Clay Buchholz could resume throwing this weekend

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While Jon Lester is sidelined indefinitely with a lat strain, there’s at least some encouraging news to pass along about Clay Buchholz.

According to Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald, Buchholz hopes to resume a throwing program as soon as Sunday. The 26-year-old right-hander received a cortisone shot in his back when he saw Dr. Craig Brigham in North Carolina on Wednesday.

Brigham ruled out the worst-case scenario of structural damage and advised Buchholz that he can treat the injury with rest and rehabilitation.

 “I got the injection and it’s going to take some time to heal,” Buchholz said. “Then you’ve got to work on some core exercises to get that healthy and strong again. As soon as I can’t feel it, he said I can go from there. He said there was no case of me hurting myself long term if I had to pitch through it. … It was definitely good news. Structurally, no damage. That was my thoughts going in. I thought they were going to say something bad. I came out of there in a lot better spirits than I went in, so that was good.”

Buchholz hasn’t pitched since leaving a start against the Rays on June 16 with a strained lower back. He is 6-3 with a 3.48 ERA and 60/31 K/BB ratio over 14 starts this season.

Adam Eaton sustains leg injury after tripping over first base

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Nationals’ outfielder Adam Eaton was carried off the field after stumbling over first base on Friday night. In the ninth inning of the Nationals’ 7-5 loss to the Mets, Eaton appeared to catch his ankle on the bag as he ran out an infield single, suffering a leg injury on the fall. He was unable to put pressure on his left leg after the play and required assistance by two of the Nationals’ athletic trainers as he exited the field.

Eaton is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Saturday, but Nationals’ manager Dusty Baker told reporters that it “doesn’t look too good.” It’s the first significant leg injury the outfielder has sustained since 2014, when he went on the 15-day disabled list with a hamstring strain. He’ll likely be replaced by Michael Taylor in center field for the next couple of games, though that could be a temporary fix as the Nationals seek a better solution during Eaton’s recovery process.

Madison Bumgarner likely sidelined through the All-Star break

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It’s been just over a week since Giants’ left-hander Madison Bumgarner got a serious scare after a nasty dirt bike accident. He escaped with bruised ribs and a Grade 2 strain of his left shoulder AC joint, but there was some speculation that the injuries would cause a significant, if not permanent, setback in the southpaw’s career. Thankfully, things aren’t looking quite so bleak today. Not only will Bumgarner not require surgery, but he could return as soon as the week following the All-Star break, the Giants said Friday.

Of course, that timeline is wholly dependent on how smoothly the recovery process goes, so nothing is set in stone yet. NBC Sports Bay Area’s Alex Pavlovic estimates 2-3 months of rest and rehab, including “two months before he can get back on the mound and then another three to four weeks of throwing and rehab starts before he’s big league-ready.” It’s a long and laborious schedule, but still looks much better than any surgical alternative.

Prior to the accident, Bumgarner was working on a solid start to the 2017 season. He maintained a 3.00 ERA, 1.3 BB/9 and 9.3 SO/9 through 27 innings with the club, though his average 1.75 runs of support per start fed into an 0-3 record.