Baseball 6-12-14 News
07:41 AM ET 06.12 | In a way, the Dodgers, who dropped a 5-0 loss to the Reds, lost twice Wednesday night. Hanley Ramirez walked in [the clubhouse], his postgame routine delayed by a round of treatment on his right shoulder. Ramirez could not throw without discomfort Wednesday. The Dodgers scratched him from the lineup after the shoulder stiffened during batting practice, Manager Don Mattingly said, and they do not anticipate he will play Thursday. ... A lingering injury to Ramirez would be a much bigger story. For now, the Dodgers list his status as day to day and describe the injury as an irritation in the shoulder joint. He can swing a bat, and he did pinch-hit Wednesday, but he cannot throw without soreness. Mattingly said he had not heard about the condition before Wednesday.
07:39 AM ET 06.12 | On Friday night at Fenway, John Lackey will have another chance to build his case not to worry about retiring. [Lackey's] strong performance as a starter this season, a continuation of the impressive comeback he mounted last season from Tommy John surgery, already has invited plenty of speculation about his future in Boston. The situation has more than the usual intrigue because Lackey, who will be 36 in October, is bound to the Red Sox in 2015 for the major league minimum. ... As well as he's pitching, why would he retire? "No, I'm still having fun, still pitching well," he said. "Honestly, I'm just focusing on pitching right now. I haven't looked that far down the road." Lackey said he hasn't asked the Sox for an extension. "Haven't even thought about it," he said.
07:39 AM ET 06.12 | Earlier this week, Yadier Molina returned to catching duties after a few days off. [Many have] identified Molina's drop in offense as a symptom of his fatigue. But I thought the signs of Molina being tired were just as evident in his catching. Though Molina maintains his reputation for defensive excellence, he hasn't been moving as well behind the plate this season. ... So far Molina is ranked 11th among catchers at making saves on errant pitches and limiting passed balls. That No. 11 ranking is down from where we usually see Yadi. Another area where Molina has slumped in 2014 -- at least according to the data kept by Baseball Prospectus -- is framing pitches. Last season he was rated 5th among MLB catchers at framing pitches to increase the called-strike total. This year Molina is ranked 25th.
07:38 AM ET 06.12 | Though he raised his average to .263 on Wednesday, Joe Mauer is again wearing a target. The easy thing would be to bash [Mauer], attempt a few pithy jokes at the expense of the Twins' $23 million man and be done with it. Here's the problem with that. There's nothing funny about this situation. It might be time to replace anger that has built toward Mauer with legitimate concern. ... There have been suggestions that Mauer is going to have to make some adjustments in his stance, or approach, to counter the shifts he is facing. Gardenhire also could drop Mauer in the lineup or even move him up to leadoff for a few games if he thinks that will spark him. These suggestions might not be popular with Mauer, but we're 62 games into the season and nothing he has done has worked. That is cause for great concern.
07:37 AM ET 06.12 | Pirates owner Bob Nutting said earlier this week that calling up Gregory Polanco was the "right decision," even if he also had hoped for more time in the minors. "It's wonderful that Gregory's reception (Tuesday) night was outstanding (at PNC Park)," Nutting said Wednesday. "Frankly, might it have been better for the player to have some more time, to continue working? ... I'm not at all sure that we still may not be second-guessed at some point for rushing him. He's 22 years old." Nutting acknowledged the spotlight on Polanco is immense. "It's gonna be very hard for him to live up to the hype," Nutting said. "It's not an ideal way to enter the game. He is gonna be a good player. We have a lot of faith in him. But he's played one game."