Stephen Strasburg, starting pitcher. A man barely alive.
“Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology. We have the capability to build the world’s first bionic pitcher. Stephen Strasburg will be that man. Better than he was before. Better, stronger, faster.”
Davey Johnson said Strasburg hit 95 today. And that was “a little tentative.”
That was Adam Kilgore on Twitter, describing Johnson’s performance of Strasburg’s simulated game.
As many have noted, of course, velocity is not the biggest trick when it comes to rebounding following Tommy John surgery. It’s touch and command. And what made Strasburg so special last year were all of those things. Yes, that heater was impressive, but more impressive was his ability to go from mid-to-high 90s and then break of the bender or throw that changeup of his for strikes. The changeup that was faster than many guys’ fastballs, yet still made hitters look foolish.
So this is obviously awesome, but know that even if Strasburg pitches late this season, we may not see him at his post-surgery best until next spring.
The Dodgers have reinstated first baseman Adrian Gonzalez from the 60-day disabled list after his recovery from a herniated disc. To make room for him they have optioned Rob Segedin to Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Gonzalez last played on June 11. Since then the Dodgers have gone an astounding 46-9, with shoe-in rookie of the year candidate Cody Bellinger handling first base duties and posting a .978 OPS. When Gonzalez went down he was hitting .255/.304/.339 and only one homer in 49 games.
It’ll be interesting to see what kind of playing time he gets going forward. The Dodgers, of course, have a comfortable lead in the NL West, so they could afford to allow Gonzalez to play a good bit to see if his bat sharpens up while simultaneously giving Bellinger, who has never played more than 137 games in a season, a bit of a breather. Beyond that, though, the Dodgers ain’t broke, so it’s hard to see why anyone would want to tinker with things.
The Tampa Bay Rays have activated outfielder Kevin Kiermaier from the 60-day disabled list.
Kiermaier, who fractured his hip in early June, is batting leadoff and playing center field in tonight’s game against the Mariners. He was just 3-for-24 on his rehab assignment, but those aren’t usually predictive of anything. He was hitting .258/.329/.408 when he went down. Getting his bat — and, more importantly, his glove — back in the lineup will boost the struggling Rays in their quest for a playoff spot.