As expected, Edinson Volquez underwent season-ending Tommy John surgery Monday as doctors discovered that the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow was almost completely torn. Typical recovery from Tommy John surgery involves about 12 months on the sidelines, so even if everything goes smoothly Volquez could end up missing all of next season.
Since coming to Cincinnati in the December of 2007 swap for Josh Hamilton he's gone 21-8 with a 3.44 ERA and 253 strikeouts in 245.2 innings to emerge as one of baseball's most promising young starters. Even missing all of 2010 would give Volquez time to make a full return at age 27 and because a great changeup has led to so much of his success losing a couple miles per hour may not ruin him.
While the Reds lose Volquez and fall to 6-22 since moving a game above .500 at 39-38 on July 2, here are some other notes from around baseball …
* Chris Tillman allowed five runs Monday for a 6.75 ERA through two starts, but the 21-year-old's initial struggles aren't stopping Baltimore from giving fellow top prospect Brian Matusz his first start Tuesday against the Tigers. Matusz was the fourth overall pick in the 2007 draft and blitzed through the minors by going 11-2 with a 1.91 ERA and 121/32 K/BB ratio in 113 innings.
Debuting as a 22-year-old with only eight starts above Single-A makes him likely to struggle in the short term, but Matusz has No. 1 starter potential long term and features some of the best raw stuff of any left-hander in baseball. His fastball sits in the low-90s, but most people consider Matusz's changeup or curveball his top pitch. AL-only leaguers should take a chance and keeper leaguers should drool.
* Not only was Bill Hall recalled from Triple-A to take Corey Hart's roster spot, he started in Hart's place Monday, manning right field for the first time in 827 games as a major leaguer. With his pathetic .217/.283/.376 line dating back to the start of last year Hall is hardly anyone's idea of a competent corner outfielder, but the Brewers are left shorthanded following Hart's emergency appendectomy Sunday.
Hart is expected to miss 2-4 weeks and Jody Gerut or Frank Catalanotto are the obvious fill-ins, but because they're both left-handed Hall should see some starts versus southpaws. Their batting is similar and Gerut is a far better defender, but because he's 7-for-48 (.146) since joining the Brewers it wouldn't be surprising to see manager Ken Macha give Catalanotto the lion's share of the playing time.
* Zack Greinke allowed six runs in five frames Monday, falling to 0-4 over his last six starts after going 10-3 with a 1.95 ERA through the end of June. While those numbers suggest a slump and Greinke certainly hasn't been untouchable like he was early on, Monday's outing was the first time all year that he's given up more than five earned runs. He has a 3.64 ERA and 48/13 K/BB ratio while going 0-4.
* If you're into Twitter, check me out at @aarongleeman and also check Matthew Pouliot out @matthewpouliot. What we lack in unoriginal account names we'll try to make up for in Tweet frequency and good looks.
AL Quick Hits: Out since June 28 following shoulder surgery, Adrian Beltre is set to rejoin the lineup Tuesday and will push Jack Hannahan to the bench … Melvin Mora and Dave Trembley had a closed-door meeting Monday to discuss playing time, after which he sat for the fourth time in five games … Justin Verlander coughed up five first-inning runs Monday, but recovered to throw seven shutout frames … For now at least Kevin Millwood (gluteus) is due to rejoin the rotation Saturday … Making his first start in nine days, Willy Aybar homered from both sides of the plate Monday … Erik Bedard (shoulder) played catch Sunday and reported no problems … Jarrod Washburn will make his Tigers debut Tuesday against Matusz and the Orioles … Tampa Bay released former first-round pick Wade Townsend after four years of arm injuries ruined his career … Neftali Feliz hit triple digits often while striking out four in his two-inning debut Monday.
NL Quick Hits: Kevin Gregg blew back-to-back saves over the weekend and was unavailable Monday after complaining of a tired arm … Roy Oswalt (back) has been scratched from Tuesday's start and may miss Saturday's outing … Brandon Webb underwent season-ending shoulder surgery Monday and won't throw again for 3-4 months … Carlos Beltran reported some knee pain after shagging 30-35 fly balls Monday … Pedro Martinez will make his next rehab start Wednesday at Double-A … Geovany Soto (oblique) could come off the disabled list as soon as Wednesday … Carlos Delgado took outdoor batting practice Monday for the first time since injuring his hip … B.J. Ryan has three straight scoreless appearances at Triple-A since signing with Chicago, but can opt out of his deal if not called up by next week … Mark Prior (shoulder) hasn't pitched in the majors since 2006, hasn't picked up a ball since April, and was released Monday by the Padres.