Ian Desmond returns ahead of schedule from torn oblique

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Out since mid-July with a torn oblique muscle, Ian Desmond is off the disabled list and back in the Nationals’ lineup well ahead of schedule.

Desmond was having a breakout season before the injury, hitting .286 with 17 homers and an .825 OPS in 89 games while making his first All-Star team. In his absence manager Davey Johnson shifted Danny Espinosa from second base to shortstop and used Stephen Lombardozzi as the everyday second baseman.

To make room for Desmond’s return Washington designated veteran infielder Cesar Izturis for assignment.

Yankees acquire A.J. Cole from the Nats

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The New York Yankees have acquired reliever A.J. Cole from the Washington Nationals for cash considerations.

Cole was supposed to be the Nats’ fifth starter this year but that didn’t work out too well. He pitched in four games for the Nats, starting two, to the tune of a 13.06 ERA, having given up six home runs in 10.1 innings. That’s . . . something.

Don’t get too used to Cole on the New York roster, as this seems like one of those “give us an arm” for a couple of days deals, after which Cole will be DFA’d and will either accept an assignment to Scranton or be cut loose. Such is life at the fringes for a guy who is out of minor league options.