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Gary Sanchez
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Baseball Daily Dose

Wounded Bombers

by David Shovein
Updated On: September 13, 2019, 1:19 am ET

Wounded Bombers

The New York Yankees have certainly battled their fair share of injuries this season -- and Thursday’s doubleheader against the Tigers proved to be no exception.

Edwin Encarnacion was lifted from the first game of Thursday’s twin bill -- after he had slugged a two-run homer off of Matthew Boyd -- with a left oblique strain. Yankees’ manager Aaron Boone conveyed after the game that the team was optimistic that his oblique strain wasn’t serious and won’t sideline him for too long. 

It obviously makes sense for them to take a cautious approach here, rather than resulting further aggravation and risk that the injury becomes a larger issue down the stretch. The goal, is to have Encarnacion fully healthy heading into October. Still, much to the displeasure of fantasy owners chasing titles over the next few weeks, it sounds like Encarnacion is going to miss some time.

If one big bat going down wasn’t enough though, the Yankees also lost star backstop Gary Sanchez. He was removed from the nightcap of Thursday’s doubleheader in the fourth inning due to a left groin strain.

If you’ll recall, Sanchez hit the injured list in late July with a strained left groin -- missing a total of 16 games before returning in mid-August. Sanchez also missed time during the 2018 campaign with a groin issue, though that was on the right side.

He’ll travel back to New York to undergo further evaluation to determine the severity of the injury. Like with Encarnacion, there’s no incentive for the Yankees to push Sanchez and risk further injury or aggravation. They’ll take a cautious approach here as well, which means that we’ll see plenty of Austin Romine and Kyle Higashioka over the next couple of weeks, with the team’s goal to have Sanchez healed up and fully healthy heading into the postseason.

If injuries to a pair of key bats wasn’t enough of a buzzkill on Thursday, the Yankees also announced that left-hander J.A. Happ was dealing with biceps tendinitis. That was after Happ was pulled from Thursday’s start against the Tigers after only 4 ⅔ innings.

He, like Sanchez, will head back to New York for further evaluation. Yankees’ manager Aaron Boone indicated that it’s an issue that has been bothering Happ for a while now, and that this trip to New York had already been planned prior to Thursday’s start.

CC Sabathia joked after Thursday’s doubleheader that all of the injuries that the Yankees have dealt with this season are going to make a great story on a World Series DVD. The one thing that the club has going for them right now is time, as they’ll enter play on Friday with a 10-game lead over the Rays and are running away with the division crown in the American League East. They’ll have a couple of weeks to rest and get as healthy as they possibly can before October begins.


Darvish Dazzles

Yu Darvish delivered his finest performance as a member of the Cubs on Thursday, racking up a season-high 14 strikeouts while allowing just two hits and two walks over six shutout innings in a victory over the Padres.

It’s the first time that any Cubs’ right-handed hurler has struck out 14 or more batters in a game since Mark Prior accomplished the feat in 2004. It’s the first time that Darvish has punched out 14 since the 2013 season -- where he remarkably fanned 14 or more batters five times, including a career-high of 15 once.

With Thursday’s massive strikeout total, the 33-year-old hurler has now eclipsed the 200-strikeout plateau for the fourth time in his career, having done so in 2012, 2013 and 2017 as well.

Over his last 11 starts, Darvish has posted a phenomenal 2.44 ERA, 0.78 WHIP and 93/6 K/BB ratio over 66 ⅓ innings. During that stretch, he has lowered his ERA from 5.01 on July 3 to 3.97.

If the Cubs do wind up securing a Wild Card berth, Darvish will wind up being one of the major reasons as to why. He’s also leading plenty of fantasy owners to titles with his remarkable performance the past few months.


Senzel Shelved

Reds’ rookie sensation Nick Senzel received some bad news on Thursday when he was diagnosed with a torn labrum in his right shoulder -- ending his 2019 season prematurely. He’ll receive a second opinion from Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles on Monday to determine how and when to proceed surgically.

Senzel suffered the injury while making a diving catch in center field on August 31, though he played through the injury until September 7.

He finishes a solid rookie campaign hitting .256/.315/.427 with 12 long balls, 42 RBI and 14 stolen bases in 104 games. He’ll have plenty of time to recover in the offseason and should be fully healthy and ready to go for the start of spring training.

Presuming he’s fully recovered in time, he’ll open the 2020 campaign as the team’s everyday center fielder and leadoff, where he’ll have plenty of fantasy value with his dazzling blend of power and speed.

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Ohtani Out

The Los Angeles Angels announced Thursday that Shohei Ohtani will undergo surgery to address a bipartite patella in his left knee. 

In a statement, the Angels announced that Ohtani will be sidelined for 8-to-12 weeks, so obviously there's no chance of him returning by the end of the season. The two-way player should be ready for the start of spring training, but this could have an impact on his pitching regimen; keep in mind that he didn't pitch at all this year while recovering from Tommy John surgery. 

All things considered, it was a successful season with the bat for the 25-year-old, finishing with a slash of .286/.343/.505 with 18 homers, 12 steals and 62 RBI in 106 games. An absolutely dynamic player, it will be fascinating to watch all of Ohtani’s skills on full display again in 2020.


C’Mon Kyle!

How about the week that Kyle Lewis is having?

The Mariners’ top prospect debuted with a bang on Tuesday, crushing a solo home run to break up Trevor Bauer’s no-hit bid in the fifth inning.  He followed that up with a go-ahead three-run homer in the seventh inning on Wednesday, powering the Mariners to a 5-3 victory over the Reds. In each case, the long balls were the only hits that Lewis had in the ballgame.

On Thursday, he crushed a 457-foot bomb to left center, becoming the only player in Mariners’ history to homer in each of his first three games. It’s also the first time in Lewis’ career at any level, in which he has homered in three consecutive games. In addition, the 457-foot blast was the longest home run hit by any Mariners’ player this season.


American League Quick Hits: An MRI on the injured left arm of Brad Hand came back negative for any structural damage on Wednesday, though manager Terry Francona noted that he’ll need to “build back up” before returning. The club could utilize a closer-by-committee approach the rest of the way. … Luis Severino (shoulder) is scheduled to make his long-awaited season debut on Tuesday against the Angels. … Jordan Montgomery (elbow, shoulder) could make his season debut on Sunday against the Blue Jays in Toronto. … The Blue Jays released veteran left-hander Clayton RichardHunter Pence (back) admitted Thursday that he may not be able to make it back before the end of the season. He also expressed his desire to continue his playing career in 2020. … The Royals claimed left-hander Randy Rosario off of waivers from the Cubs…Ehire Adrianza was removed from Thursday’s game against the Nationals with a right oblique strain. …  Luke Voit homered and drove in three runs as the Yankees took the first game of Thursday’s doubleheader against the Tigers. … Aaron Judge crushed his 22nd homer to lead the charge in the nightcap. … Jorge Soler swatted his 44th home run as the Royals beat the White Sox. … Mookie Betts had three hits, stole a base and scored two runs as the Red Sox beat the Blue Jays. … Ji-Man Choi went 1-for-1 and drew four walks in a loss to the Rangers. He has now reached base in all 10 of his plate appearances over the last two games. … Justin Verlander punched out 11 in a losing effort against the Athletics. … Matt Olson smacked his 32nd homer - and fourth in his last six games - to lead the A’s past the Astros. … Nelson Cruz socked his 36th dinger in a loss to the Nationals. … Omar Narvaez pulverized his 20th home run of the season as the Mariners fell to the Reds.


National League Quick Hits: Brandon Woodruff (oblique) threw to live hitters without issue on Wednesday and is on track to return to big league game action next week. … Dominic Smith (foot) ran and hit off of a tee on Wednesday and is hopeful to return to the Mets when he’s first eligible on September 25. … Raimel Tapia was scratched from the Rockies’ lineup on Thursday due to right knee soreness. He’s considered day-to-day… Craig Kimbrel (elbow) threw a successful bullpen session on Thursday, though there remains no clear timetable for his return. … Reyes Moronta is expected to require up to 11 months of rest and rehab following successful shoulder surgery earlier this week, meaning that he’s likely to miss the entire 2020 season. … An MRI on the injured ankle of Justin Turner revealed only a mild ankle sprain. He’s expected to return to the Dodgers’ starting lineup over the weekend. … Corey Dickerson underwent an MRI exam on his injured left foot which revealed no structural damage He’s considered day-to-day. … Nationals manager Dave Martinez said Thursday that Kurt Suzuki (elbow) has yet to be cleared to resume hitting or throwing. … Jaylin Davis was pulled from Thursday’s game against the Pirates after being hit by a pitch on his hand. Fortunately, X-rays came back negative and he’s only dealing with a contusion. … Ryan Braun swatted a two-run homer in a victory over the Marlins. … Michael Conforto clubbed his 30th home run as the Mets topped the Diamondbacks. … Marcus Stroman fired 6 ⅓ innings of one-run baseball to earn a victory there. … Juan Lagares crushed a grand slam and a two-run homer,  leading the Mets attack in that rout. … Joe Musgrove struck out four over five shutout innings in a victory over the Giants. … Josh Fuentes swatted his first big league home run in a losing effort against the Cardinals. … Kolten Wong homered, doubled, walked and stole two bases in a lopsided victory over the Rockies. … Cody Bellinger went 2-for-4 with an RBI, stolen base and a pair of runs scored in a victory over the Orioles. … Jose Leclerc fired a scoreless ninth inning against the Rays to record his 13th save. … Ronald Acuna Jr. homered and stole a pair of bases in a loss to the Phillies. He’s inching closer to that monstrous 40 HR / 40 SB season, as he has 39 long balls and 36 swipes. … Jean Segura crushed a two-run homer and swiped a bag in a win over the Braves. … Juan Soto smacked his 34th homer and drove in three runs in a lopsided victory over the Twins. … Freddy Galvis smacked a grand slam as the Reds rallied to beat the Mariners... Eugenio Suarez blasted his 45th home run in that victory.

David Shovein

Dave Shovein is a baseball writer for NBC Sports Edge. You can follow him on Twitter @DaveShovein.