Manny and Smoltz to go from rehab to pennant races

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Believe it or not, Manny Ramirez is eligible to come back and play for the Dodgers in just over two weeks. As such, L.A. is thinking about sending him to their Class A team in San Berdoo for a rehab assignment.

In other rehab news, John Smoltz pitched his last rehab assignment yesterday.
It wasn’t the best ever — a run on three hits, a walk and a wild
pitch, two strikeouts in four innings — but overall he’s been strong
pitching to kids: 27.1 innings, 18 hits, 21Ks, 4 walks and a 2.63 ERA.
He’s going to face the Nats next week, as the Red Sox adopt a six-man
rotation until they can unload Brad Penny or Dice-K implodes or
something.

The Red Sox are in first place. So are the Dodgers, who actually
have a bigger lead in the NL West today than they did when Ramirez was
suspended. For each of these teams, the return or debut of these guys
is the equivalent of making a trade for an All-Star caliber player at
the deadline, with the added bonus of not having to give anything up
for him.

It almost isn’t fair.

Steve Delabar among three suspended after testing positive

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Three players were suspended on Monday after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs. They are: Indians pitcher Steve Delabar, Mariners pitcher Jonathan Aro, and free agent pitcher Jeffry Hernandez. Aro got a 50-game suspension while the other two were handed 80-game suspensions.

Delabar, 33, hasn’t pitched yet this season after signing a minor league deal with the Indians back in January. He spent last year with the Reds as well as the Hiroshima Carp in the Japan Central League. The right-hander has struggled over the last few seasons.

Aro, 26, also hasn’t appeared yet this season in the minors. He’s worked mostly in relief. The right-hander appeared briefly in the majors with the Mariners last season and logged 10 1/3 innings in the show with the Red Sox in 2015. Aro went to the Mariners along with Wade Miley in the trade that brought the Red Sox Carson Smith and Roenis Elias.

Hernandez, 22, is a free agent and his suspension will be effective if and when he signs with a new team.

Phillies place Aaron Nola on the disabled list

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The Phillies announced on Monday that starter Aaron Nola has been placed on the 10-day disabled list, retroactive to April 21, with a lower back strain.

Nola, 23, compiled a 4.50 ERA with a 15/6 K/BB ratio over his first three starts spanning 16 innings. He felt some back soreness during his last start on Thursday against the Mets, and it lingered when he had a side session on Sunday.

CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury hears that the Phillies are likely to call up Nick Pivetta from Triple-A Lehigh Valley to take Nola’s place in the rotation. Nola was scheduled to start on Wednesday.

Pivetta, 24, was acquired from the Nationals in the Jonathan Papelbon trade in July 2015. At Triple-A so far, Pivetta has given up only two earned runs on 12 hits and two walks with 24 strikeouts in 19 innings.