Nationals phenom Stephen Strasburg was placed on the disabled list last week after inflammation was found in his throwing shoulder. The move was mostly precautionary and his goal is to return on the first day that he is eligible, or at least right around that day.
That goal got a little more realistic on Sunday when Strasburg played catch for the first time since his shoulder issue sprang up. He made sets of 25 throws from a distance of 60 feet and reported feeling great after the workout.
The next step is a bullpen session, which should happen Tuesday. Then he will throw a simulated game, probably on Thursday. If all goes well, he could be back with the Nationals for their mid-week series against the Marlins that begins on August 10.
Strasburg, who turned 22 on July 20, has collected five wins in nine starts this season for a bad Nationals team. He’s posted a 2.32 ERA, a 1.07 WHIP and 75 strikeouts in 54.1 innings. Opposing hitters have averaged a .216/.270/.291 batting line against him.
Confirming a report from Tuesday, the Diamondbacks officially signed right-hander Fernando Rodney to a one-year, $2.75 million contract on Friday. The 39-year-old stands to receive up to $4 million in incentives, per Jack MacGruder of FanRag Sports, with $250,000 kicking in when the veteran reaches 40, 50 and 60 appearances and $500,000 if he reaches 70.
Rodney came three games shy of the 70-appearance mark in 2016 during back-to-back stints with the Padres and Marlins. He put up a cumulative 3.44 ERA on the year, which effectively disguised the extreme split during his performances in San Diego and Miami. The Diamondbacks aren’t anywhere close to contending in 2017, but Rodney should stabilize the back end of their bullpen while providing Arizona GM Mike Hazen with a potential trade chip during next year’s deadline.
Hazen issued a statement following the signing:
With Fernando, we’re getting an established Major League closer and a veteran presence in the bullpen. It is helpful to have someone with his experience on the back end to slow the game down and get the final three outs.
The Cardinals have officially signed outfielder Dexter Fowler to a five-year, $82.5 million contract. Fowler will also get a full no-trade clause.
The Cardinals gave Fowler a bigger deal than many speculated he’d get, as some reports predicted he’d get something in the $52-72 million range. His skills, however — he’s a fantastic leadoff hitter who plays a premium defensive position — definitely earned him some major dough. Fowler hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 homers, 48 RBI and 13 steals over 125 games in 2016 for the World Series champion Cubs.
For the Cardinals, this will allow Matt Carpenter to move down to the middle of the batting order and will shift Randal Grichuk to left field. It also takes a prime piece from the Cardinals’ biggest rival. For their part, earlier this offseason the Cubs signed former Cardinal center fielder Jon Jay. So that’s fun.