Pablo Sandoval to begin minor league rehab assignment Friday

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Pablo Sandoval hasn’t played since straining his left hamstring while stretching for a throw at first base on July 24, but he’s ready to return to game action.

According to Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com, Sandoval is scheduled to play five innings at third base tomorrow when he begins a minor league rehab assignment with High-A San Jose. Giants manager Bruce Bochy thinks he “more than likely would play two of three games down there” before returning, which means he’ll likely be activated for Monday’s series opener against the Nationals if all goes well.

Sandoval, 25, is batting .299/.352/.491 with eight home runs, 33 RBI and an .843 OPS in 62 games played this season. The recently-acquired Marco Scutaro has filled in quite nicely at third base, including a career-high seven RBI last night, but he’ll likely see more playing time between second base and shortstop once Sandoval is ready to return.

Report: Mariners sign Juan Nicasio to a two-year deal

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Mariners have signed pitcher Juan Nicasio to a two-year contract, pending a physical.

Nicasio, 31, spent last season with the Pirates, Phillies, and Cardinals, putting up an aggregate 2.61 ERA with a 72/20 K/BB ratio in 72 1/3 innings. He appeared in 76 games, leading the National League.

Nicasio will help bolster the Mariners’ bullpen behind closer Edwin Diaz. It’s not known exactly what role he’ll have but it seems reasonable to assume he’ll handle mostly the seventh inning while Nick Vincent will set up for Diaz. Nicasio does have plenty of starting experience so he could also spot start in a pinch.