Stephen Strasburg, who felt a “pop” in his elbow on August 21 and underwent Tommy John surgery two weeks later, has started throwing again.
It’s just the first step on the year-plus road to recovery and Strasburg is still nowhere near getting back on a mound yet, but Nationals pitching coach Steve McCatty told Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post that the former No. 1 overall pick “was so excited to be able to toss a ball.”
The best-case scenario for Strasburg would likely involve making a few low-pressure appearances in September, but the Nationals have no reason to rush him back for that if he suffers any kind of setback or simply needs a bit more time than the ahead-of-schedule Tommy John survivors who’ve come back in less than 12 months. In some cases it takes 18 months to return to game action and as pitchers like Francisco Liriano have shown even then it often takes significantly longer before surgically repaired arms start to feel like their old self again.
The Giants have acquired All-Star infielder Eduardo Nunez from the Twins in exchange for minor league pitcher Adalberto Mejia, Sarah Crabill/Getty Images.
Nunez, 29, went 0-for-4 in Thursday night’s game against the Orioles. He’s hitting .296/.325/.439 with 12 home runs, 47 RBI, 49 runs scored, and a league-best 26 stolen bases in 391 plate appearances this season. Nunez has played mostly at shortstop this season, but has also logged significant time at third base and a handful of games at second base, so he’ll give the Giants some versatility.
Nunez will likely play a lot of third base for the Giants as Matt Duffy is still sidelined with a strained left Achilles. He’s earning $1.475 million this season and will enter his third and final year of arbitration eligibility heading into 2017.
Mejia, 23, was considered the Giants’ seventh-best prospect by MLB Pipeline. He earned a promotion to Triple-A Sacramento last month after posting a 1.94 ERA with Double-A Richmond. In seven starts with Sacramento, he has a 4.20 ERA with a 43/11 K/BB ratio in 40 2/3 innings.
Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY reports that the Mariners have received “strong” trade interest for starter Taijuan Walker. The right-hander is currently on the mend from tendinitis in his right foot. He’ll throw a bullpen on Friday at Wrigley Field with scouts in attendance.
Walker, 23, has a 3.66 ERA with an 80/18 K/BB ratio in 86 innings this season. It’s his first bit of sustained success at the major league level. What’s arguably just as intriguing is the fact that Walker will be under team control through 2020.
The Mariners have been hovering around .500 for the last month and entered Thursday six games behind the first-place Rangers in the AL West and 4.5 games out of the second AL Wild Card slot, behind three other teams as well as the two Wild Card leaders. It’s enough uncertainty which could push the Mariners to sell.