Freddy Sanchez finally nearing return, but Mark DeRosa may be DL bound

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Freddy Sanchez finally looks close to rejoining the Giants following knee and shoulder surgeries, going 3-for-5 with three doubles in the first two games of his rehab assignment at Single-A.
Bruce Bochy said Sanchez could be cleared to come off the disabled list as soon as next Wednesday if he avoids a setback while moving his rehab stint to Triple-A over the weekend. “Freddy feels like he’s turned a corner,” Bochy said. “We’re not bringing him up to play a day and rest a day. We want to see him with no restrictions.”
On the other hand, it’s sounding more and more like Mark DeRosa may simply take Sanchez’s spot on the DL after saying earlier this week that his offseason wrist surgery was “a total failure.” DeRosa has hit just .224 with a .667 OPS in 83 games since injuring his wrist in the middle of last season, including .194 this year while struggling through numbness in his hand.
After seeing a specialist this week DeRosa told Bochy he was available to pinch-hit, but the manager is choosing to rest him instead and the Giants may opt to put him on the DL if things haven’t improved by tomorrow. In fact, Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News reports that “DeRosa and the Giants must decide if he will have surgery to fix his ruptured nerve sheath now or wait until the offseason.”
When a 35-year-old is contemplating a follow-up surgery to fix a surgery that was “a total failure” just months ago … well, it’s obviously not a good situation. DeRosa and Sanchez are both in the first season of two-year, $12 million contracts.

Max Scherzer still can’t throw fastballs

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 13: Max Scherzer #31 of the Washington Nationals works against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the fifth inning during game five of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park on October 13, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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The Nationals will be many people’s favorites in the NL East this season. Not everything is looking great, however. For example, their ace — defending NL Cy Young winner Max Scherzer — can’t even throw fastballs right now.

The reason: the stress fracture he suffered last August is still causing him problems and Scherzer is unable to use his fastball grip without feeling pain in his right ring finger. He will throw a bullpen session tomorrow, but will only use his secondary stuff.

Scherzer has not been ruled out for Opening Day — the fact that he is throwing some means that his timetable isn’t totally on hold — but you have to figure, at some point, not being able to air things out and use his heater will lead to some problems in his spring training routine.

The Dodgers asked the Tigers about Justin Verlander this offseason

DETROIT, MI - MAY 18: Justin Verlander #35 of the Detroit Tigers pitches during the first inning of the game against the Minnesota Twins on May 18, 2016 at Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
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File this under “man, that would’ve been cool.” Or, if you’re a Tigers fan, file it under “man, that would’ve signaled several years of misery.” However you fall on the matter, however, know that, according to Jon Heyman, the Dodgers inquired about trading for Justin Verlander over the winter.

It never went anywhere, but it’s not like it was silliness for the Dodgers to ask. As you may recall, the Tigers were reported to be willing to listen to offers on any and all players back in November, as GM Al Avila contemplated a tear-down. That never came to pass — the Tigers had a quiet offseason and are keeping the team together to make another run at the playoffs with the Verlander/Miguel Cabrera core — but it couldn’t hurt to ask.

Verlander, who is coming off a resurgent season which saw him return to form as one of baseball’s best pitchers, has 10-5 rights, allowing him to veto any trade. He’s married to an actress/model, however, owns a home in L.A., and the Dodgers are a clear contender, so there’s a good chance he would’ve allowed such a trade to happen. Heck, dude even loves pitchers batting, so a chance to do it all the time would be right up his alley.

The bigger issue likely would’ve been Verlander’s $28 million salary. The Dodgers already pay the luxury tax so taking on that commitment would cost them more than the sticker price. And, of course, if the Tigers are going to ever give up one of the best players in franchise history, it would take the motherlode of prospects to do it.

So, no, a Verlander-to-L.A. trade wasn’t ever a strong possibility. But even the slight possibility seems exciting in hindsight. It was a boring as hell offseason.