Cole Hamels was scratched from his scheduled start this week because of shoulder inflammation, but Todd Zolecki of MLB.com reports that “he remains on course to rejoin the rotation next week.”
Hamels will have to throw a problem-free bullpen session first, but general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. noted that “he’s been progressing really well.”
Hamels needing just one rotation turn off would obviously be excellent news for the Phillies, but given their lock on a playoff spot and the diminished velocity he showed last time out it might not be the worst idea in the world to give him some extra time off just in case.
Whether he rejoins the rotation next week or in two weeks, their primary goal should be having him at full strength for October.
Update (6:48 PM EST): Topkin reports the contract will be of the major league variety.
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays and free agent reliever Shawn Tolleson are close to finalizing a contract.
Tolleson, who turns 29 years old on Thursday, had an ugly 2016 season, finishing with a 7.68 ERA and a 29/10 K/BB ratio in 36 1/3 innings. He was one of the Rangers’ best relievers in the two seasons prior to that, however, which included saving 35 games in 2015.
The big presidential pardon news today concerns the commutation of Chelsea Manning’s sentence. We’ll leave that aside. For our purposes, know that someone in the world of baseball was pardoned: Willie McCovey.
Yes, Hall of Famer Willie McCovey, who in 1995 pleaded guilty to income tax fraud related to the non-reporting of income received from memorabilia and autograph shows. Duke Snider pleaded guilty alongside McCovey. They were given two years probation and fines of $5,000. Snider died in 2011. McCovey still works with the San Francisco Giants as a senior advisor and goodwill ambassador.
President Obama’s release of McCovey’s pardon was pretty succinct. But it’s enough to scrub the record of one of the greatest sluggers of all time.