Stephen Strasburg hopes to begin throwing in January

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Stephen Strasburg updated his progress from Tommy John surgery during a conference call with reporters earlier today.

According to Ben Goessling of MASNSports.com, Strasburg said he has a follow-up with Dr. Lewis Yocum after Christmas and plans to begin throwing sometime in January before reporting to spring training along with the rest of the pitchers and catchers.

“They’re not going to say I’m ahead of schedule, because they don’t want to get my hopes up. Physically, I feel great,” Strasburg said. “They say I’m on track. I don’t have an exact timeline yet. I’m just taking it week by week and getting stronger every single day.”

The 22-year-old right-hander posted a 2.91 ERA and 92/17 K/BB ratio over his first 12 major league starts before undergoing Tommy John surgery in the first week of September. There’s still an outside chance he could pitch before the end of the 2011 season, but don’t look for the Nationals to push him too soon.

Video: Albert Almora, Jr. lays out to make a great catch in deep right-center field

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Cubs center fielder Albert Almora, Jr. robbed Giants first baseman Brandon Belt of at least a double in the top of the first inning of Monday’s game at Wrigley Field. Almora completely left his feet to catch the ball before landing just shy of the warning track.

The Giants took the early lead two batters prior to Belt’s at-bat as Joe Panik hit a solo home run to center field.

Anibal Sanchez accepts optional assignment to Triple-A

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The Tigers announced on Monday that pitcher Anibal Sanchez has accepted an optional assignment to Triple-A Toledo. Pitcher Warwick Saupold was recalled from Toledo to take Sanchez’s roster spot.

Sanchez, 33, continued to struggle this season pitching out of the bullpen. He gave up 26 runs (21 earned) on 34 hits and nine walks with 22 strikeouts in 21 innings. Nine of those 34 hits were home runs. Sanchez finished the 2015 season with a 4.99 ERA and last season with a 5.87 ERA, so he’s had a rough go of it in recent years.

The decision to go to Triple-A was Sanchez’s, Anthony Fenech of the Free Press reports. Sanchez wants to be stretched out as a starting pitcher again.