IN THE FIELD
Zack Cozart was held out of the lineup the last two days with back tightness. Cozart has sputtered lately after getting off to a hot start slashing .273/.319/.470 with two homers over the first two weeks of the season but has it just .133 with one homer since. The move has also dropped Cozart from the leadoff spot in the lineup and he's been hitting anywhere between 5th and 7th in the Angels lineup, which isn't as appealing as when he was hitting in front of Trout.... Curtis Granderson left Friday's game with hamstring tightness and the move is being called precautionary by the team. Granderson has been off to a hot start for the Blue Jays hitting .288 over the first month with three homers. Dalton Pompey replaced Granderson in the field and he'll likely be the one to fill in if the injury was worse than the team believes.... The Orioles are hoping Tim Beckham can begin playing spring training games in the first week in June after undergoing groin surgery on April 26th. Beckham has struggled mightily this year slashing .179/.247/.262 with a 0.83 ISO and described the injury as "lingering" and "happy to get it done" so maybe we can hope for closer to 2017 numbers when he returns. Danny Valencia has been playing third in Beckham's absence but has fared much better hitting .218 with three homers.... It's sounding like the Orioles might be getting some thump back into their lineup here in the form of Jonathan Schoop as he is hopefully going to complete his rehab assignment this weekend. Schoop has struggled this year but did have a pair of two hit games in his final two games before his injury. Now those were a month ago so does that really matter? Probably not, but it's better than more 0-fers.... The Rangers still think that Elvis Andrus is at least one week around from running, which is one of the first steps in his recovery from his broken elbow. June still seems like the likely return date for him. Jurickson Profar is still playing shortstop every day in his absence..... No major updates on Adrian Beltre's hamstring strain so it sounds like he's still hopefully to return in the second half of the month..... Rougned Odor is set to begin his rehab assignment this week as he nears return from his hamstring strain. Isiah Kiner-Falefa is getting most of the playing time at second base right now and he's hitting .266 with two homers and two steals but will likely be regulated to a bench role once Odor returns even though Odor has struggled to this point in the season.... Still no estimated return date for Dustin Pedroia to return from his knee injury but the Red Sox are going to be patient with him as there's no reason to force him back into the lineup when the team is playing this well.... Miguel Cabrera has found his way to the DL with a hamstring strain and this is now the second year he's been banged up fairly frequently. The main difference is this year he is at least producing at the plate with a 144 wRC+ in 26 games with three homers and 21 runs driven in. While having multiple small ailments in the first month isn't ideal, he is hitting too well right now to think about jumping ship because of them.... Byron Buxton took BP and ran for the first time (Friday) since breaking his toe on a foul ball during his rehab from his migraine issues. This is a big step for his as speed/running is the only thing that's been working for him this year with four stolen bases while he is hitting .195 with a 26 wRC+..... Miguel Sano was placed on the DL May 1st (retroactive to April 28th) and as of May 3rd had not begun running again in his rehab. Eduardo Escobar is getting the starts at third base while Sano is on the DL.... Yoan Moncada is dealing with hamstring tightness and the White Sox placed im on the 10 day DL on Saturday.. He's been out of the lineup since Thursday and Moncada said himself that this is one of those injuries where he needs three to four days off to get it right so I would be he misses the minimum number of games. Jose Rondon was recalled from AAA to take him spot on the roster..... Greg Bird may be able to start playing in extended spring training games as soon as Monday. Bird is recovering from his second ankle surgery in two years as we haven't been able to see what he's really able to do in the majors as he comes down with another injury typically right after returning from the first one..... Brandon Drury is in AAA now while rehabbing from migraines and blurred vision, but the Yankees are able to take their time with him as Miguel Andujar is playing well at third base (.284/.302/.510 3HR). Aaron Boone's comments saying that if there was a "need" for him to be back in the majors right now that he might already be back in the majors makes me think that he's very close to being back in New York..... Gleyber Torres is currently on a four game hit streak, but the one thing that's been lacking from his game was power and on Friday we saw him hit his first major league homerun. Over his first 52 plate appearances he's hitting .333 with a 118 wRC+ and a very impressive 19.2% K%...... Dee Gordon has been on a tear for the last week hitting .630 on a six game hit streak. He's also swiped five of his league leading 14 stolen bases in that span as well.... Delino Deshields is on an eight game hit streak hit five of those games being muti-hit efforts. He's been back from the DL for 12 games now and he has a hit in 10 of those 12 games. He's put his excellent speed to work already swiping four bags in that span as well.
IN THE ROTATION
Not a ton of injury new in the AL rotation front..... Shohei Ohtani is working through his ankle injury when it comes to pitching but he's still able to DH for the team as he's been in the lineup each of the last four days. He recently threw a bullpen session with no setbacks and he's slated to start Sunday against the Mariners..... Jordon Montgomery left his last start after just seven pitches and after a MRI later in the week it revealed that he's going to miss 6-to-8 weeks for New York . With the strained flexor tendon in his forearm he'll possibly start throwing in three weeks. These kind of strains can often lead to Tommy John surgery but the Yankees don't feel like this is one of those cases. Domingo German will start Sunday but Aaron Boone was noncommittal about him staying in the rotation after that....... Nathan Eovaldi was sent on his rehab assignment to High-A and it sounds like he may be able to return by the end of the month. He threw one inning for the Stone Crabs Friday. I'm a bit skeptical of him returning due to having an additional elbow surgery at the tail end of his recovery from Tommy John surgery, but I'll at least monitor this as the upside on Eovaldi is something to watch....
IN THE BULLPEN
Kenyan Middleton is currently on the 10-day DL with an elbow injury but he is "not concerned at all" with the injury and doesn't anticipate it being something that will linger. Middleton has already notched six saves for the Angels this month while striking out a batter an inning, but is walking nearly 12% of the batters he faces.... Andrew Miller is scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Saturday and the team is hopeful he'll be back in the neighborhood of May 9th. The team said on Friday that they don't anticipate Miller needing any sort of rehab assignment and can immediately return to the team. Miller's walks are up a bit from last year but when he's still striking out over 40% of the batters he's faced this season while not allowing a run.... Zach Britton is still progressing in his rehab from his achillies injury and he threw a bullpen session on Friday the 4th and he's set to take part in pitcher's fielding practice on Saturday. Still no set timetable for him to return but the hope has been the end of May for since the season began..... The Yankees are close to getting a couple more weapons back in the bullpen in Tommy Kahnle and Adam Warren and the team is expecting Kahnle to be the first of the duo to make it back...
PLAYERS TO ADD
Eduardo Escobar, Minnesota Twins - Eduardo Escobar is off to an extremely hot start for the Twins and is going to have every day at bats at third base while Miguel Sano is on the DL. Entering Saturday he was hitting .323/.373/.657 with six homers and a stolen base while driving in 18 runs. Escobar has a career high 39% hard contact rate and that number has risen each of the last three seasons. He's also combining that with only a 25% ground ball rate which can help him maintain a near .350 BABIP even if it will eventually decline a bit. Based on his batted ball profile we could be seeing a breakout season for the infielder and he hit 21 homers last season.
ESPN Ownership - 50.2%, up 34.8% over the last seven days
Jorge Soler, Kansas City Royals - Speaking of breakout seasons, is this the year that Jorge Soler is finally going to live up to his lofty prospect hype? Soler is slashing .297/.415/.505 with four homers and nine doubles in his first 123 plate appearances this season. He's currently sporting a .388 BABIP and while that's due for some regression he is hitting the ball with a 44% hard contact rate which will help him still once things begin to slow down in that area. He's needs to start elevating the ball more as he's running a 42.6% GB rate plus a 55% pull rate.
ESPN Ownership - 28.9%, up 25.4% over last seven days.
Daniel Robertson, Tampa Bay Rays - There was an article on Fangraphs earlier this week about a swing change for Daniel Robertson and how he says that he's gone from a "generic swing" to one that embraces the idea of launch angles and is a more fluid swing. It's safe to say that the early returns on that have been great as he's slashing .297/.447/.500 compared to his career line of .229/.346/.370. In 75 games last year he hit five homers and he already has three long balls. He's generating line drives on 27.5% of his batted balls and the most drastic change for him is the now almost 50% pull rate that he's working with.
ESPN Ownership - 30.2%, up 17.9% over last seven days
CJ Cron, Tampa Bay Rays - CJ Cron had a 10 game hit streak snapped on Friday, but started another one right back up Saturday going 1-for-4 at the plate. During the streak we saw some of Cron's power potential as he hit five of his seven homers in that span along with two doubles. Cron's batted ball profile is looking right in line with 2017 but he's getting a bit more fortunate on fly balls with 20% of them being homeruns. That should start to come down a bit and he'll settle into what he did last season where he hit 16 homers, but only in 100 games. There's 20 homer upside here easily with a full season of playing time.
ESPN Ownership - 38.5%, up 16.9% over last seven days
CC Sabathia New York Yankees - CC Sabathia has been dealing in his last three starts, and his fourth start was only 4.1 innings be he still allowed no runs. Sabathia overall has allowed just one run over his last 23.1 innings after allowing four runs in his first nine innings. The strength of CC is this span has been an ability to limit hard contact at and exceptional rate which is helpful because he's currently running a sub-8% swinging strike rate over his last four starts. Batters are also making contact on around 92% of swings on balls in the zone so we really are playing with some fire on how long the soft contact can last.
ESPN Ownership - 40.6%, up 23.8% over last seven days