John Danks plays catch again, nearing mound work

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Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com has a positive update on White Sox left-hander John Danks’ ongoing rehab:

The White Sox pitcher said a left shoulder strain, which has kept him on the disabled list since May 20, has responded well to recent activity and treatment. But after previous deadlines have arrived and passed, Danks refusees to get too far. He played catch again on Sunday with good results and perhaps could throw off the mound soon.

“I feel like I’m able to bounce back a little better after I have thrown a couple of days in a row,” the 27-year-old southpaw told CSN Chicago before Chicago’s series-finale Sunday afternoon against the Tigers. “Hopefully it keeps on progressing the way we hope and want to. I’d like to get out there before the year is over.”

Danks owns a decent 4.12 career ERA and 1.31 career WHIP. The Pale Hose signed him to a five-year, $65 million contract extension this past offseason and will hope he can be a contributor down the stretch.

Umpire ejects Adrian Beltre for moving on-deck circle

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As far as ejections go, this is one of the stranger ones you’ll hear about. Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre was ejected in the bottom of the eighth inning of a game his team trailed at the time 18-6. Beltre was a few feet away from the circle towards home plate and was asked by Marlins pitcher Drew Steckenrider to get into the circle. So rather than step a few feet back to his right, Beltre picked up the circle and dragged it to where he was. And that got him ejected by second base umpire Gerry Davis. Manager Jeff Banister was also ejected after having a word with Davis.

Here’s a video from Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports:

Beltre, by the way, went 3-for-3 with a walk, a pair of doubles, and a solo home run. He’s now four hits away from 3,000 for his career.

Video: Phillies prospect J.P. Crawford hits an inside-the-park grand slam

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Phillies shortstop prospect J.P. Crawford’s stock has fallen sharply this season. He had an abysmal first three months, batting .203/.321/.276 in 291 plate appearances. Baseball America rated him the 12th overall prospect in baseball going into the season and rated him No. 92 in their midseason top 100. It was bad.

Since the calendar turned to July, however, Crawford has been more like his normal self. In 92 at-bats this month entering Wednesday night’s action, he was hitting .300/.391/.650 with six home runs, 13 RBI, 18 runs scored, and a terrific 15/12 K/BB ratio.

Crawford padded his stats more on Wednesday night as he circled the bases for an inside-the-park grand slam. Via the IronPigs Twitter:

Crawford was actually dead-to-rights at home, but he fooled the catcher with a great late slide.

Crawford finished 1-for-3 with a walk along with the slam on the night as the IronPigs beat the Gwinnett Braves 8-2.