Stephen Strasburg needs a challenge

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Strasburg Harrisburg.jpgBecause he’s certainly not getting one down at AA.  Today:
one hit in five shutout innings
against the Reading Phillies.*  He
struck out six and walked one, lowering his ERA to 0.73.  First pitch
was 98 m.p.h., but then he settled into a 95ish groove, breaking off 78
m.p.h. curveballs and 88 m.p.h. changeups.

In other news, the Nationals’ financial obligation to Strasburg is $15.1
million. Their obligation to Jason Marquis is $15 million.  Since it’s
all equal and everything, hows about they trade places?

*BTW, if you’re in Reading on Friday, I suggest you stop by and
meet Jerry “The King” Lawler.
You can also pick up a Lawler
commemorative cup. In other news, the minor leagues rock.

Dodgers activate Adrian Gonzalez

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The Dodgers have reinstated first baseman Adrian Gonzalez from the 60-day disabled list after his recovery from a herniated disc. To make room for him they have optioned Rob Segedin to Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Gonzalez last played on June 11. Since then the Dodgers have gone an astounding 46-9, with shoe-in rookie of the year candidate Cody Bellinger handling first base duties and posting a .978 OPS. When Gonzalez went down he was hitting .255/.304/.339 and only one homer in 49 games.

It’ll be interesting to see what kind of playing time he gets going forward. The Dodgers, of course, have a comfortable lead in the NL West, so they could afford to allow Gonzalez to play a good bit to see if his bat sharpens up while simultaneously giving Bellinger, who has never played more than 137 games in a season, a bit of a breather. Beyond that, though, the Dodgers ain’t broke, so it’s hard to see why anyone would want to tinker with things.

Rays activate Kevin Kiermaier

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The Tampa Bay Rays have activated outfielder Kevin Kiermaier from the 60-day disabled list.

Kiermaier, who fractured his hip in early June, is batting leadoff and playing center field in tonight’s game against the Mariners. He was just 3-for-24 on his rehab assignment, but those aren’t usually predictive of anything. He was hitting .258/.329/.408 when he went down. Getting his bat — and, more importantly, his glove — back in the lineup will boost the struggling Rays in their quest for a playoff spot.