Padres right-hander Aaron Harang returned from the disabled list with a bang on Saturday, hurling six innings of no-hit ball against the Dodgers.
It was a bit surprising to see San Diego left-hander Josh Spence take the mound in the seventh inning with Harang’s no-hitter still intact and his pitch count still hovering at 95, but there’s little doubt that it was the correct baseball decision.
Harang hadn’t appeared in a major league game since June 9 and pitched only four innings Monday evening in his final minor league rehab start with Single-A Lake Elsinore. On top of that, the sun was beating down all afternoon at Dodger Stadium.
The Padres’ bullpen nearly managed a combined no-hitter after Harang’s exit, but Dodgers infielder Juan Uribe hit a two-out double in the bottom of the ninth and Dioner Navarro followed with a walkoff RBI single.
Harang lowered his ERA from 3.71 to 3.45 with the remarkable six-inning effort. He’s enjoyed a career resurgence this season in San Diego and could draw interest later this month if the Friars want to shop him.
Thursday is September 1, which means rosters expand. As a result, the Nationals plan to promote pitcher Mat Latos to the major league roster, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. Latos had an opt-out clause for Monday, but after discussing the matter with the team, he agreed to stay at Triple-A Syracuse until Thursday.
Latos, 28, put up a 4.62 ERA over 11 starts with the White Sox before being released in mid-June. Nearly two weeks later, he signed a minor league contract with the Nationals.
In the Nationals’ minor league system, Latos has made three starts for the club’s Gulf Coast League team as well as three for Syracuse. In aggregate, the right-hander has yielded six runs (four earned) on 20 hits and 10 walks with 28 strikeouts in 28 innings.
Latos will likely pitch out of a long relief role for the Nationals and can be used as starting rotation insurance as well.
Mark Buehrle hasn’t officially retired, but he hasn’t thrown a pitch in professional baseball since last October. Still, the Blue Jays wouldn’t mind having some insurance, so manager John Gibbons recently texted Buehrle, “You know, rosters expand in September,” Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports.
Buehrle’s response? He texted back a picture of a lake. Sounds like he’s not interested in making a return, at least this year.
Last year, at the age of 36, Buehrle went 15-8 with a 3.81 ERA with a 91/33 K/BB ratio in 198 2/3 innings while leading the league with four complete games. He fell 1 1/3 innings shy of a 15th consecutive 200-inning season. There are many worse ways to end a career.