Storylines: Choo to undergo surgery, miss rest of season
In this MLB News and Notes segment, I will be giving occasional reports on the latest news and rumors throughout the MLB. I also will try to tweet news and rumors as I see them, so feel free to follow me on Twitter: @AndrewIBI.
Here are the stories from Monday, August 25.
- The Rangers announced that outfielder Shin-Soo Choo will undergo arthroscopic surgery on his left elbow to remove a bone spur and will miss the remainder of the 2014 season. The loss of a player to season-ending surgery has become a familiar refrain for Rangers fans, who have seen Prince Fielder, Martin Perez, Mitch Moreland, Jurickson Profar, Matt Harrison and Alexi Ogando all go down for the season, while Derek Holland has yet to step on a big league mound as of August 25. Clearly, the Rangers were hoping for more than the .242/.340/.374 batting line turned in by Choo in his inaugural season with the club, though he's been bothered by ankle injuries all season in addition to the aforementioned elbow problem. Michael Choice will take Choo's roster spot for the rest of the season.
- The Pirates sent top prospect Gregory Polanco back to the minor leagues yesterday, first reported by Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. However, Polanco's demotion is likely to be relatively short-lived, as the 22-year-old could rejoin the team as soon as next Monday, when rosters expand. Polanco got off to a blazing start to his MLB career, but he's cooled significantly since that time. He's hitting .241/.308/.349 on the season as a whole, but he batted just .219/.276/.337 from July 1 through present day. Rosenthal also reported that Jose Tabata got the call to replace Polanco for the time being.
- Strictly looking at numbers of the Indians starting rotation, the group consisting of Corey Kluber (186 1/3 innings), Trevor Bauer (118 1/3), Danny Salazar (73 2/3), T.J. House (65 1/3) and Carlos Carrasco (40) has combined to go 26-26 with a 3.52 ERA, 3.37 strikeout-to-walk ratio, 1.26 WHIP and 9.1 strikeouts per nine innings this season. Jordan Bastian of MLB.com noted that American League rotations as a whole have posted a .502 winning percentage to go along with a 4.01 ERA, 2.63 strikeout-to-walk ratio, 1.31 WHIP and 7.3 strikeouts per nine innings. Granted, Kluber's incredible season improves the overall numbers of the current group, but the fact remains that the Indians are now using a staff that has been better than league average.
News and Notes:
- As if the loss of Shin Soo Choo wasn't enough, Jon Daniels said in an interview on 105.3 The Fan that he is doubtful Yu Darvish will pitch again in 2014 (via Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News). While the Rangers GM said the team has stopped short of definitively ruling out its ace, it seems safe to assume that Darvish can have his name added to the list of Rangers whose seasons ended prematurely due to injury.
- The Athletics were awarded a waiver claim on Yunel Escobar this weekend, but Rays manager Joe Maddon told reporters, including Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, that Escobar will not be traded via waivers this month. The 31-year-old Escobar is controlled through the 2016 season at annual rates of $5 million (2015) and $7 million (2016) with a $7 million club option or $1 million buyout for the 2017 season. Those salaries are the result of an extension inked by Escobar earlier this season, but his production thus far likely hasn't been what the Rays were expecting.
- Right-handers Bartolo Colon and Scott Feldman cleared revocable waivers and are now eligible to be traded to any team, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The Angels don't appear to be a fit for Bartolo Colon at this time, Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times wrote. Colon is owed $1.77 million for the remainder of the season and $11 million in 2015, and the Angels would likely have interest only if the Mets were to assume some of the remaining salary, DiGiovanna said.
- Astros right-hander Chad Qualls was claimed on revocable waivers by an unnamed club, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. It's not clear if the Astros are willing to move Qualls, but the Astros will have until Wednesday to work out a deal with the claiming club, Rosenthal added. MLB.com's Brian McTaggart wrote that it's more likely that Qualls will be pulled off waivers than traded.
- Right-hander Matt Lindstrom is a free agent at season's end, but he told Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com that his preference is to return to the White Sox, with whom he spent the past two seasons.
- Former first-round pick Phil Bickford, who elected not to sign with the Blue Jays as the No. 10 overall pick in the 2013 draft, will not return to Cal State Fullerton for his sophomore season and is strongly considering pitching in independent ball, according to Kendall Rogers of PerfectGameUSA.com. Such a move would allow Bickford to be eligible for the 2015 draft. Bickford could consider transferring to a junior college as well, which would also allow him to file for next year's draft. Aaron Fitt of Baseball America heard that junior college is more likely for Bickford. Either way, this appears to be a clear indicator that Bickford is focused on entering next year's draft and beginning his pro career.
- The Pirates announced that they designated infielder Jayson Nix for assignment in order to clear roster space for Jose Tabata.