Stephen Strasburg “threw extremely well” in simulated game

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Nationals pitching coordinator Spin Williams had a very positive review of Stephen Strasburg’s simulated game yesterday, telling Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post that the rehabbing former No. 1 overall pick “threw extremely well.”

Kilgore reports that Strasburg threw around 50 pitches, with breaks in between simulated innings, and a September appearance with the Nationals now seems realistic.

Or as Williams put it: “I think he’s getting very close.”

Strasburg underwent Tommy John elbow surgery on September 3 of last year and the typical recovery timetable is 12-18 months, although the timetable for a pitcher’s velocity and command returning to full strength varies significantly and is far from guaranteed. He still has plenty of hurdles to clear, including a likely rehab assignment in the minors, but so far so good.

Indians sign Melvin Upton Jr. to a minor league deal

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The Cleveland Indians have agreed to a minor league deal with outfielder Melvin Upton, Jr.

Upton, 33, battled a torn thumb ligament and a shoulder issue last season, limiting him to only 12 games with Triple-A Sacramento, the Giants’ affiliate. In those 12 games, he hit .244 with one double and one home run. Upton last played in the majors in 2016 with the Padres and Blue Jays with which he posted an aggregate .693 OPS.

Given the injuries suffered by Indians outfielders in the past couple of seasons it can’t hurt to have some options for organizational depth. If he has anything left in the tank, stash him on the bench or down in Columbus. If not, no harm done.