Stephen Strasburg dominates in second rehab start

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Well, Stephen Strasburg just passed his latest test with flying colors.

Strasburg allowed just two hits over three shutout innings tonight for High-A Potomac, striking out five and walking none. Both hits were infield singles.

The plan was for Strasburg to throw either five innings or 50 pitches, so he was pulled after throwing 26 out of 33 pitches for strikes. He was so efficient that he was sent to the bullpen to throw another inning’s worth of pitches.

Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com reports that Strasburg consistently sat around 98 mph on his fastball in the first inning and topped out at 99 mph to record a strikeout in the second inning. While he drew the usual raves for his knee-buckling curveball, he also recorded a pair of strikeouts in his final inning on 90 mph changeups. 90 mph changeups? Yep, they’re back.

Strasburg has allowed one run and struck out nine in 4 2/3 innings over his first two rehab starts. Barring any setbacks, he is expected to pitch in the major leagues in September.

Steven Matz to skip next spring training start with elbow issues

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Mets’ left-hander Steven Matz will miss his Grapefruit League appearance on Monday after experiencing soreness in his left elbow, according to a report by Mike Puma of the New York Post. Matz reportedly first felt discomfort in his elbow on Wednesday after pitching four innings against the Marlins, but a medical evaluation revealed no structural damage.

Still, it’s unsettling news for the 25-year-old, who is coming off of an injury-riddled 2016 season. Matz pitched to a 3.40 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 8.8 SO/9 during his sophomore campaign with the Mets, but his success was hampered by a bevy of shoulder and elbow issues that culminated in season-ending surgery to remove bone spurs from his left elbow.

Comments from Mets’ GM Sandy Alderson indicated that while the club doesn’t believe anything is significantly wrong with Matz’s elbow this time around, the setback could have an impact on his chances of cracking the Opening Day roster. Until he’s cleared to return to the mound, the club is expected to take a longer look at rotation candidates Robert Gsellman, Zack Wheeler and Seth Lugo.

Video: Andrew Toles hammers grand slam in Cactus League win

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Dodgers’ left fielder Andrew Toles crushed his first spring training home run on Saturday afternoon. With the bases loaded and a two-run deficit hanging over their heads in the fourth inning, Toles stepped up to the plate against Oakland right-hander Jesse Hahn and unloaded a grand slam on the second pitch he saw.

Third baseman Justin Turner was quick to follow up with a solo jack of his own, bringing the score to a comfortable 7-4 lead by the end of the fourth. Another three-run outburst in the fifth and an eighth-inning RBI single by Austin Barnes raised the final score to 11-6… which, coincidentally, was the same score the Reds used to defeat the Athletics’ second split-squad lineup on Saturday (albeit with a few more RBI walks than grand slams).

Toles, 24, is approaching his sophomore season with the Dodgers in 2017. He slashed .314/.365/.505 with three home runs and an .870 OPS in his first major league season in 2016 and is expected to platoon with the right-handed Franklin Gutierrez in left field this year.