Given all the time he’s missed, the likelihood that Ryan Zimmerman could come back from his Grade 3 hamstring strain in time to help out the Nationals as they try to secure home-field advantage in the postseason seemed pretty dim. But in a flurry of rehab activity over the last week, Zimmerman made a convincing case for Washington to activate him from the disabled list in time for Saturday’s game at Marlins Park.
With six pitches, Francisco Rodriguez pitched a perfect ninth inning to finish a 1-0 Brewers win over the Pirates at PNC Park on Saturday night. It was the 43rd save of his resurgent season and No. 347 of his career, tying journeyman left-hander Randy Myers for 10th on the all-time list.
After further review, a Tigers middle-infield calamity became a game-changing escape. However, it wasn’t replay, but an umpires’ conference, that ruled Salvador Perez never tagged up for the Royals’ would-be go-ahead run in the sixth inning of their AL Central showdown on Saturday at Kauffman Stadium.
It’s an exceptionally quiet night on the transaction front, so let’s turn our attention to a poll. Tomorrow is Yasmani Tomas day with the Cuban slugger scheduled to workout at the Giants Dominican complex in front of about two dozen clubs. Even though tomorrow is a landmark date in Tomas’ move toward the majors, it is really just the beginning of the process. Like with fellow countryman Rusney Castillo, I assume Tomas will conduct private workouts with the most interested teams in the next few weeks. It’s also worth noting that Tomas has not yet been declared a free agent by major league baseball. We heard last Sunday that Tomas could command as much as $100MM in a bidding war.
The Royals’ lopsided 10-1 loss to the Tigers in Friday night’s series opener allowed for a few young players to achieve career firsts. Terrance Gore, called up primarily for his baserunning skills, logged his first Major League at-bat, as did outfielder Lane Adams.
After beating out an errant throw from Jose Reyes with the bases loaded in the fourth inning of the Yankees’ 5-3 victory over the Blue Jays on Friday, Jacoby Ellsbury returned to the bag in some pain. He remained in to run the bases, but manager Joe Girardi pulled Ellsbury before the fifth inning. An MRI exam shortly afterward revealed a mild right hamstring strain, but the center fielder is hopeful he can return before the end of this homestand, if not the season.
Ryan Zimmerman, who spent nearly two months on the disabled list with a hamstring strain, was back in the Nats’ lineup on Saturday, batting sixth and playing left field against the Marlins.
The Athletics recently changed Triple-A affiliations from nearby Sacramento to far-away Nashville, but there are benefits to the move despite the distance, Eno Sarris of Fangraphs writes. Sacramento is certainly more convenient to the Athletics for travel purposes, but the A’s lately haven’t promoted more players from Triple-A than other teams, and Nashville has a new ballpark opening next season. In the last decade, big-league teams have frequently picked minor-league affiliates that are relatively close by, but judging from this year’s affiliate changes so far, perhaps that’s changing. Here are more notes from the West divisions. Rockies hurler Juan Nicasio will likely be a reliever next season, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post writes. Nicasio has struggled as a starter this season, posting a 5.92 ERA with peripherals to match, but he’s had much more success out of the bullpen, with a significantly higher strikeout rate and many fewer walks. The righty has mostly been a starter in his big-league career, but he’s at little success while trying to survive at Coors Field, posting a 5.06 ERA with 7.0 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9 in parts of four seasons. The Rangers have won seven straight games, which is great for them, except that they’re doing all that winning with 12 players on the 60-day DL, the Dallas News’ Evan Grant writes. That means they’re winning thanks to contributions from less established players like Jake Smolinski, Adam Rosales and Phil Klein
Phil Hughes of the Twins has capped off one of the game’s best turnarounds by topping 200 innings on the year after today’s outing. As Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press notes on Twitter, Hughes picked up a $250K bonus after passing the 195 IP threshold. Needless to say, Minnesota is thrilled that it not only landed Hughes, who just turned 28, but that it did so on a three-year deal that promises him just $24MM in total. As Pedro Moura of the Orange County Register observes (Twitter link), Hughes has struck out 181 batters while issuing a mere 16 walks this year, meaning that he owns an absurd 11.3 K/BB ratio. That is a historically significant mark, and one that would surely have made the righty one of the offseason’s most interesting free agents had he elected to take a one-year pillow contract last year. You can count the Yankees among the teams taking a hard look at Yasmani Tomas, reports George A. King III of the New York Post. Of course, they will be far from the only team doing so. MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez provides an interesting look at the much-hyped young slugger, who is preparing for an important showcase on Sunday.
A lackluster A’s lineup, in need of a spark to combat this woeful stretch, could perhaps get just that from Stephen Vogt, who made his return to the field Friday for the opener of a three-game set with the visiting Phillies.