more than the Giants, and six of them were for extra bases. They could have used one of those extra-base hits against the Giants’ bullpen in the eighth or ninth inning, but it never came.
At least it never came with runners on base.
Maikel Franco tripled to open the eighth and the Phils loaded the bases with one out. They scored twice in the inning on a base hit and a walk, but didn’t get the big hit they needed. Ditto for the ninth inning. San Francisco closer Santiago Casilla loaded the bases with two outs on a walk, a single and a hit batsman.
The Phils’ last gasp came down to rookie Tyler Goeddel. He tapped a ball up toward third base that had the look of a game-tying infield hit. The play at first base was bang-bang. It was reviewed. Goeddel was out by inches. Ballgame.
“I thought I beat it,” Goeddel said. “Watching the replay, I guess I didn’t.”
The Phillies stranded 11 men in all.
Leaving men on base wasn’t the Phils’ only problem. Freddy Galvis got picked off first base with a man on second and two outs in the second.
The defense was shoddy. Ryan Howard started at first base and made two errors, one of which led to an unearned run in the first inning. That run eventually proved pivotal.
In the pivotal seventh inning, centerfielder Odubel Herrera failed to make a diving catch on a sinking liner by pinch-hitter Buster Posey. The ball hit Herrera’s glove.
“I thought he could have caught it,” Mackanin said. “It was huge.”
Posey’s hit put runners on first and second with no outs. The Giants rallied for four runs in the frame to come back from a 2-1 deficit and take a 5-2 lead.
Interestingly, Mackanin bypassed struggling veteran David Hernandez with a one-run lead in the seventh and went with Severino Gonzalez, who started the season in Double A.
“I had Hernandez [available] but he hasn’t been pitching well lately,” Mackanin said. “Severino is pitching better.”
Gonzalez gave up a leadoff hit. Giants manager Bruce Bochy sent up lefty-hitting Jarrett Parker. Mackanin countered with lefty reliever Elvis Araujo. Bochy yanked Parker for Posey, the All-Star catcher who was getting a night off. Posey delivered. Araujo then retired just one of the next three lefty hitters, a stretch that culminated with lefty-hitting Brandon Belt smacking a three-run double to put the Giants ahead. They scored another run before the inning was over. It proved important as the Phillies closed the gap late.
“Bochy took a gamble using two players at once, including his only other catcher,” Mackanin said. “I didn't think he would use Posey that early. But that wasn’t the game. The game boiled down to us not capitalizing on our base runners the last two innings.”

If the environment seemed difficult for the Phillies on Friday night, it will be even more so on Saturday when they have to face Madison Bumgarner and his minuscule 1.85 ERA. 

Best of MLB: Adam Lind's 3-run homer gives Mariners walk-off win

Best of MLB: Adam Lind's 3-run homer gives Mariners walk-off win

SEATTLE -- Adam Lind hit a game-winning three-run home run in the ninth inning off St. Louis closer Trevor Rosenthal, and the Seattle Mariners rallied for a 4-3 win over the Cardinals on Friday night to snap a six-game losing streak.

The Mariners opened the ninth with a double by Kyle Seager and a walk to Dae-Ho Lee. Lind reached down and drove a 1-1 pitch out to right field for his fourth career walk-off home run. It was the third home run allowed this season by Rosenthal (2-3) and his third blown save.

St. Louis had scored three times in the eighth inning without the help of a base hit. Seattle reliever Joaquin Benoit issued three walks and a hit batter and Kyle Seager's error on Matt Holliday's hard ground ball allowed two runs to score (see full recap).

Tomas, Diamondbacks rally for win over Rockies
DENVER -- Yasmany Tomas homered twice and drove in four runs, Michael Bourn had a tiebreaking single in the ninth inning and the Arizona Diamondbacks rallied to beat the Colorado Rockies 10-9 on Friday night.

Jean Segura had three hits and scored the winning run for the Diamondbacks, who have won seven of their last eight.

Tomas' solo shot with one out in the ninth off Carlos Estevez (1-5) tied the game. Segura doubled one out later and Bourn singled him home with a sharp liner to left.

Estevez also got the loss in Arizona's 7-6 win Thursday night.

Tomas hit a three-run homer in Arizona's six-run seventh for his third career multihomer game.

Josh Collmenter (1-0) pitched to one batter in the eighth and Brad Ziegler worked a shaky ninth for his 16th save (see full recap).

Contreras helps Cubs snap 4-game skid
MIAMI -- Rookie Willson Contreras homered and drove in three runs to help the Chicago Cubs break their longest losing streak of the season at four games by beating the Miami Marlins 5-4 Friday night.

Contreras hit a two-run homer in the Cubs' four-run first inning. His RBI single in the seventh put the team with the best record in the majors ahead to stay. He's batting .412 with eight RBIs after seven games in the big leagues.

While Contreras again excelled as a reinforcement for the injury-hampered NL Central leaders, they endured another setback when second baseman Ben Zobrist left the game after he was hit by a pitch on the left ankle.

Four pitchers held the Marlins to two hits, including Justin Bour's grand slam (see full recap).