Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg passed his final test Saturday and has been cleared to return from the disabled list for a start Tuesday against the Marlins. He threw a bullpen session under the watch of pitching coach Steve McCatty, and the young phenom reported no pain or discomfort in his throwing arm.
Nats manager Jim Riggleman told the Associated Press that Strasburg will be on a loose 90-pitch limit in his return, which makes plenty of sense.
“I’m not really looking for him to go out there for the seventh inning,”
Riggleman said before Saturday night’s game at Dodger Stadium. “If we
were to get six innings out of him, that would be a huge step. If he got
five, that would be a good number to build on for his next one.”
Strasburg, of course, was mowing batters down before complaining of discomfort in his shoulder before his July 28 start. Through 51.1 innings and nine starts this season, he’s posted a 5-2 record with a 2.32 ERA and 75 strikeouts.
Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly reports that the Phillies are close to signing free agent reliever Joaquin Benoit. An announcement is expected before the winter meetings end on Thursday.
Benoit, 39, has quietly been among the better relievers in baseball over the past seven years. This past season with the Mariners and Blue Jays, the right-hander put up an aggregate 2.81 ERA with a 52/24 K/BB ratio in 48 innings. That included a 0.38 ERA in 23 2/3 innings after the Jays acquired him from the Mariners.
Benoit suffered a torn calf muscle during a benches-clearing brawl with the Yankees near the end of the regular season. He’s expected to be healthy for spring training.
The Phillies have now added three relievers this offseason with Benoit, Pat Neshek, and David Rollins.
ESPN’s Pedro Gomez provides a previously unreported detail of the new collective bargaining agreement, agreed to by the owners and the players’ union last week. Players’ meal money for road games is being reduced from $105 to $30 per day. Teams are providing pre- and post-game meals in the visitors’ clubhouse to offset some of the decrease in meal money.
Gomez quotes an unnamed player who said, “I doubt many guys know about the money going down, nor would they have agreed to it.” All of the players Gomez contacted said they were unaware of and unhappy about the change.
Clubhouse attendants are certainly unhappy about this change, too. As Gomez notes, the attendants previously provided food for visiting teams which earned them tips from the players.
EDIT: It’s worth clarifying that chefs are required in clubhouses now as part of the new CBA, so it’s not a complete loss for the players.