Jake Fox, who hit 10 home runs this spring in Grapefruit League games, was designated for assignment by the Orioles.
Why spring training stats should be taken with a grain of salt, part 2,832:
You might remember that Baltimore’s Jake Fox was the sensation of the Grapefruit League in March, belting 10 home runs.
However, when the Orioles needed to clear a roster spot for Brian Matusz to come off the disabled list Wednesday to face the Mariners, Fox was the odd man out. He was designated for assignment.
Despite his hot spring, Fox played sparingly, and struggled when he did get in the lineup. In 19 games (12 starts), he hit .188 (9 for 48) with two homers and four runs batted in.
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“You see it coming. This isn’t the first time I’ve been through it. I went through it last year,” Fox told The Baltimore Sun. “(Manager Buck Showalter) … didn’t feel like I was a good fit here, and it’s disappointing because I felt like I was a good fit here.”
Fox, 28, previously had stints with the Cubs and A’s. In seven minor-league seasons, he has hit 122 homers, including 31 in 2008.
“Everybody thinks I’m good enough to play for somebody else, just not for them,” Fox said.
Webb comeback halted
The comeback efforts of 2006 National League Cy Young winner Brandon Webb, now in the Rangers organization, have hit another roadblock.
On Monday, Webb was the starting pitcher with Class AA Frisco in a rehabilitation assignment — his first game action since April 6, 2009. Webb underwent major shoulder surgery in August 2009.
The outing against Tulsa, Colorado’s Class AA affiliate, didn’t go well. Webb allowed five runs and 11 base runners in 3-1/3 innings. His fastball was in the 84-mph range, and afterward Webb complained of shoulder soreness. He was given an anti-inflammatory injection and the rehab assignment was halted.
Webb probably won’t try to pitch again until after the All-Star break.
Notes and quotes
• The Red Sox are a cautionary tale on the dangers of long-term pitching deals. Daisuke Matsuzaka, in whom the Red Sox invested $103 million (a $51 million posting fee and a six-year, $52-million contract) is facing Tommy John surgery.
After going 33-13 with a 3.72 earned-run average his first two years, he is 16-15, 5.03 since, and has been on the disabled list six times since 2008.
Meanwhile, John Lackey is returning to the Boston rotation this weekend after missing time with an elbow strain. Lackey is 16-16 with a 4.95 ERA since signing his five-year, $82.5-million contract. He’s making $15.25 million this year, and in each of the following three years.
• Carlos Santana was back hitting cleanup for the Indians on Thursday despite a batting average of .234. Manager Manny Acta‘s explanation:
“Because he leads our team in on-base percentage. That means he makes the least amount of outs on our team. I’m not a big stat guy, but outs are the most important thing in the game, and he makes the least number of outs on our team.”
• The White Sox are 9-6 with a 3.73 ERA in 20 games since Jake Peavy returned and the Sox began to go with a six-man starting rotation. Manager Ozzie Guillen plans to keep using it through the All-Star break.
“If something goes wrong, then we’ll change it,” he told The Chicago Tribune. “But for right now, it’s working pretty well.”
• One big reason for Hanley Ramirez‘s struggles this year is ongoing back problems. He had to leave Sunday’s game with the Dodgers in the second inning and missed the entire Diamondbacks series. Ramirez told reporters he’s experiencing “worse pain than I’ve ever had in my life, in my career.”
• If the Angels seem to be acting like a .500 team this year, it’s not a mirage. Over the past two weeks, they have been 22-22, 23-23, 24-24, 25-25, 26-26, 27-27 and 29-29.
• Brad Lidge started the year as the Phillies closer, but when he went on the disabled list with shoulder problems, Jose Contreras took over.
Contreras was 5-for-5 in save opportunities before he, too, went on the DL because of elbow issues.
Ryan Madson inherited the closing job, and it doesn’t look like he’s going to give it up. Entering the weekend, Madson was 12-for-12 in converting saves. When Contreras came off the DL, he moved into a setup role, and the expectation is that Lidge, who’s on track to return around the All-Star break, isn’t likely to be handed his job back.