John Axford- MIL- Cold- Axford retired the only batter he faced yesterday, which is a distinct improvement for him over his recent appearances. He hasn't had a full inning facing the minimum number of batters since April 23rd. An inordinate amount of homers allowed along with a big dose of bad luck has made 2013 a horrible season for Axford. He has fought a .391 BABIP and 64.8% LOB% and given up 3.60 HR/9. He has minor league options left and the team is now thinking of using one for him if things don't change. Manager Ron Roenicke does seem to recognize the role luck has played in Axford's performance so he could get a little more time to work things out.
Jonathan Sanchez- PIT- FYI- Sanchez was signed to a minor league deal yesterday by the Dodgers after the Pirates released him last week. He will go to AAA Albuquerque but if the Dodgers' rotation keeps getting snakebit with injuries he could end up with the big club at some point. Sanchez gave up 7 homers in just 13.2 IP with the Pirates this season. He did increase his K/9 in this small sample size to 9.88 from 6.26 last year. If he can hold the homers down and keep the Ks up there is some sleeper potential as Sanchez posted a 3.07 ERA in 2010 with San Francisco. And that was with a higher ERA at home than on the road.
Shin-Soo Choo- CIN- Hot- Choo went 4-for-5 with 2 homers and 3 runs scored yesterday. That was a breakout after he had gone 1-for-15 in his previous 5 games. This might be a break in some regression ot the mean as far as average goes. Choo's BABIP is still at .373 after yesterday. That seems high, but not that much higher than his career mark of .354. So there isn't a whole lot of negative room for more regression. His 9 homers have him far above a pace to equal the 16 he hit last year. He is behind his pace to get his usual 20 steals, but that could come.
Carlos Zambrano- PHI- FYI- With Roy Halladay having surgery the Phillies took a flyer on Zambrano, signing him to a minor league contract. Zambrano posted a 4.49 ERA last year, almost identical to his 4.47 FIP, so luck wasn't a huge part of his performance. He did a better job on the road, with a 4.01 FIP, than at home where his FIP was 5.11. Zambrano has an opt out clause, letting him sign with another team if the Phillies don't call him up by July 1st. however, there need is immediate and they will probably be able to determine if Zambrano is a fit before that date. Zambrano did pitch in the World Baseball Classic and has been working out consistently so he shouldn't need much tune up time to show whether he can benefit a major league team.
Andre Ethier- LAN- FYI- Ethier will get a scheduled day off tomorrow. He has played in 38 of the Dodgers' first 39 games and manager Don Mattingly is resting some of his regulars. This doesn't mean that Ethier won't enter the game later if needed, as happened with Carl Crawford's supposed game off last night.
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