Jordan Zimmermann takes first step on long road back from Tommy John surgery

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Pitching for the first time since Tommy John surgery about 11 months ago, Jordan Zimmermann tossed two scoreless innings in a rehab start at Single-A.
His fastball was reportedly clocked in the mid-90s and Zimmermann was very pleased with the outing:

It feels great. I mean, I’ve been waiting for 10 months now. No pain, felt strong. Everything went well. There’s a process for everything. You’ve got to start in the minors and get your innings and get your work in and get back to where I was when I first got called up.

Zimmermann has the odd distinction of being both the Nationals’ other Zimmerman(n) and the Nationals’ other young ace, but he showed a ton of upside before the injury and could be the team’s long-term No. 2 starter behind Stephen Strasburg.
A second-round pick in 2007, he breezed through the minors with a 15-5 record and 2.78 ERA before posting a 92/29 K/BB ratio in 91.1 innings spread over 16 starts as a 23-year-old rookie. He can’t compete with Strasburg in terms of superstar potential, but Zimmermann ranked among Baseball America‘s top 50 prospects before the surgery and would be the prized young pitcher in an awful lot of organizations.
He’s ahead of the usual post-Tommy John surgery timetable, so hopefully the 24-year-old right-hander can avoid a setback and return to Washington at some point in the second half.

Brewers claim Stephen Vogt off waivers from the Athletics

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ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reported on Sunday that the Brewers claimed catcher Stephen Vogt off waivers from the Athletics. Vogt was designated for assignment by the Athletics on Thursday.

Vogt, 32, was an All-Star in each of the last two seasons, but struggled this year. He hit .217/.287/.357 with four home runs and 20 RBI in 174 plate appearances.

With the Brewers, Vogt will likely split time behind the plate with Manny Pina. Meanwhlie, the Athletics’ catching situation will be handled by Josh Phegley and Bruce Maxwell.

Dallas Keuchel is unlikely to return before the All-Star break

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Astros’ left-hander Dallas Keuchel might not return to the rotation before the All-Star break, Houston manager A.J. Hinch told reporters prior to Sunday’s game. The club placed their star southpaw on the 10-day disabled list on June 8, retroactive to June 5, after a nerve issue was revealed in his neck.

Keuchel has taken a conservative approach to his recovery over the last several weeks, and while he appears to have made some progress, still has yet to throw off the mound. The injury interrupted the start of an outstanding run with the Astros, during which the 29-year-old lefty furnished a 9-0 record with a 1.67 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 through his first 75 2/3 innings of 2017.

According to Hinch, it’s certainly possible that Keuchel could return to the team sometime within the next two weeks, but it’s clear that the team would prefer to play it extra safe with their ace. Even assuming that he feels ready to reclaim his spot on the Astros’ pitching staff, he still needs to complete a few key activities before competing in another game — like throwing off a mound, for example. In the meantime, Lance McCullers Jr. will continue to head Houston’s rotation as they try to build on their 12.5-game lead in the AL West.

 

Hinch’s full comments are below: