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.

Indians sign Melky Cabrera to a minor league deal

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The Indians have signed free agent outfielder Melky Cabrera to a minor league deal. The pact is pending a physical.

Cabrera, 33, went unsigned this past offseason after putting up a season of .285/.324/.423 with 17 homers and 85 RBI with the White Sox and the Royals.

Cabrera will report to Columbus once he passes his physical and, according to Paul Hoynes, there are no guarantees being made to him that he’ll get playing time. That said, the Indians aren’t getting much outfield production from anyone besides Michael Brantley, and Cabrera’s status as a switch hitter would give Terry Francona some flexibility, so it would not be shocking to see him on the big club after some reps in the minors.