San Francisco Giants v Los Angeles Dodgers

Jon Garland “is on track to return as early as April 15”

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Jon Garland has been sidelined since early March with a strained oblique muscle, but Owen Perkins of reports that he could be cleared to join the Dodgers’ rotation “as early as April 15.”

Before that happens he’ll need to avoid setbacks while throwing a bullpen session Friday and then making a minor-league rehab start at Single-A, so manager Don Mattingly stressed that an April 15 return would be “the best-case scenario.”

By signing Garland to a one-year deal this offseason the Dodgers headed into spring training with six starters for five rotation spots, but Garland’s strained oblique muscle and Vicente Padilla’s forearm surgery quickly caused that depth to vanish.

Mattingly told Perkins that Garland has been pushing hard to come off the disabled list sooner than the Dodgers have mapped out, which isn’t surprising given that his incentive-laden contract has significant bonuses based on innings.

Astros leave Chad Qualls off playoff roster, add Preston Tucker

Chad Qualls Getty
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Houston made one unexpected change to the roster for the ALDS, leaving off veteran reliever Chad Qualls.

Qualls warmed up but never appeared in the Wild Card game win over the Yankees and during the regular season the 36-year-old right-hander logged 49 innings with a 4.38 ERA and 46/9 K/BB ratio. Qualls was on the Astros’ last playoff team in 2005.

Utility man Jonathan Villar has been bumped off the roster in favor of outfielder Preston Tucker, as the Astros opted for a good left-handed bat off the bench versus the Royals rather than Villar’s speed.

Royals leave Jonny Gomes off playoff roster

Atlanta Braves outfielder Jonny Gomes, who was pitching in relief, tips his cap as New York Yankees' Chris Young rounds the bases after a solo home run in the ninth inning of a baseball game Friday, Aug. 28, 2015, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
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It’s been a tough season for the mythology of Jonny Gomes‘ veteran clubhouse savior reputation.

First he signed with the rebuilding Braves and performed poorly while Atlanta fell apart after a surprisingly decent start. Then he was traded to the Royals, for whom he played just 12 games and hit .167. And now Kansas City has left Gomes off the ALDS roster.

It makes sense, though. Gomes’ only real use to the Royals would be as a pinch-hitter versus left-handed pitching, but manager Ned Yost rarely pinch-hits and will no doubt be more willing to use 25th man Terrance Gore as a pinch-runner in the late innings.

Beyond that, not many surprises on the Royals’ roster for their series against the Astros. They went with 11 pitchers, which means both Chris Young and Kris Medlen are on the roster. Jeremy Guthrie is not.