Stephen Strasburg on track to return Tuesday

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While we’re on the subject of “next big things,” Mark Zuckerman of Nats Insider reports that Stephen Strasburg is scheduled to return from the disabled list next Tuesday against the Marlins.

Strasburg, who was placed on the disabled list last week with shoulder stiffness, threw a 25-pitch bullpen session Tuesday. He hurled fastballs, curveballs and changeups at full velocity and was “letting it go,” according to Nationals trainer Lee Kuntz.

He’ll still need to complete a simulated game Thursday and another bullpen session Saturday, but Nationals manager Jim Riggelman is very optimistic that he will be available Tuesday, as scheduled.

“It’s only tentative if he doesn’t respond 100 percent to the workload,”
Manager Jim Riggleman said. “We’re anticipating everything will go fine
and he can pitch Tuesday. But if there’s the slightest something to be
cautious about, we’ll back off from that.”

I follow statistics as much as any other baseball geek, but Zuckerman tweeted something pretty interesting in its sheer meaninglessness earlier this afternoon:

Craziest (and least meaningful) stat ever: With Strasburg on 25-man roster, Nats are 15-26. Without him, they’re 32-33.

Just your classic case of coincidental sucking, I’m sure.  

Masahiro Tanaka throws a Maddux

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You do know what a Maddux is, right? In case you forgot, it’s a complete game shutout in which the starter throws fewer than 100 pitches. Friend of HBT Jason Lukehart invented that little metric and, because Greg Maddux is my favorite player ever, it’s pretty much my favorite stat ever.

In the Yankees-Red Sox game tonight it was Masahiro Tanaka doing the honors, tossing 97-pitch three-hitter in which he only allowed one runner to reach second base to beat Boston 3-0. He only struck out three but he didn’t walk anyone. He retired the last 14 batters he faced.

Chris Sale was no slouch himself, striking out ten in eight innings. He’s pitched great this year but he’s not getting any help. The Sox have only scored four runs in his five starts. Boston has scored only 13 runs in their last seven games. They’ve been shut out three times in the past seven. They scored more runs than anyone last year, by the way.

The game only took two hours and twenty-one minutes. Or, like, half the time of a Yankees-Red Sox game in the early 2000s. Progress, people. We’re making progress.

Shelby Miller has a tear in his UCL, considering Tommy John surgery

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Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports that Diamondbacks pitcher Shelby Miller has a tear in his ulnar collateral ligament and is considering undergoing Tommy John surgery. Surgery would end Miller’s 2017 season and would cut into a significant portion — if not all — of his 2018 season as well.

Miller sent his MRI results to Dr. Neal ElAttrache and Dr. James Andrews for second and third opinions, respectively. He could choose to rehab his elbow rather than undergo surgery, but that comes with its own set of positives and negatives.

Miller lasted only four-plus innings in his most recent start on Sunday and carries a 4.09 ERA on the season, his second with the Diamondbacks. His time in Arizona has not gone well.