Julian Tavarez- BOS- Cold- The conversion back to starter is not going well for Tavarez. Baltimore hammered him for 5 runs on 10 hits last night as his record fell to 1-4. The problem for Tavarez has not been strictly location, as he has had a good ball/strike ratio in all but 1 of his starts (28/62 last night) and didn't walk an Oriole yesterday. He also has not been a victim of luck in a major way, with a .282 BHIP after his last start. Tavarez just seems to be eminently hittable this season, particularly after the opponents have seen him. In his first 30 pitches, opposing batters are hitting .211 against him. After that point, their average jumps to .322. Maybe Tavarez' stuff just fools batters the first time around and the bullpen is a far more productive place for him to be. When Jon Lester is read to return, that's probably where Tavarez will go.
Jim Thome- CHW- Inj Update- Thome took his first live batting practice on the field since going on the DL with a rib cage strain. He completed the session without pain and, if he still is pain-free after another BP session today, will be off to a rehab assignment with AAA Charlotte tomorrow. With interleague play coming up next weekend, it is likely that Thome will get a full week at Charlotte and be activated after the White Sox and Cubs are done.
Shea Hillenbrand- LAA- Drop Value- Hillenbrand was riding the bench again last night, with Kendry Morales filling the DH spot in Texas. This was after he was expected to be playing following a 2-game benching. If Hillenbrand's stock has fallen so low that manager Mike Scioscia doesn't think he can break out of his slump by batting against a lefthander Thursday or in the hitter-friendly Arlington Stadium, then Hillenbrand is in a deep hole indeed.
Virgil Vasquez- DET- Rookie- The Tigers will call up Virgil Vasquez to make an emergency start in place of Jeremy Bonderman tomorrow. Vasquez has been productive in the minors this season, posting a 2.88 ERA, 4-2 record, and leading the International League with 50 strikeouts. This comes after a 2006 season where he impressed the Detroit management by pitching 174 innings at AA and then pitching well in the Arizona Fall League. Vasquez' durability is his most intriguing feature at this point, as he is not projected as one of the frontline Tiger starters of the future, despite his gaudy early numbers. With his immediate major league future consisting of just the start tomorrow, you can pass on him.
Jeff Weaver- SEA- Inj- The Mariners figured out what to do with the underperforming Weaver. They suddenly discovered that he was suffering from shoulder tendinitis and placed him on the DL. It looks like he might have a relatively lengthy rehabilitation plan, with the Mariners waiting for inflammation in Weaver's shoulder to diminish. Then he will work on a shoulder strengthening regimen. Following that will be pitching. Not surprisingly, the Mariners have not set a target date for Weaver's return.
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