Under The Knife (cont.)
Every player wants to help his team. Every player wants to go out on his own terms. Berkman is feeling those chances slipping away as his rehab continues. Berkman hasn't had a setback with his knee, but the pain and inflammation isn't the progress he wants to see. Until he gets to a point where he can run and play without the knee becoming more problematic, he's not going to be able to be activated before roster expansion. Once we get to that point, things change. A pure pinch-hitter isn't taking up room on the roster and taking a chance on a guy in the starting roster isn't as costly if he needs to come out. Cardinals fans might remember how the team dealt with Mark McGwire at the end, when his plantar fasciitis tested Tony La Russa's creativity. It's not there yet for Berkman, but it might not be the worst idea for Mike Matheny to look at some game logs either.
Bailey might be a bit glad he's been in Pawtucket. Not really -- no player wants to be hurt or have an extended rehab, no matter how much nonsense is going on with the team. Bailey was finally activated on Tuesday, after six appearances with Pawtucket (AAA). Bailey's thumb hasn't shown any issues, as he's passed every test the Red Sox medical staff and opposing hitters threw at him. Bailey won't immediately take the closer role, but it shouldn't be too long before he gets the saves. He had a walk and a strikeout in a 1/3 inning of work. There's very little chance of recurrence, so if you're in one of the 70 percent of leagues where he's available, you can put him in your roster with some confidence.
The Tigers were excited at one point not long ago that they could get a late season boost from a return by Martinez. His surgery to repair his sprained knee wasn't as extensive, but the rehab hasn't pushed forward the way that had been hoped. He's not ready now and it's going to be tough to get him on a rehab assignment. It's not necessary, of course, but the Tigers just aren't sure what they'd get. With September roster expansion, they could let Martinez try or they could tune him up with play at their minor league complex, but mostly, it's feeling like the timeline of the season and the timeline of Martinez's rehab aren't matching up. He's going to keep working and as long as the Tigers stay in playoff contention, the chance will remain in play. If you've stashed him on your fantasy roster this long, you might as well keep hanging on to the hope.
Drew Storen was on the Jim Rome Show and the media-savvy closer did his best to blast reports that the Nationals aren't on board with the Stephen Strasburg shutdown. They may not like it, but the Nats at least understand the good intentions and long term perspective ... Josh Beckett looks utterly lost. Worse, he's looked this way for most of the season with no changes from coaching ... Pablo Sandoval was activated. His strained hamstring might limit his running slightly in the short term. If you were counting on him for steals and triples, well, you need a new hobby ... The Nats are due to make a decision on Ian Desmond's next step on Wednesday. Signs point to a short rehab stint ... Dee Gordon isn't swinging a bat yet, so getting him back before roster expansion is unlikely ... The A's pushed Brandon Inge to the DL after his shoulder dislocated a few days ago. They expect him back around the minimum ... The Jays are protecting Edwin Encarnacion's heel by playing him more at DH. There's some rumblings that there's more going on here so I'm keeping a close eye on the situation ... Yasmani Grandal is ready to head out on a rehab assignment. The pace is slow as the Padres have no reason to rush their young catcher ... Nate Schierholtz has a broken toe. That could cost him as much as a month, forcing another shuffle in the Phillies OF ... Vance Worley will need to have the bone chips taken out of his elbow, but the Phils aren't going to shut him down. The issue is manageable and he's not doing any damage right now. The situation doesn't require more time than the off-season will already give, so this is a reasonable play ... The Orioles are shifting Brian Matusz to the pen to work as a LOOGY. The whispers about "coachability" are accompanying the move ... Brad Penny hits the DL, as his shoulder isn't holding up under the workload. Its the same issue he's had over the past couple seasons ... Dallas Braden is going to need more surgery on his shoulder. His season is over and maybe more ... Mike Carp hits the DL for a third time in this injury-riddled season. This time it's a hip flexor strain ... Eric Chavez is on a great run for the Yankees, but no one is too surprised. "He can still play," an advance scout that recently saw Chavez told me, "but he's going to get exposed quickly. He can't stay healthy playing nearly every day, but he's still got the swing and isn't terrible defensively" ... This is bad, but I'd heard rumblings about this as far back as January. There's more issues in Boston than just Bobby Valentine, though he could end up the first manager fired once the season is done.