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Baseball Daily Dose

Eloy on the Shelf

by Christopher Crawford
Updated On: March 26, 2021, 9:54 am ET

The White Sox are considered not only a favorite for the AL Central by many, but also a legitimate candidate to contend for the American League title.

If they’re going to reach those lofty heights, they’re going to have to do so without one of the best young sluggers in baseball for most – if not all – of the 2021 season.

As first reported by Jim Duquette of MLB Network and confirmed by White Sox president Rick Hahn, Jimenez suffered a torn left pectoral muscle that will keep him out for five to six months. The injury occurred while the outfielder was attempting to rob a home run – although replay showed that he had no shot at the ball – and now will keep him out for most of the regular season, at best.

It goes without saying, but it’s going to be said, anyway: This is a massive blow for the White Sox and anyone who selected Jimenez in fantasy formats. As a 23-year-old, he hit .296/.332/.559 with 14 homers and 41 RBI in 55 games over the truncated campaign. The previous year, he hit 31 homers, and he looked like he was on his way to becoming an elite offensive player. That’s still very likely to happen considering he doesn’t turn 25 until November, but it’s fair to say that barring something unforeseen, this will be a lost season for Jimenez.

It’s pretty hard to replicate that potential production, and for those who have already drafted, the trade route is the most likely way to come close. For those who haven’t selected, however, it’s time to take a closer look at Andrew Vaughn. Vaughn is going to start in left field for the White Sox on Friday, and it’s more than a situation that deserves to be monitored. Not only is the 2019 first-round pick likely to make the roster – if he wasn’t already – but he’s one of the most talented young hitters in baseball. It’s hard to imagine that he’ll be a great defender in left, but Jimenez was statistically one of the worst outfielders in baseball. With a pitching staff that can miss bats and an athletic center fielder like Luis Robert, Chicago could make it work.

Vaughn’s lack of experience – he’s never played above High-A – and lack of steals make him risky, but his potential to hit for average and power in a still strong White Sox lineup make him worth a draft pick in redraft formats. As for Jimenez, that’s a tough recommendation for anyone who doesn’t have a deep injured list. That’s a real bummer.

 

Soto leaves spring game with calf tightness

It was a brutal day – and week – for injuries, and there was a scare on Thursday involving one of the true superstars of the game. Juan Soto exited on Thursday after just one at-bat, with the Nationals not providing an update on why the slugger had exited the contest. Of course, there are sleuths that were going to dig into this, and one of the best – ESPN’s Jeff Passan – discovered that Soto exited the contest after experiencing tightness in his calf. This came after a terrific at-bat against Sixto Sanchez that lasted 11 pitches and ended with a walk. Nationals manager Dave Martinez confirmed the calf issue, and that he wasn’t going to take any chances with the 22-year-old.

For now, fantasy managers can breathe easy, as it does appear similar to the Fernando Tatis Jr. injury where a team is just looking out for their wunderkind. That being said, it’s clearly something managers will want to keep an eye on in the coming days – particularly if you haven’t drafted, as it’s going to cost a top-five pick to procure Soto’s services.

 

Anderson to miss months with partially torn elbow ligament

The injury news is not done, and unfortunately, there are plenty more in our quick hits. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times was the first to report that Nick Anderson has been diagnosed with a partially torn elbow ligament. The injury will keep him out likely through the All-Star break, with the only good news being that surgery was not recommended.

Since being traded to Tampa Bay – and even a little before that – there have not been many relievers better than Anderson. That was especially true in 2020, as in his 19 games, he allowed just one run (0.55 ERA) and he struck out 26 hitters over 16 1/3 innings while procuring six saves. The previous year, he had a 2.11 ERA for the Rays with an exceptional 41/2 K/BB ratio after a deadline deal with the Marlins. As good as he’s been, the fact that he’s going to miss at least the first two months of the season – likely more – and the fact that he wasn’t a lock to receive save chances puts his fantasy relevance on the back burner.

As for potential replacements, fantasy managers might want to take a look at Peter Fairbanks or Diego Castillo, as they’re the two most likely options to pitch in the ninth inning. Just keep in mind that Tampa Bay does these things by committee, so saves are not a foregone conclusion for any pitcher on the roster.

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National League Quick Hits: Alec Bohm left Thursday's Grapefruit League game against the Yankees with tightness in the leg. … Tim Stebbins of NBC Sports Chicago reports that Shelby Miller is a candidate for the final spot in the Cubs' rotation. … Dodgers purchased the contract of RHP Jimmy Nelson from Triple-A Oklahoma City. … Edwin Rios has been dealing with hamstring tightness that has kept him out of Cactus League action since March 19. … Freddy Peralta will begin the season as a member of the starting rotation for the Brewers. … Yu Darvish will start on Opening Day (April 1) for the Padres against the Diamondbacks. Blake Snell gets the ball in the second game. … Jackie Bradley Jr. (wrist) could return to game action on Saturday. Fernando Tatis Jr. returned to the lineup on Thursday, hitting second as the designated hitter against the Rangers. … Michael Lorenzen told reporters on Thursday that he is on track to return "quickly." Lorenzen has a slight shoulder strain, and Reds manager David Bell told reporters that the reliever is in doubt for opening day. … Gio Gonzalez has announced his retirement from baseball. … An MRI taken Wednesday on Starlin Castro's left hamstring showed a "very mild strain," per Nationals manager Dave Martinez. … Phillies released Hector Rondon and Ivan Nova. … Braves released RHP Carl Edwards Jr. … Mets released RHP Tommy Hunter. … Mike Soroka (Achilles) threw another simulated game on Wednesday in Braves camp. … Nationals signed LHP Kyle Lobstein to a minor league contract. … Braves optioned OF Guillermo Heredia to their alternate training site.

American League Quick Hits: Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo told reporters that George Springer remains day-to-day with his oblique strain. … Twins manager Rocco Baldelli confirmed that Randy Dobnak will be a part of the Opening Day roster, and will pitch in the bullpen. … Astros released RHP Steve Cishek. ... Twins released Steve Cishek. … Jose Urquidy fired five perfect innings against the Cardinals on Thursday in Grapefruit League action. … Carlos Correa told reporters that he will not negotiate with the Astros after Opening Day. … Frankie Montas will throw a simulated game in Oakland sometime next week. Montas exited Thursday’s start after suffering a torn cuticle in his right middle finger. … Christian Vazquez did not play in Thursday's game against the Twins after suffering an eye laceration and contusion before the Grapefruit League game. … Mitch Garver left Thursday's game against the Red Sox with a bruise on his left hand. … Danny Duffy left his start on Thursday with a trainer against the Diamondbacks after being hit by a comebacker. He told Fox Sports Kansas City he was fine after the start. … Kirby Yates underwent Tommy John surgery on Wednesday. … Felix Hernandez (elbow) threw a bullpen on Thursday. … Orioles released LHP Wade LeBlanc. … Rafael Devers said Thursday that he has not discussed a contract extension with the Red Sox this spring. … Chris Bassitt has been named the Opening Day starter for the Athletics. … SNY's Andy Martino reports that the Yankees are "receiving trade interest" on outfielder Mike Tauchman. … Orioles purchased the contract of RHP Matt Harvey.

Christopher Crawford

Christopher Crawford is a baseball and college football writer for NBC Sports EDGE and also appears on the Circling the Bases Podcast.