As expected, the Padres have promoted top prospect Anthony Rizzo from Triple-A Tucson and written his name into the starting lineup for Thursday night’s game against the Nationals.
Rizzo is batting seventh in his major league debut.
The 21-year-old first baseman forced his way to the majors at a far quicker pace than expected by batting .365/.444/.715 with 16 home runs and 63 RBI over 52 games this season at Triple-A.
Padres manager Bud Black confirmed to reporters Thursday that Rizzo will serve as the team’s primary first baseman going forward. Convinced that he has the goods offensively, they didn’t want to ease him in.
The Padres optioned outfielder Aaron Cunningham to Triple-A Tucson to clear a spot on the 25-man roster. Eric Patterson was also designated for assignment with Will Venable returning to the major leagues.
ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reported on Sunday that the Brewers claimed catcher Stephen Vogt off waivers from the Athletics. Vogt was designated for assignment by the Athletics on Thursday.
Vogt, 32, was an All-Star in each of the last two seasons, but struggled this year. He hit .217/.287/.357 with four home runs and 20 RBI in 174 plate appearances.
With the Brewers, Vogt will likely split time behind the plate with Manny Pina. Meanwhlie, the Athletics’ catching situation will be handled by Josh Phegley and Bruce Maxwell.
Astros’ left-hander Dallas Keuchel might not return to the rotation before the All-Star break, Houston manager A.J. Hinch told reporters prior to Sunday’s game. The club placed their star southpaw on the 10-day disabled list on June 8, retroactive to June 5, after a nerve issue was revealed in his neck.
Keuchel has taken a conservative approach to his recovery over the last several weeks, and while he appears to have made some progress, still has yet to throw off the mound. The injury interrupted the start of an outstanding run with the Astros, during which the 29-year-old lefty furnished a 9-0 record with a 1.67 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 through his first 75 2/3 innings of 2017.
According to Hinch, it’s certainly possible that Keuchel could return to the team sometime within the next two weeks, but it’s clear that the team would prefer to play it extra safe with their ace. Even assuming that he feels ready to reclaim his spot on the Astros’ pitching staff, he still needs to complete a few key activities before competing in another game — like throwing off a mound, for example. In the meantime, Lance McCullers Jr. will continue to head Houston’s rotation as they try to build on their 12.5-game lead in the AL West.
Hinch’s full comments are below: