A couple of weeks ago Stephen Strasburg said that he just wanted to be normal. One of the guys. To take his starts out from under the microscope and have them just sort of blend into the flow of the season. I presume he’ll get there one day, but for 2012, it seems, he’s still going to be something of a special case, as the Nationals have decided to put him on an innings limit.
Which is smart, by the way, even if it will lead to a lot of talk about whether the Nats are using him optimally and all of that. Talk which will be especially acute if, as many suspect, the Nats play a bigger role in the playoff chase next year.
But the thing is, they stand a great chance of making serious noise in the NL East beyond 2012 as well, and to that end it makes all kinds of sense to make sure that his reconstructed elbow builds to proper strength and endurance. So yeah, cut him off at 150-160 innings or so and then, in 2013, show the rest of the league the fully armed and operational Stephen Strasburg.
The Dodgers have reinstated first baseman Adrian Gonzalez from the 60-day disabled list after his recovery from a herniated disc. To make room for him they have optioned Rob Segedin to Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Gonzalez last played on June 11. Since then the Dodgers have gone an astounding 46-9, with shoe-in rookie of the year candidate Cody Bellinger handling first base duties and posting a .978 OPS. When Gonzalez went down he was hitting .255/.304/.339 and only one homer in 49 games.
It’ll be interesting to see what kind of playing time he gets going forward. The Dodgers, of course, have a comfortable lead in the NL West, so they could afford to allow Gonzalez to play a good bit to see if his bat sharpens up while simultaneously giving Bellinger, who has never played more than 137 games in a season, a bit of a breather. Beyond that, though, the Dodgers ain’t broke, so it’s hard to see why anyone would want to tinker with things.
The Tampa Bay Rays have activated outfielder Kevin Kiermaier from the 60-day disabled list.
Kiermaier, who fractured his hip in early June, is batting leadoff and playing center field in tonight’s game against the Mariners. He was just 3-for-24 on his rehab assignment, but those aren’t usually predictive of anything. He was hitting .258/.329/.408 when he went down. Getting his bat — and, more importantly, his glove — back in the lineup will boost the struggling Rays in their quest for a playoff spot.