Ibanez playing through abdominal tear that may require surgery

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Amid speculation that Chase Utley is playing through a foot injury, Lee Jenkins of Sports Illustrated reports that Raul Ibanez may need offseason surgery to repair a small muscle tear near his abdomen.
For the most part Ibanez has followed in Utley’s footsteps by refusing to speak about his health with the media, but Jenkins notes that he initially suffered the injury in June and opted against going under the knife after consulting with a surgeon and a neuromuscular specialist.
Ibanez was having a career-year at the time, hitting .312/.371/.656 with 22 homers and 59 RBIs in 62 games, but following a brief stint on the disabled list he finished the season by hitting just .232/.323/.448 with 12 homers and 34 RBIs in 72 games and has gone just 7-for-31 (.225) with one homer in nine playoff games.
Ibanez has predictably downplayed the injury, but saying stuff like “I’m fine right now” and “we’ll see what happens” can certainly be taken as hints that offseason surgery is on the docket for the 37-year-old and he’s still owed $11.5 million in each of the next two seasons.

Dallas Keuchel to return to Astros’ rotation on Friday

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Astros manager A.J. Hinch told the media, including MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart, that starter Dallas Keuchel will come off of the disabled list and rejoin the rotation on Friday against the Tigers. Keuchel has missed nearly two months with a neck injury.

Prior to landing on the DL, Keuchel was 9-0 with a 1.67 ERA and a 69/18 K/BB ratio over 75 2/3 innings. He seemed to be on his way to potentially win another Cy Young Award.

Hinch also noted that Collin McHugh will start on Saturday and Lance McCullers will start on Sunday.

Video: Ketel Marte hits an inside-the-park home run

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Braves starter Aaron Blair had a nightmarish bottom of the third inning on Wednesday afternoon against the Diamondbacks. He had just given up a run on a Daniel Descalso triple hit to center field that center fielder Ender Inciarte read poorly. In the following at-bat, Ketel Marte laced a curve ball to right field. Sean Rodriguez wasn’t able to get to it in time, so the ball bounced off the fence and caromed back towards the stands along the right field line. By the time Rodriguez was able to retrieve the ball, Marte was already on his way home and scored standing up.

The inside-the-park homer will certainly provide a boost to Marte’s stats. He entered Wednesday’s action batting .196/.255/.370 in 51 plate appearances.