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Christian Yelich
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Baseball Daily Dose

Yelich Out for the Year

by Matt Stroup
Updated On: September 11, 2019, 7:41 am ET

The Brewers’ playoff hopes took a devastating hit on Tuesday night, as reigning NL MVP Christian Yelich has been diagnosed with a fractured kneecap and is done for the remainder of the 2019 season. 

The injury took place in the top of the first inning, when the 27-year-old fouled a ball off his right knee against his former team, the Marlins. 

He finishes with numbers that were in some ways even more gaudy than those from his MVP campaign: a .329 average with 44 home runs, 97 RBI, 100 runs scored and 30 stolen bases. The homers and steals are both eight more than he compiled in 2018, and the .329 average is just ahead of last season’s .326.

Now headed for an increased role down the stretch is talented outfielder Trent Grisham, who went 5-for-6 as recently as Monday. Grisham is hitting .263 average with four home runs in 99 at-bats, and is 6 percent rostered in Yahoo leagues.

Big Buehler Brand

Walker Buehler encountered a slight hiccup his last time on the mound, giving up six earned runs in five innings against Colorado.

He resumed being flat-out ridiculous on Tuesday evening.

In a box score that looks like a near carbon copy of some of his other gems this season, the 25-year-old threw seven shutout innings against Baltimore, allowing four hits with no walks and 11 strikeouts as the Dodgers officially clinched their seventh straight NL West title. 

It was his sixth game of 11 or more Ks this season, all of them since the start of June. It was also the fifth time he’s had double-digit strikeouts with no walks in 2019. All told, since the start of June — across 16 starts — Buehler has a 2.63 ERA, 0.93 WHIP and a 143/16 K/BB ratio in 106 innings. He also went north of 200 strikeouts (201, to be exact) in 166 1/3 innings. 

Buxton Done 

The Twins made it official on Tuesday: Byron Buxton is done for the year. He was headed for labrum surgery on his left shoulder, accompanied by a 5-6 month rehab. That puts his status for Opening Day 2020 in doubt, as Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said on MLB Network Radio “hopefully we have him full strength and ready to go next year.” The 25-year-old finishes his 2019 campaign with a .262 average, 10 homers, 14 stolen bases and a career-best .827 OPS.

Cueto Returns

Elsewhere, the Giants at long last activated Johnny Cueto from the 60-day injured list. The 33-year-old made his season debut 13 months after Tommy John surgery and looked dynamic, throwing five scoreless innings, giving up just one hit and one walk with four strikeouts. This comes after Cueto posted a 3.38 ERA and 21/1 K/BB ratio in 21 1/3 minor league rehab innings. Unfortunately, he gets the Red Sox at Fenway Park next week.

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AL Quick Hits: Mike Trout (foot) remained sidelined, and Zach Plesac threw a complete-game shutout against the Angels in his absence (Plesac gets the Tigers on Tuesday). … Didi Gregorius and Brett Gardner both homered twice, and the Yankees and Twins are currently tied for the single-season MLB home run record, 276-276. … As for Minnesota, Mitch Garver drilled his 30th to back seven scoreless innings from Jose Berrios. … Sean Murphy homered twice in a 21-7 win for the A’s Raiders. … Ryan Pressly (knee) is getting close to a return, while Carlos Correa (back) could play in a minor league rehab game on Friday with Triple-A Round Rock. … Blake Snell (elbow) is set to throw two innings for Triple-A Durham on Thursday, and Yonny Chirinos (finger) is scheduled to throw a one-inning simulated game on Wednesday. … Eric Sogard (leg) missed a third straight start, while Kevin Kiermaier (neck) was out of the lineup as well, and though an MRI on his neck came back clean, it’s unclear when he’ll be able to play again. … Meanwhile, Kevin Cash said that Avisail Garcia is “probably day-to-day” after leaving early. …  In one more bit of Rays-related news, Tommy Pham (elbow, forearm) could be back playing left field on Wednesday, but “at the least will DH.” … The 25th homer for Eloy Jimenez was a grand slam. … Dellin Betances (shoulder, lat) was scheduled to pitch in another rehab game on Tuesday with Double-A Trenton. … Cam Bedrosian (forearm) has been throwing off flat ground. … Tommy La Stella is reportedly “still dealing with some pain in his right leg while participating in baseball activities.” … Niko Goodrum (groin) is expected to miss the rest of the season. … Max Kepler (shoulder) was out of the starting lineup. … Nelson Cruz (wrist) returned to the lineup and went 0-for-4. … The Yankees placed Mike Tauchman on the 10-day IL with a left calf strain. … Ramon Laureano (leg, shin) was out of the starting lineup again after feeling cramping in his leg over the weekend. … The Mariners purchased the contract of former top prospect Kyle Lewis, who homered in his big league debut to break up a no-hit bid from Trevor Bauer in the fifth inning. … J.P. Crawford (hamstring) could return this weekend. 

NL Quick Hits: Kris Bryant (knee) returned and homered twice, while Jason Heyward hit two homers as well — putting him over 20 for just the second time in his career (the other time was 2012). … Will Smith was unavailable Tuesday due to back inflammation, and it reportedly “doesn’t sound like he’s close” to returning. … Robbie Ray (blister) is expected to make his next scheduled start on Wednesday, while Luke Weaver (elbow) was set to throw another bullpen session on Tuesday. … Mets manager Mickey Callaway says that Jed Lowrie is “full go.” … Gavin Lux hit his first major league home run. … Hunter Renfroe (ankle) “is going to be out for a little while.” … Kurt Suzuki (elbow) was not in the lineup, but is considered day-to-day. … Jairo Diaz picked up his second save for Colorado. … Corey Dickerson homered twice, giving him three homers and eight RBI in his last four games. … Meanwhile, Jay Bruce (elbow) has been playing catch “without issue”, which points toward him soon returning to starting outfield duty after pinch-hitting so far this month. … Justin Turner (ankle) was scratched from Tuesday’s lineup and said he will undergo an MRI if the discomfort persists (X-rays came back negative). … Mike Moustakas (hand) remained out of the starting lineup on Tuesday. … Kyle Crick needed surgery on his right index finger and is done for the season after a clubhouse fight with teammate Felipe Vazquez on Monday (both players were fined). … Alex Verdugo (oblique, back) reportedly “isn’t progressing” and will be shut down “for at least a few more days."  … Craig Kimbrel (elbow) is not expected to be activated when first eligible on Thursday. 

Matt Stroup

Matt Stroup covers basketball, football and sometimes baseball for NBC Sports Edge — and has covered eight Olympics as a TV writer for NBC. An avid fantasy player and rabid Atlanta sports fan since the 1990s, he would golf, bowl and play pickup basketball 365 days a year if it was acceptable. You can follow him on Twitter @MattStroup