Baseball Loses Giant World Series Hero; Can Anybody Find a Healthy Arm? Or Groin?

Dusty Rhodes, a hero for the New York Giants in the 1954 World Series, died of a heart attack today near his home in Henderson, Nevada. Rhodes had three big pinch hits, one which was a game-winning homer, for the Giants during the Series against the Cleveland Indians.  Rhodes was never a regular in his six seasons in New York (and one quick trip to San Francisco in 1959), but he was adept at pulling the ball down the line for home runs at the Polo Grounds, hitting 54 career homers in 1172 at bats.

Earlier this month, the Padres sidelined Jake Peavy with an ankle injury. Today, it’s Chris Young who goes down with shoulder inflammation, which means the Padres will be operating for a couple of weeks without their #1 and #2 starters. Arriving for a start is lefty Wade LeBlanc, a starter selected in the second round of the 2006 draft out of Alabama. LeBlanc has shown good command and decent strikeout numbers, though he gives up a few fly balls that occasionally leave the yard – especially pitching in the Pacific Coast League. In San Diego, that won’t be as much of a problem as it might be in, say, Colorado.

Whatever anxiety Dontrelle Willis must feel for pitching poorly must be coming back in spades… Detroit is sending Willis back to the DL with an anxiety disorder. Willis has 18 walks in his last 11 innings. Coming to the Tigers? Alfredo “The Marriage of…” Figaro. Figaro has pitched well for the Tigers at AA Erie, with 59 Ks and just 17 walks in 68 innings. Figaro is an undrafted pitcher out of the Domincan Republic, and is nearing his 25th birthday.

Philadelphia’s Raul Ibanez, most recently fighting off blogging rumors that his incredibly hot start (at 37) is the kind of late-aged streak attributed to things like PEDs (I don’t buy it, by the way – I think he’s a good hitter in a park that fits him well), is now heading to the DL with a groin strain (hopefully his own). Coming up to take his roster spot is John Mayberry, Jr., who is a slugger but not yet a real hitter like his dad was. Mayberry did homer for the Phillies in his last cup of coffee in May.

Jeremy Accardo returns to the Blue Jays in the wake of Scott Downs heading to the DL. Accardo was the closer for Toronto just two years ago when B.J. Ryan went down with an injury. Accardo has struggled with his performance and a balky elbow since then – and he admitted to being frustrated pitching in AAA and watching other pitchers get shots at the big leagues while he worked his way in Las Vegas.  The Jays can use Accardo and need him to be at his 2007 form.

Other quick hits:

Joel Pineiro’s whole body cramped up in the seventh inning, with his leg twisting during a pitch, forcing him to leave his outing against Detroit.

Brett Gardner crashed into the centerfield wall in the Yankees loss to Washington tonight – he was carted off the field but seemed to be okay.

Brandon Webb’s comeback from elbow soreness hit a snag.  Didn’t he get an “all-clear” trying to prove that he had no problems while negotiating with the Diamondbacks?

John Maine’s rehab was slowed when Maine “felt a pinch” in his shoulder.  He will remain on the DL for a little while longer.

Brad Lidge, however, felt great after a long bullpen session and may pitch as early as Tuesday.

Finally, Scott Kazmir is readying for a return to the majors following a solid rehab outing.  Maybe the Rays can avoid signing Pedro…

(This post was updated with the quick hits a few hours after the original post was made…)

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