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May 23, 2013

Transaction Analysis

Wolf on the Noggin

by R.J. Anderson

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IN THIS ISSUE

American League
National League

DETROIT TIGERS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Recalled RHP Luke Putkonen from Triple-A Toledo. [5/21]

Optioned RHP Evan Reed to Triple-A Toledo. [5/20]

Putkonen returns now, rather than a few days ago, because of the mandatory 10-day stay in the minors that accompanies any demotion. He's a 6-foot-6 right-hander who throws from a three-quarters arm slot. His fastball, which sits in the 93-95 range, is heavy and he loves mixing and matching the heat with a high-70s curveball. Formerly a non-prospect starter, Putkonen's stock is up following a move to the bullpen. If his command sharpens he could find himself working in the late innings.

MINNESOTA TWINS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Placed 3B-R Trevor Plouffe on the 15-day disabled list. [5/22]

Transferred OF-R Darin Mastroianni to the 60-day disabled list. [5/22]

Purchased the contract of UTL-R Chris Colabello from Triple-A Rochester. [5/22]

Here's a nice story of perseverance. Colabello, 29, toiled in indy ball for years before latching on last season with the Twins. He went on to star in the World Baseball Classic this spring, and his numbers in Triple-A are hard to ignore. So the Twins are giving Colabello the big-league shot that appeared out of reach two years ago. The odds are still against him—he'll have to hit enough to hang around as a right-handed first baseman slash corner outfielder—but that hasn't stopped him so far.

TEXAS RANGERS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Optioned RHP Cody Burns to Triple-A Round Rock. [5/22]

Purchased the contract of RHP Ross Wolf from Triple-A Round Rock. [5/22]

The Rangers have a rotation full of injured starters thanks to a Nick Tepesch blister. The good news is Tepesch should rejoin the rotation for his next turn. In Tepesch's place the Rangers turned to Wolf. Never heard of him? Neither have most. He's a finesse right-hander who saw time in the majors previously with the Marlins and Athletics. Wolf started his first big-league game on Wednesday afternoon and pitched well considering the circumstances. 

CHICAGO CUBS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Placed RHP Shawn Camp on the 15-day disabled list. [5/22]

Recalled RHP Rafael Dolis from Triple-A Iowa. [5/22]

Claimed RHP Eduardo Sanchez off waivers from the Cardinals; optioned him to Triple-A Iowa. [5/21]

Designated RHP Michael Bowden for assignment. [5/21]

Activated RHP Matt Garza off the 15-day disabled list. [5/21]

Though the world did not require more proof of reliever fickleness, Sanchez is around just in case. As a 22-year-old in 2011 the slight Venezuelan fanned 35 batters in 30 innings. His future appeared to be in closing, or at least in high-leverage situations. But Sanchez's star began its descent halfway up. He missed time later in the season with a shoulder issue, and has not found the strike zone with consistency since. The Cardinals, apparently unimpressed with the present state of Sanchez's stuff, were willing to lose their once closer-of-the-future candidate for the waiver claim sum. That says something, though the Cubs' decision to claim Sanchez is understandable. Whether it proves worthwhile is to be determined.

Garza missed the first month-plus of the season due to a strained lat muscle. He returned for the Cubs on Tuesday night and pitched well, showing his usual velocity and repertoire. The fiery right-hander did not allow a hit until the fifth inning, and in all threw five shutout innings against the Pirates. He even knocked in two runs of his own. Unless the Cubs sign Garza to an extension soon, each time his rotation slot is due up it'll come with the possibility that he won't be around to make the start.

WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Placed RHP Ryan Mattheus on the 15-day disabled list. [5/21]

Optioned OF-R Eury Perez to Triple-A Syracuse. [5/21]

Recalled RHP Yunesky Maya from Triple-A Syracuse. [5/21]

Purchased the contract of LHP Fernando Abad from Triple-A Syracuse. [5/21]

When Ross Detwiler left his most recent start with an oblique strain, the Nationals chose against placing him on the disabled list, instead opting for a wait-and-see approach afforded to them by an offday. On Monday night the Nationals covered for Detwiler's injury by using their two long relievers, Zach Duke and Craig Stammen, as stand-ins. Alas that decision left the Nationals with a shorthanded bullpen, an issue compounded by Mattheus breaking his hand and not alerting the team until the next day. Luckily for Davey Johnson, reinforcements arrived on Tuesday.

Maya is an extra arm through and through. He's around to soak up excess innings. Abad is slightly more interesting. A deceptively short arm action and strike-throwing tendencies make him a possible left-handed specialist. The Nationals currently do not have a southpaw in the bullpen, and would not if Duke continues to fill in for Detwiler. In other words, Abad could be auditioning for a full-time role.

R.J. Anderson is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see R.J.'s other articles. You can contact R.J. by clicking here

Related Content:  Matt Garza,  Ross Wolf,  Eduardo Sanchez

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