Bummer: Harmon Killebrew won’t be throwing out the first pitch in Minnesota on Friday

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There was word earlier this week that Harmon Killebrew — who has been battling esophageal cancer — was going to throw the first pitch out at the Twins’ home opener on Friday. Now it seems that he won’t make it due because he doesn’t want to interrupt his treatment schedule. Tony Oliva will do the honors in his place, with Killebrew’s grandson catching.

Apologies if I sound like an emotional spaz about this, but this kind of makes me worry. I’m guessing the treatment schedule has been in place a while, including when he first agreed to throw the pitch. He says that his treatment is going well and he hopes to make a full recovery. I hope that’s true and this doesn’t mean that his health won’t permit him to travel to Minnesota.

Sorry. I just have an irrational love of Harmon Killebrew, built mostly on the power of baseball cards I had when I was a kid and stories I’ve heard people who have had the privilege to know him well have told me. I’m going to be a bit more wobbly with him than I might be with other ex-ballplayers.

Get well soon, Harmon.

Dusty Baker expects Stephen Strasburg to make his next scheduled start

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Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg lasted only two innings in Sunday’s start against the Diamondbacks. The right-hander reportedly had trouble getting loose and it showed: he yielded a hit and three walks to the 10 batters he faced. According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Strasburg had “some nerve impingement that has been alleviated.”

Manager Dusty Baker expects Strasburg to make his next scheduled start on Saturday at home against the Rockies, Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post reports. Strasburg was examined by doctors, who deemed him to be in good shape — enough to not warrant undergoing an MRI.

Through 20 starts, Strasburg owns a 3.25 ERA with a 141/37 K/BB ratio across 121 2/3 innings. Though the injury scare isn’t what the Nationals hoped for, he’s done well in the first year of his seven-year, $175 million contract extension.

John Lackey hit four White Sox batters today

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Cubs starter John Lackey didn’t have his best stuff on Tuesday afternoon at Wrigley Field against the White Sox. The right-hander hit four White Sox batters over the course of five innings. He yielded just two runs, though, on five hits and two walks with five strikeouts. He left with a 4-2 lead.

Lackey hit Jose Abreu with one out in the first inning, then hit Abreu again in the fifth. He then hit Matt Davidson and Yoan Moncada shortly thereafter. Chris Beck relieved Carlos Rodon for the White Sox in the bottom of the fifth and promptly hit Ian Happ with a fastball to lead off the frame. Home plate umpire Lance Barksdale issued warnings to both benches and the beanings stopped.

So, how often do pitchers hit four batters in a game? Not that often! The last to do it was the Reds’ Josh Smith on July 4, 2015 against the Brewers. Before that, it was the Nationals’ Livan Hernandez on July 20, 2005 against the Rockies. Lackey is only the ninth pitcher to hit four batters in a game since 2000 and the 26th since 1913. The only other Cubs pitcher to do it besides Lackey was Moe Drabowsky in 1957.