MLB In Full Bloom - Mesoraco Homers in Fourth Straight Game - 6/24/2014

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Devin Mesoraco has been terrorizing National League pitching since he got healthy after beginning the season with a oblique injury and a hamstring injury. On Monday, Mesoraco hit a grand slam off Cubs reliever Hector Rondon that turned a one-run game into a comfortable victory. The homer was his 13th of the season, and it was his fourth straight game with a home run. It's not completely unexpected from Mesoraco, who was a first-round pick of the Reds in 2007, but he's trending toward having a breakout season this year. Mesoraco is in the top five among catchers in the National League in nearly every batting category, as he's hitting .315 with 38 RBI and 23 runs scored. Factor in that Mesoraco has played roughly 25 fewer games than other starting catchers and his numbers are that much more impressive.

MLB NEWS & NOTES

  • Logan Morrison led the Mariners to 12-3 blowout victory over the Boston Red Sox on Monday in Seattle. Morrison went 4-for-4 with two homers, three RBI and four runs scored. He reached base all five times up as he also drew a walk. Morrison's second inning solo homer off starter John Lackey tied the game 1-1, and his three-run bomb off Chris Capuano in the seventh capped the game's scoring. Despite the big night at the plate, Morrison should be owned in only AL-only leagues.
  • Matt Adams had two homers and six RBI to lead the Cardinals to an 8-0 win over the Rockies on Monday. Adams singled in two runs in the third, but he was just getting started; he had a solo homer off Jhoulys Chacin in the fifth and then a three-run shot off Franklin Morales in the seventh.
  • Bryce Harper (thumb) reached base in both of his plate appearances and played three innings in left field during his first rehab game Monday with High-A Potomac. Harper is making his way back from surgery to repair a ligament in his thumb, singled in his first at-bat and drew a walk later in the game. He's expected to play five innings in center field tonight, as the Nationals plan to have him play all around the outfield when he returns. After tonight's game, he's expected to take the day off Wednesday before joining another minor league affiliate.
  • Matt Cain struggled again on Monday night as he allowed six runs over 7 1/3 innings in a loss against the offensively challenged San Diego Padres. On a night fantasy owners were hoping to see Cain turn the corner, it was not to be as he surrendered three runs in the fourth inning. The Giants are now 3-10 in their previous 13 games. Cain (1-6, 4.82 ERA) hasn't helped, going winless in his last five starts, with the two most recent outings being the ugliest (7 ER in 5 innings against the White Sox on Friday). At least he kept the ball in the yard tonight. After giving up 11 homers, Cain is on pace to surpass his career-most 23 home runs set last season. He'll look to get back on track while hosting the Cincinnati Reds over the weekend, but mixed leaguers should stay far away from him.
  • Andrew Cashner (shoulder) was placed on the 15-day disabled list Monday, but he does not seem to not be too worried about his current shoulder injury. Cashner hopes to play catch before the end of this weekend. The Padres thought about having Cashner skip just one start, but instead decided on a more cautious approach. It sounds like the right-hander has a shot to return after the 15-day minimum, though that's far from a sure thing at this early point in time.
  • FOX Sports' Jon Paul Morosi reported on Monday evening that the Blue Jays had their pro scouting director attend Jeff Samardzija's start on Monday night in Chicago. It's not surprising to hear that the Blue Jays continue to monitor Samardzija, as the two sides are a natural fit to make a deal. Morosi went on to report that there are "strong indications" that the Cubs would deal Samardzija to Toronto for a package of prospects including right-hander Aaron Sanchez, left-hander Daniel Norris and center fielder Dalton Pompey. As of now, the Blue Jays may be willing to deal only one or two players from that group. Something will have to give in order for a deal to get done by the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.
  • Stephen Strasburg, like his former college teammate Addison Reed, has announced that he will give up giving up smokeless tobacco following the death of Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn. Strasburg played for Gwynn at San Diego State said he quit because of his daughter. Strasburg said he picked up the habit long before arriving at San Diego State and added that he didn't know Gwynn had used smokeless tobacco during his playing days.

MLB In Full Bloom - Justin Verlander Gets Back On Track - 6/23/2014

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On Saturday afternoon, vintage Justin Verlander returned and gave fantasy owners the opportunity breathe a little easier until the next start. Verlander rebounded with one of his strongest efforts of the season against the Indians on Saturday, permitting only two runs (one earned) on four hits and a walk with eight strikeouts over seven innings. A solo home run by Carlos Santana in the fourth inning was Verlander's lone mistake on the night. Otherwise, the veteran right-hander looked sharp with eight strikeouts and tied a season low with one walk. Verlander will look to build off this performance with a road start at Houston on Friday. He left the game in line for the win but ultimately came away with a no decision. Nobody knows, but expect Verlander to be more like himself as the season continues to move into the second half of the season.

MLB NEWS & NOTES

  • Johnny Cueto gave up three runs, but just one earned while striking out eight over eight innings in Sunday's 4-3 victory over the Blue Jays. Cueto gave up seven hits, walked one batter and hit another. He threw 120 pitches in the outing and suffered a hamstring cramp while running the bases, but he gutted it out to lower his ERA to a league-best 1.86. He'll look to keep it going in his next start in San Francisco.
  • Madison Bumgarner pitched a gem Sunday that included seven strikeouts and two hits allowed and no earned runs in a winning effort against the Diamondbacks. Bumgarner improved his record to an impressive 9-4. He's gone at least seven innings in his last six starts while going 4-1 during that same stretch. Bumgarner is providing quality starts for the Giants and his fantasy owners on a regular basis.
  • Michael Wacha (shoulder) will end up on the disabled list with a shoulder injury that caused him to miss Sunday's start. Wacha had his start skipped apparently to preserve his arm. The Cardinals could be losing two pitchers to the disabled list in the next few days, as Jaime Garcia is also dealing with a shoulder injury. Carlos Martinez filled in for Wacha yesterday and earned the win and will likely stay in the rotation to fill one of the spots, but who will take the other turn is unclear at this point.
  • Joe Smith allowed a home run to Brad Snyder in the ninth inning of Sunday's win over the Rangers. But he struck out two of the other three batters he faced to protect the Angels' late lead. It was a non-save situation, but Smith appears to be the next in line to get a chance to be the Angels closer. He is currently in a committee at closer with Ernesto Frieri, Mike Morin, and maybe a few others.
  • The San Diego Padres fired executive vice president/general manager Josh Byrnes on Sunday morning. Byrnes took over as GM of the Padres in October 2011 when then-GM Jed Hoyer left for the position of GM with the Cubs. Before that, Byrnes had been VP of baseball operations for the Padres for a year. The Padres entered Sunday with a 32-43 record, 12.5 games out in the NL West. Many players on the roster are under performing offensively and it just has not happened for Byrnes.
  • Alex Torres of the San Diego Padres made history in his relief appearance Saturday night against the Giants, becoming the first major league pitcher to wear a padded cap in a regular-season game. The hat looks ridiculous, but Torres said that it does feel different than the regular hat. The hat is manufactured by isoBlox and approved by MLB and they are available to any player who wants one.
  • Angels batting coach Don Baylor could return to the Angels bench by the end of the month. Baylor broke his leg on Opening Day when he participated in the first pitch ceremony with Vladimir Guerrero. Baylor has a doctor's appointment on Tuesday to decide if he is ready to to travel with the Angels.

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