After nearly six weeks off, Denard Span has finally recovered from his concussion and has been cleared to begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Rochester on Sunday.
He’ll be joined there on the same day by teammate Jason Kubel, who suffered a sprained right foot on May 30. Kubel originally began a rehab assignment two weeks ago, but he experienced a setback and was put back on the shelf.
The plan is for Kubel to spend a few days at Rochester and rejoin the Twins next weekend. Span, though, will probably be on limited activity at first and could spend two weeks in the minors even if everything goes according to plan.
The return of both will give the Twins a tough call to make on Ben Revere. Revere, co-winner of AL Rookie of the Month honors with Jemile Weeks for June, has slumped of late and is down to .269/.307/.302 for the season. The Twins like the way he’s played center field, and one could argue they’d be better off with him playing regularly than with defensive liability Delmon Young in left field, but he might get shipped back to Triple-A anyway.
Diamondbacks pitcher Shelby Miller left Sunday’s start against the Dodgers after four-plus innings due to tightness in his right forearm, the team announced. He’ll be reevaluated tomorrow. Needless to say, though, a forearm injury is very concerning. In his four innings, Miller gave up three runs on four hits and five walks with three strikeouts, raising his ERA to 4.09.
Miller, 26, has had a nightmare of a time since joining the Diamondbacks in December 2015. Last year, he made 20 starts and posted a 6.15 ERA. He suffered a finger injury suffered from scraping his hand on the pitcher’s mound with his follow-through, and he was also demoted to Triple-A during the summer as well.
Pirates starter Ivan Nova has been outstanding in his first three starts of the 2017 season. He yielded only five earned runs in 20 innings for a tidy 2.25 ERA. But even more impressively, Nova didn’t issue a walk in any of those starts.
That changed on Sunday afternoon against the Yankees, but in a most peculiar way. Nova had struck out the side in the first inning, notched a 1-2-3 frame in the second, and got two quick ground outs to begin the third inning, bringing up Yankees pitcher Jordan Montgomery for his first major league at-bat. Montgomery never batted in the minor leagues, either, so Sunday’s AB against Nova was his first since his senior year of high school in 2011. Montgomery took the first two pitches for balls, then a called strike, a ball, and another called strike to even the count. Nova came in with his sixth consecutive fastball but it missed low, walking the Yankees’ pitcher for his first free pass of the 2017 season.
Nova got out of the inning without any further issue. He wound up going seven innings, giving up a lone run on four hits and a walk with seven strikeouts, lowering his ERA to an even 2.00.