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.
According to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, free agent reliever Joba Chamberlain has a deal with the Brewers. No confirmation or terms of the contract have been confirmed by the team yet.
Chamberlain, 31, had a promising resurgence in the Indians’ bullpen during 2016. He shaved his ERA down to a modest 2.25 mark over 20 innings with Cleveland, paired with an 8.1 SO/9 and less-than-stellar 5.0 BB/9 rate. Over a decade in the major leagues, the right-hander holds a career 3.81 ERA, 8.8 SO/9 and 3.7 BB/9 rate.
The veteran righty was released by the Indians in July after refusing re-assignment. He’s expected to compete for a major league role this spring.
After letting rumors of the deal percolate for the last week, the Athletics officially announced their two-year, $11 million contract with right-hander Santiago Casilla on Friday (and threw a little bit of shade at the Giants, too). As previously reported, the contract includes an extra $3 million in performance bonuses.
Casilla, 36, got his major league start with Oakland back in 2004, racking up a 5.11 ERA and four saves over six seasons in the A’s bullpen. After picking up a minor league deal with the Giants in 2010, the righty flitted in and out of the closing role with varying degrees of success. Notwithstanding a slight downturn in his production rate during the 2016 season, he earned 123 saves and a 2.42 ERA during the past seven years in San Francisco. Securing another closing role might be a little tougher across the Bay, however, with a bullpen that includes fellow closers Ryan Madson, Ryan Dull and Sean Doolittle.