NL East Report: Stanton and Freeman Return, Zimmerman Out, Rendon Promoted


Team News and Notes

Atlanta Braves (13-5)

After starting the season 12-1, the Braves have dropped four of their last five games, including three in a row to the Pittsburgh Pirates. On Monday, the Braves joined the Mets as the next team to have their games in Colorado postponed due to snow, and will play a doubleheader on Tuesday. Freddie Freeman returns to the lineup after missing time with an oblique injury. Jason Heyward was hitting just .121 before his appendectomy last night, and B.J. Upton is still batting .167. The pitching staff has three starters with ERA’s of 2.16 or lower starting with Kris Medlen, Paul Maholm at 1.03, and Mike Minor leads the club at 0.95. The Braves lead the majors in home runs with 29, mainly due to their new stud outfielder Justin Upton, who has nine. The Braves also lead the majors with a WHIP of 1.09 and a team ERA of 2.36.

Washington Nationals (10-9)

The Nationals promoted top prospect Anthony Rendon after learning that they would have to place Ryan Zimmerman on the DL. Stephen Strasburg‘s numbers look good, but he has a record of 1-3 to start the season, including being out-dueled by Matt Harvey on Friday night.  Gio Gonzalez has pitched poorly to start the year with a 5.85 ERA, while Ross Detwiler leads the team at 0.90. Bryce Harper continues to lead the charge offensively, leading the team in home runs with seven, and RBI with 14.

Philadelphia Phillies (9-11)

The Phillies continue to struggle as they remain under .500 after 20 games to start the season. Chase Utley is the only player producing right now, and he leads the team with three home runs and 15 RBI. Ryan Howard has struggled, and has just one home run in 18 games, while Michael Young has been a nice addition leading the team with a .333 batting average. On the mound, the Phils called up their fourth overall prospect, RHP Jonathan Pettibone, to replace the injured John Lannan in the rotation. After giving up 13 earned runs in his first two starts on the year, Cole Hamels has allowed just four earned runs over 13 innings in his last two starts. Roy Halladay appears to have gotten back on track, allowing just three earned runs in 17 innings over his last two outings.

Miami Marlins (4-15)

Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton returned to the Marlins lineup last Thursday after missing a week with a shoulder injury. He is just 4-for-18 since returning and remains homerless, but did get his first RBI of the season on Monday. Stanton is batting an unsightly .188/.316/.229 with no home runs, one RBI, two doubles, and has struck out 20 times in 38 at-bats. Jose Fernandez got his first real taste of the majors in his last start, when he lasted just four innings, giving up five runs on six hits, while walking three and striking out four. The Marlins offense continues to sputter, as they have just six home runs and only 41 RBI as a team, which are the lowest totals in the majors. Miami also had their game against the Minnesota Twins postponed Monday, and will play a doubleheader on Tuesday.

Injury Report

Nationals: Ryan Zimmerman was placed on the DL with a strain of his left hamstring. Wilson Ramos, who is also dealing with a strain of his left hamstring, is improving after being placed on the DL on April 14. He is expected to return when he is eligible to come off at the end of the month. Reliever Christian Garcia remains on the DL with partial tear in his forearm.

Braves: Jason Heyward is out indefinitely after having an appendectomy on MondayBrian McCann (offseason shoulder surgery) remains on the DL, and the veteran backstop felt some tenderness in his wrist last week right before he was set to begin a rehab assignment. Jonny Venters (elbow) remains shut down for four weeks as of April 2, and may be out for the first two months. Brandon Beachy (Tommy John surgery) is still recovering and could return by midseason.

Phillies: Delmon Young (ankle) is progressing nicely and may be able to start a rehab stint as early as next week. His May return still remains on target. John Lannan was placed on the DL, could miss 6-8 weeks due to a strained quad.

Marlins:  Adeiny Hechavarria was placed on the DL with a bruised elbow, and should return in two weeks. Casey Kotchman who was placed on the DL, retroactive to April 4, with a strained hamstring is nearing his return. Logan Morrison is currently on the 60-day DL, as he recovers from a torn patella tendon that required surgery last September. Henderson Alvarez is throwing and could return by early May, while Nathan Eovaldi remains out indefinitely, and was transferred to the 60-day DL.

Upcoming Schedules (4/12-4/28) 

Nationals: (STL, 4/22-4/24), (CIN, 4/25-4/28)

Braves: (@COL, 4/22-4/24), (@DET, 4/26-4/28)

Phillies: (PIT, 4/22-4/25), (@NYM, 4/26-4/28)

Marlins: (@MIN, 4/22-4-23) (@CHC, 4/25-4/28)


Carlos Ruiz: The Phillies backstop is due to return from his 25-game amphetamine suspension this coming Sunday.