As fill-in closer Henry Rodriguez continues to do his tight-rope act in the ninth inning Drew Storen said yesterday that he’s aiming to return from the disabled list and reclaim the Nationals’ closer job around the All-Star break.
Storen underwent surgery to remove bone chips from his elbow on April 11 and has progressed to playing catch. The good news is that he reported no problems after making 100 throws. The bad news is that he still has a long way to go and lots of potential setbacks to avoid.
Rodriguez successfully converted his ninth save last night, but he’s blown three save chances and walked 12 batters in 17 innings. Of course, he’s also racked up 22 strikeouts in those 17 innings and opponents are hitting just .161.
Nathan Eovaldi hasn’t pitched in a month due to right elbow inflammation, but he told Chad Jennings of the Journal News today that he expects to pitch out of the bullpen if the Yankees advance to the ALDS against the Royals.
Eovaldi was originally expected to throw a 35-pitch bullpen session today, but the Yankees moved up his timetable after the news that CC Sabathia was checking into alcohol rehab. Instead, he threw 10 pitches in a bullpen session before facing hitters for the first time since his injury.
There isn’t enough time for Eovaldi to get stretched out to start during the ALDS, but he could still play an important role for the Yankees, especially with Adam Warren looking like the most likely option to replace Sabathia in the rotation.
Yadier Molina suffered a mild ligament tear in his left thumb on September 20, but the Cardinals announced Monday that they remain “optimistic” he’ll be on the roster for the upcoming NLDS.
Molina visited a hand specialist Monday and Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports that he’ll have a custom splint built in hopes that he’ll be able to hit and catch. He’s still not 100 percent, but even a limited Molina could be better than the alternative. That would be Tony Cruz in this case.
The Cardinals will meet the winner of Wednesday’s Wild Card game between the Cubs and the Pirates. Game 1 of the NLDS will take place Friday at 6:30 p.m. ET in St. Louis.