Ed Wolfstein/Icon SMI
That's pretty much what it's like for a fantasy baseball owner who has stashed a top prospect on their bench. Nothing you do is going to get that player up to the majors any sooner than when his organization finally decides it is time to change the losing ways of the past, and for the future to finally begin. Luckily for two top prospects, their "future" has become their "present."
When Adam Jones had another flare-up of his hamstring problems running out an infield hit Wednesday, and eventually had to be removed from the game, a chain of events was set in motion. Felix Pie, who had missed several games due to a mysterious stomach ailment, was pressed into service, and as for the rest of the outfielders on the bench well, with Luke Scott out with a rotator cuff strain, there weren't any.
So with Jones day-to-day, the Orioles have finally decided to call up Nolan Reimold, who had been hitting .394 with nine home runs and 27 RBIs in 31 games for Triple-A Norfolk. Will he play Thursday? As manager Dave Trembley told The Baltimore Sun, "If neither one of them [Jones and Scott] are able to play, he'll be in the starting lineup."
But Reimold won't be the only big name sporting a brand-new big league uniform Thursday. No, it's not Matt Wieters we're still waiting for him. But in Milwaukee, the wait is over. Mat Gamel has been summoned from Triple-A Nashville, after the Brewers finally got fed up with Brad Nelson's 0-for-21.
Now don't get too excited. Gamel, who was hitting .336 in the minors with eight home runs and 31 RBIs, isn't taking over for Bill Hall at third base just yet. As Ken Macha told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, "He'll probably get some pinch-hits, get acclimated a little bit to the big leagues." But rest assured, Milwaukee isn't going to pull a Brandon Wood with Gamel. As Macha added, "This kid is probably our best prospect. I don't think the plan is to have him sitting on the bench."
Are Reimold and Gamel destined for greatness? Only time will tell, but I, for one, am certainly excited that we're finally going to start to get some answers. Now about that giant statue
• Lest we forget, Arizona also called up a fresh young bat in the form of Double-A outfielder Gerardo Parra. Parra, who expects to cut into some of the playing time of Chris Young and possibly Eric Byrnes, became the 100th player in major league history to hit a home run in his first at-bat Wednesday.
• The Twins and Tigers had one of those fantasy-friendly slugfests Wednesday, with Minnesota ultimately winning 14-10 in 13 innings on Joe Crede's two-out walk-off grand slam. Every Twins hitter with more than one at-bat had a hit in the game. As for Detroit, Curtis Granderson was 3-for-6 with two runs scored, but the "Rodney" of the night ("All we need is one pin, Rodney!") had to be Gerald Laird. First, Jim Leyland benched the catcher in the midst of a 1-for-35 slump, telling reporters, "I know a frustrated player when I see one," but then after finally inserting him in the lineup in the tenth inning, Laird ended up going 0-for-2 on the night.
• NL-only owners, fear not: The Astros and Rockies provided you with much fantasy hitting goodness, with a 15-11 affair at Coors Field. Chris Iannetta was 3-for-4 with a home run and five RBIs in the loss for Colorado, while Miguel Tejada was 3-for-5 with three runs scored and three RBIs for Houston, who saw every starter get at least two hits, including pitcher Mike Hampton. Hampton got the win as well, despite allowing five runs in six innings of work, thanks to Jason Marquis' nine earned runs allowed in 3 2/3 innings.
• Jo-Jo Reyes continues to struggle, allowing five runs in just over three innings of work against the Mets on Wednesday. Explain to me again why Tommy Hanson isn't also being called up today? It makes about as much sense as what was in the box that the Ajira flight survivors were toting around the island.
• One pitcher who actually did perform well Wednesday was Cliff Lee. Nine strikeouts in seven innings finally gave Lee his second win of the season, as the Indians beat the White Sox 4-0. Lee has a 1.43 ERA in his past six starts, yet is only 2-5 on the season as his run support entering last night's game was only 2.43. And if it weren't for Victor Martinez, who went 3-for-4 with his seventh home run, perhaps Lee wouldn't have gotten the win yesterday, either. What's a guy gotta do?
• Ryan Theriot of the Cubs and Adrian Gonzalez of the Padres each hit a pair of home runs in Chicago's 6-4 win over San Diego on Wednesday. However, it was Alfonso Soriano's leadoff blast that was most noteworthy, as it moved the outfielder into a tie with Craig Biggio for the second-most leadoff home runs in major league history, behind only the legendary Rickey Henderson, who kick-started his team's scoring 81 times during his illustrious career.
• Ricky Nolasco just isn't getting the job done this season, and perhaps things aren't actually going to get better, no matter how much Howard Jones we play on our iPod. Despite being staked to a 3-0 lead, thanks in part to Chris Coghlan's first career home run in the first inning, Nolasco allowed eight runs in 3 2/3 innings and lost to an unimpressive Braden Looper of the Brewers 8-6.
Jason Bartlett, Rays
The shortstop went 3-4 with a solo home run, his fifth of the season, which already matches his career high. Bartlett also scored a pear, er, pair of runs and swiped his ninth base of the year. Bartlett is now hitting .369 and continues to be a surprising contributor in all five fantasy categories.
Josh Outman, Athletics
Outman finally got his first win of the season, throwing six strong innings of one-run, three-hit ball for Oakland. Outman, who was pulled by manager Bob Geren after only 78 pitches, explained the reason for his success, telling the San Jose Mercury News, "I threw strikes. That was the difference between tonight and previous outings." If he keeps throwing strikes, perhaps he'll finally see the seventh inning one of these starts as Josh continues to get hitters out, man.
What's the 411 on 5-1-1? Lance Berkman went 2-for-2 with a walk off Jason Marquis on Wednesday, and is now 23-for-45 (.511) against the pitcher for his career. That's the highest average for any major league player off a current pitcher with a minimum of 40 at-bats. Our guess is the next time Jason Marquis sees Berkman in the batter's box, he'll be calling 911 for assistance.
• Detroit activated Dontrelle Willis before Wednesday's game so he could get the start and designated Juan Rincon for assignment. How'd that work out for the Tigers? Not so well. Willis gave up four runs, eight hits and two walks in 4 2/3 innings while recording nary a strikeout.
• Arizona's Bryan Augenstein didn't fare much better than Dontrelle after being recalled from Double-A Mobile to make his major league debut. Augenstein gave up five runs in 6 1/3 innings as he lost to the Reds. Clay Zavada was optioned to Mobile to make room for Augenstein on the big-league roster.
Click here for all the latest MLB transactions.
Tristan H. Cockcroft: Well, sure, but that's just the nature of the all-or-nothing slugger. Of course Davis will have his hot streaks in the batting-average category. What impresses me is that he has been consistent in the power department all year, even when the batting average has been down. I do very much buy his 40-homer potential (and current pace). Side note: He has struck out in 20 consecutive games. Very good chance we're looking at a 40-homer, .240-hitting, 210-K hitter at year's end. But that's still valuable in fantasy. Very valuable.
-- Full chat transcript
Eric Karabell: I think it's Reimold, easily. Blanks is a huge guy with power, but he has to learn to play the outfield, which normally takes time, and he'll strike out a ton and hit for a low average. Reimold isn't gonna be a superstar, but there's good all-around upside there.
-- Full chat transcript
Thursday's fantasy chat schedule:
AJ Mass, 11 a.m. ET
Jason Grey, 3 p.m. ET
• With all the hype about certain prospects, you might not have noticed that Chris Robinson, catcher for the Triple-A Iowa Cubs, is knocking the cover off the ball. He went 4-for-6 with 2 RBIs on Wednesday to raise his batting average to .395 for the year. But perhaps Geovany Soto has been looking over his shoulder and taking extra motivation of late. Soto finally hit his first home run of the season for Chicago on Wednesday, and is himself hitting .297 for May.
• Clay Buchholz struck out 11 batters in eight shutout innings for Triple-A Pawtucket on Wednesday and still couldn't get a win, as Eddie Bonine and Casey Fien combined on a 10-inning one-hitter for Toledo. Still, with a 1.03 ERA in 35 innings, and with hitters managing only a .130 average against him, Buchholz remains at Triple-A, even as the Red Sox starters sit last in the American League in ERA. "There's an aspect of this that he has no control over," Sox director of player development Mike Hazen told The Boston Globe. "He's upholding his end of the deal. He's putting the pressure on and forcing his way. It's a long baseball season. Something's going to happen. He's doing well."
• For more news and stats on the top prospects, check out the latest Minor League Update.
• James Shields' 2009 numbers are skewed a bit by three starts against Boston. We expect better things against the Indians, who are ninth in the AL in hitting.
• For more on Thursday's games, check out Daily Notes.