Stephen Strasburg throws off mound for first time since Tommy John surgery

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The Nationals have lost seven out of their last 10 games and currently sit in last place in the National League East, but there’s some reason for optimism today.

No really, there is.

Stephen Strasburg revealed via his Twitter account earlier this afternoon that he threw from a mound for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery.

First bullpen in the books. Felt great! Hopefully time will speed up now!

Strasburg underwent reconstructive elbow surgery last September after posting a 2.91 ERA over his first 12 major league starts. The 22-year-old right-hander was expected to miss about 12-18 months following the procedure, so there’s only an outside chance he pitches for the Nationals this season. Still, I imagine most Nats fans will be just fine with that if he’s back to full strength in 2012.

Phillies sign Henderson Alvarez to a minor league deal

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Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Phillies signed pitcher Henderson Alvarez to a minor league deal. If he is added to the major league roster, he’ll earn $750,000 prorated.

Alvarez is still only 27 years old but hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2015 due to shoulder issues. He signed with the Long Island Ducks last month, making seven starts and posting a 3.94 ERA with a 13/14 K/BB ratio in 32 innings.

The Phillies learned that Vince Velasquez will undergo season-ending surgery and also placed Zach Eflin on the 10-day disabled list, so the club is just looking for pitching depth to help take them through the end of the season. Any innings that Alvarez is able to handle will be considered a bonus.

David Wright is going to play in a real game tonight

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Mets third baseman David Wright will begin a minor league rehab assignment Tuesday with High-A St. Lucie. He’ll be the DH.

Wright has been sidelined since May of 2016, first with a cervical disc herniation and, more recently, a shoulder impingement. He has appeared in just 75 games since his last full season in 2014. Wright is under contract through 2020 and is owed $47 million after this year. For now insurance is picking up a large portion of that.

It’s possible he’ll make a return to the Mets before the season out as the competitive portion of their year is basically over and giving him a chance to see big league pitching before he begins what one hopes is a normal offseason might be a good confidence boost. What meaningful role he ever plays in the big leagues again, however, is decidedly up in the air.