By Scott Barancik/Jewish Baseball News

Is it Monday already? Then sprinkle these tidbits in your morning coffee:

  • Michael Schwimer is back with Philadelphia Phillies after a four-week stint in AAA, and yesterday (6/3/2012) the move paid off. In his second relief stint since returning to the bigs, the gentle giant from Fairfax, Va. (6’8″, 240 lbs.) pitched a perfect 8th inning in a 5-1 loss to the Miami Marlins. Schwimer fills a void left by reliever Jose Contreras, who suffered a season-ending injury Friday (6/1/2012).
  • Kevin Youkilis continued to show progress since returning from the disabled list. In 11 games, the venerable third baseman is hitting .289 with 2 HRs, 3 RBIs, and a .372 on-base percentage. Meanwhile, trade rumors persist.
  • Speaking of Beantown, catching prospect Ryan Lavarnway is showing renewed vigor at the plate while he bides his time with the Pawtucket Red Sox (AAA). In his last 10 games, the Yale alum is hitting .415 with 1 HR, 6 RBIs and an on-base percentage of .528.
  • Ryan Braun may never quash rumors that he took performance-enhancing drugs last season, but the 2011 N.L. MVP is letting his bat doing the talking. With one-third of the 2012 season complete, the 6th-year player is among N.L. leaders in multiple categories, despite some nagging injuries. Braun ranks 1st in range factor among left fielders, 1st in power-speed factor, 2nd in HRs (14), 3rd in total bases (36), 5th in slugging percentage (.600) and on-base percentage plus slugging (.993), 6th in wins above replacement (2.5), and 7th in RBIs (36). The only areas where the 28-year-old has seen some slippage are doubles (8) and batting average (.308).
  • Jason Marquis has a new home with the San Diego Padres. Recently released by the Minnesota Twins, the 33-year-old pitcher signed a minor-league contract with the Padres last week and promptly won his first start with the San Antonio Missions (AA), giving up 5 hits and 2 walks over 7 innings while striking out 5. The Padres are Marquis’ 8th franchise in 13 years.
  • Washington Nationals prospect Cameron Selik, a 22nd-round pick in the 2010 draft, is making the Potomac Nationals (High-A) look like geniuses for switching him to the bullpen. In 18 appearances this season, the San Diego native is 2-1 with 8 saves and a 3.68 ERA. Even more impressive are his strikeouts: he is averaging 1.5 per innings, and his strikeout-to-walk ratio is a phenomenal 34/3. As a starter for Potomac last season, Selik was 4-9 with a 4.52 ERA.
  • Cross your fingers for New York Yankees prospect Jeremy Bleich, who hasn’t pitched since a shoulder injury sidelined him during the 2010 season. A 1st-round draft pick in 2008, Bleich is pitching in extended spring training and expected to return as a reliever.

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