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Al Melchior chat transcript (3/12)

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Player News
Masahiro Tanaka set for live BP Saturday
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(11:12 am ET) Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka will take another step forward this weekend, as he is set to face hitters in a live batting practice session Saturday, manager Joe Girardi announced.

Tanaka, who is working his way back from a partially torn UCL, will face hitters for the first time since suffering the injury. He has been working in bullpen sessions in recent weeks as part of his rehab, and the next step will likely be determined after he gets through Saturday's session.

Tanaka has been out since early July due to the injury, but remains hopeful he will be able to return to action this season.  


Carlos Beltran sidelined again Thursday
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(10:52 am ET) Yankees outfielder Carlos Beltran is out of the lineup for the second day in a row Thursday against the Astros, as he continues to deal with an elbow injury.

Beltran was examined Wednesday, but the results of that are not yet known. He had a cortison injection in the elbow, his third of the season, and manager Joe Girardi told reporters Thursday he expects to know if Beltran will be available moving forward by Saturday. 

The elbow began bothering him again in recent days, possibly as a result of his return to the outfield last week. He has just one hit in his last 28 at-bats.  


Following bullpen struggles, Chase Whitley sent down
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(10:47 am ET) The Yankees optioned pitcher Chase Whitley to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Thursday, to clear a roster spot for a callup.

Whitley has spent the last month pitching out of the Yankees bullpen, but has struggled in that role. He has allowed 10 runs over his last 7 1/3 innings, raising his season ERA to 5.43 overall.  


Zelous Wheeler gets the call from Triple-A
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(10:43 am ET) Yankees infielder Zelous Wheeler was recalled from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Thursday, the team announced.

Wheeler was sent down in early August to make room for the team's trade deadline acquisitions. He hit .267/.267/.467 in 30 at-bats with the Yankees earlier in the season. 


Manager encouraged by Bryce Harper's approach
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(10:37 am ET) Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper put together a three-hit game Wednesday against the Diamondbacks, his second since returning from the disabled list, the Washington Post reports.

Harper sparked the team's game-winning rally in the ninth inning with his third single of the game, and manager Matt Williams said how he got the hit was the most encouraging part of the performance.

"He hit the ball back through the middle [Wednesday], which is really important for him," Williams said.

Harper has struggled to find his power swing this season thanks to a thumb injury, but he is hitting .282 with a .375 on-base percentage since the All-Star break. Impressed by his approach Wednesday, Williams believes the power will follow.

"But if he stays through the middle like that, he's going to get a lot of hits, and I feel if he trusts himself to do that, the home runs will come," Williams said. "They will come. They'll come on hanging breaking balls and change-ups up in the zone, if he can stay middle of the diamond. And he's working hard on that. So I'm proud of his approach."


DL stint not ruled out for Joaquin Benoit
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(10:07 am ET) As of Thursday, Padres closer Joaquin Benoit has not appeared in a game in over a week, due to a shoulder issue, and MLB.com reports he might not be close to returning.

The Padres have apparently not yet ruled out a DL trip for Benoit to allow his shoulder to heal, though it is also not yet clear what the specific issue is at this point. A decision is expected to be made in the next few days, with Kevin Quackenbush expected to continue filling in as closer while Benoit is sidelined.


Ryan Hanigan set to start rehab Friday
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(9:59 am ET) Rays catcher Ryan Hanigan should begin his rehab assignment at Class A Charlotte Friday, the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Hanigan, who is working his way back from an oblique injury, is likely to need 25-30 at-bats at Charlotte before the team considers bringing him back from the DL. He is tentatively scheduled to return around the start of September. Hanigan has been out since early July due to this injury, and has already suffered one setback while on assignment. 


Steve Pearce swats 13th home run Wednesday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:36 am ET) Orioles first baseman Steve Pearce went 1 for 4 with a solo home run in his team's 4-3 win over the White Sox Wednesday.

Pearce has started to heat back up over the last four games, going 7 for 18 with four doubles and two home runs. He hadn't managed a multi-hit performance since July 19 before his current stretch. Pearce owns a .289/.353/.520 line with 13 home runs and 34 RBI in 256 at-bats.


Kevin Quackenbush earns first save Wednesday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:30 am ET) Padres pitcher Kevin Quackenbush picked up his first career save Wednesday, giving up a hit but pitching a scoreless ninth inning in his team's 4-1 win over the Dodgers.

Regular closer Joaquin Benoit is dealing with a shoulder issue, opening the door for Quackenbush to enter the game in a save opportunity. He owns a 2.29 ERA, 0.97 WHIP and 37:13 K:BB ratio in 39 1/3 innings.


Eric Stults tosses five one-run innings vs. Dodgers
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:26 am ET) Padres pitcher Eric Stults earned a win Wednesday, allowing just one earned run on four hits and one walk in five innings while striking out five in his team's 4-1 victory over the Dodgers.

Stults (6-13) moved to 3-0 over his last four starts, and he's only allowed four earned runs in 24 2/3 innings during that stretch. Wednesday's sole run came on a third-inning sacrifice fly, and the San Diego starter also managed to deliver his own RBI single in the second inning. Stults owns a 4.53 ERA and 86:34 K:BB ratio in 135 innings. He's scheduled to face the Brewers Monday.


 
 
 
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