“The Houston Astros will win the NL Central in 2011. I’m calling it right now — Astros ’11 division champs.”
— ESPN’s Steve Berthiaume, waxing a bit too optimistically, methinks, over the Astros downright respectable second half.
I don’t want to take too much away from the Astros’ impressive in-season turnaround, but there’s no escaping the fact that, in addition to the legitimate improvements the team has made, the Astros’ schedule has gotten considerably easier in the second half of the season than it was in the first half.
Obviously a lot will happen in the offseason. As I sit here today I’d feel fairly comfortable picking them to finish third again, depending on what the Brewers do. But first place? Sorry, can’t feature it.
Jon Morosi of FOX Sports and MLB Network reports that the Padres are working to trade starter Andrew Cashner. He notes that a deal may be consummated before he takes the hill for Tuesday’s start in Toronto against the Blue Jays. The Marlins, Orioles, and Rangers have had reported interest in Cashner.
Cashner is 4-7 with a 4.79 ERA and a 61/27 K/BB ratio in 73 1/3 innings. He missed over three weeks between June 11 and July 2 due to a strained neck.
The right-hander is earning $9.625 million this season and will be eligible for a fourth and final year of arbitration going into 2017.
The Nationals announced on Tuesday that the club activated first baseman Ryan Zimmerman from the 15-day disabled list. Zimmerman had been out since July 7 with a strained rib cage on the left side.
Zimmerman has been inserted in the sixth spot in Tuesday’s lineup against the Indians. The veteran went on the DL with a lackluster .221/.284/.402 triple-slash line with 12 home runs and 38 RBI in 313 plate appearances.
Clint Robinson and Daniel Murphy split time at first base in Zimmerman’s absence, which allowed Trea Turner to get regular playing time at second base. Turner will play center field on Tuesday night.
The Nationals also activated pitcher Sammy Solis from the disabled list. Solis had been out since July 7 with inflammation in his right knee.