Stephen Strasburg to make rehab debut Sunday at Single-A

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As expected, Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg made it through a side session Thursday in Viera, Florida and has been cleared to make his first minor league rehab start on Sunday with Single-A Hagerstown. This according to Adam Kilgore, beat writer for the Washington Post.

Strasburg underwent Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery last September after beginning his major league career with a shiny 2.91 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and 92/17 K/BB ratio over his first 68 innings.

The 23-year-old is hoping to make a couple of starts in the big leagues before the end of the 2011 campaign, and it seems like the Nats’ higher-ups are open to that plan. Strasburg won’t be back to 100 percent health, however, until spring training next February.

Rays trade Jake Odorizzi to Twins

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The Rays have traded right-hander Jake Odorizzi to the Twins, per team announcements on Saturday evening. The Twins will receive minor league shortstop Jermaine Palacios in the deal. Despite previous speculation, recently-DFA’d outfielder Corey Dickerson was not included in the trade.

With Odorizzi, the Twins finally have the front-end starter they’ve been seeking all winter. It’s a bargain deal as well, as the 27-year-old righty is under contract through 2019 and didn’t require the club to part with any of their top-shelf prospects in the trade. Odorizzi will be looking to stage a comeback in 2018 after a dismal performance with the Rays last year, during which he eked out a career-worst 4.14 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 8.0 SO/9 through 143 1/3 innings.

Palacios, 21, ranked no. 27 in the Twins’ system last season. He split his year between Single-A Cedar Rapids and High-A Fort Myers, raking a combined .296/.333/.454 with 13 home runs and 20 stolen bases in 539 plate appearances. He’s expected to continue developing at shortstop, though he’s also seen limited time at second and third base during his four-year career in the minors.