Jay Bruce rejoined the Reds' lineup Saturday following a brief benching that was meant to, as manager Dusty Baker put it, "clear his head." Instead he struck out in the top of the first inning and then fractured his wrist while attempting to make a diving catch in the bottom of the frame. The good news is that the injury was to his right wrist and Bruce is a left-handed batter and thrower.
The bad news is that he was put on the disabled list Sunday while the Reds wait for the results of an MRI exam to determine exactly how long he'll be sidelined. If the MRI results agree with the initial X-rays Bruce should be able to avoid going under the knife, but season-ending surgery is possible. For now Chris Dickerson and Jonny Gomes will fill in, but the Reds may be in the market for an outfielder.
While the Reds hope that Bruce's sophomore season doesn't end with a measly .727 OPS, here are some other notes from around baseball …
* John Bowker went hitless through his first two starts since being called up from Triple-A last week, but was 2-for-4 with a homer Sunday. Bowker has often been overlooked by the Giants and will likely need to have immediate success to keep getting starts once the second half is underway, but he's clearly capable of being an asset in NL-only leagues and could even emerge with mixed-league value.
Bower has posted a modest .700 OPS through 362 plate appearances in the big leagues, but batted .322/.416/.550 at Triple-A and .307/.363/.523 at Double-A to show that he'll likely produce if given the chance. He's already 26 years old, so stardom isn't in Bowker's future, but he has 20-homer power with solid on-base skills and should hit around .270 with a handful of steals.
* Matt Cain left Saturday's game in the second inning after being hit on the elbow by a line drive and has been replaced by Zach Duke for the All-Star game, but is expected to make his next scheduled start Sunday. Cain described his elbow as "just sore" and said that "it feels better than we really thought it would." He ends the first half at 10-2 with a 2.38 ERA and 95/46 K/BB ratio in 117 innings.
* With both Josh Beckett and Tim Wakefield picked for the All-Star team the Red Sox have decided to go with six starters to begin the second half. Clay Buchholz will get the nod Friday against the Blue Jays, but he'll almost surely go right back to Triple-A regardless of how well he pitches. However, he's 7-1 with a 2.99 ERA and 86/29 K/BB ratio in 93.2 innings there and may still be a second-half factor.
AL Quick Hits: Josh Beckett picked up his 100th career victory Sunday with his fourth career complete-game shutout … Justin Verlander shut out the Indians for seven innings Sunday and is tied with Tim Lincecum for the MLB lead with 149 strikeouts … Carlos Gomez went 3-for-5 with a homer Sunday, knocking in five runs … John Lackey tossed seven innings of two-run ball Sunday to out-duel CC Sabathia and complete a three-game sweep of the Yankees … Jason Bay didn't have an official at-bat despite reaching base five times Sunday, drawing three walks and being hit by two pitches … Kevin Slowey (wrist) was unable to throw a bullpen session Sunday, so he'll miss at least one more rotation turn … Brandon Inge went deep twice Sunday after being picked to the Home Run Derby … Mark Buehrle failed to pitch at least five innings Sunday for the first time, coughing up eight runs while recording 10 outs … Mike Lowell (wrist) is expected to come off the disabled list Friday.
NL Quick Hits: Barry Zito was rocked for nine runs Sunday, finishing the first half with a 5.01 ERA … Carlos Zambrano turned in a Quality Start and smacked his third homer of the season Sunday … Carlos Delgado (hip) hit in a cage Sunday, but remains 3-4 weeks from potentially returning … Kyle Lohse allowed four runs over five innings in his return from the disabled list Sunday … Will Venable went 4-for-5 with four runs and his first homer Sunday … J.A. Happ improved to 6-0 by allowing one run over seven innings Sunday … Clayton Kershaw got the best of Yovani Gallardo with six innings of one-run ball Sunday … Brian Moehler had six shutout innings Sunday, slicing his ERA to 5.08 … Florida sent Sean West to the minors Sunday despite posting a 4.91 ERA through his first 10 starts … Brad Hawpe homered and delivered a walk-off double Sunday, heading into the break with a .320 batting average.