Michael Bourn day-to-day after MRI shows slight sprain of thumb

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UPDATE: According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Bourn is day-to-day after the MRI showed a slight sprain and no ligament tear.

8:32 PM: Michael Bourn is out of the Braves lineup for the fourth straight game tonight due to a jammed left thumb suffered on a head-first slide Saturday. Braves hand specialist Gary Lourie believes there’s no structural damage in the thumb, but David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the speedy center fielder was sent for a precautionary MRI earlier today to confirm.

The Braves have already wrapped up one of the Wild Cards, so they understandably want to play things safe, but Bourn hasn’t ruled out the possibility of returning for the series opener against the Mets tomorrow night assuming the MRI comes back clean.

“I wanted to play as soon as I can, but I knew the day after (injuring it), it was too sore,” Bourn said. “It swelled up the day after. But now most of the swelling’s gone. Some of the soreness is gone and it’s starting to feel better, but they just didn’t want me to rush out there and have any setbacks, which I can understand.”

Bourn, 29, is batting .274/.346/.391 with a .737 OPS and 93 runs scored in 151 games this season and leads the National League with 39 stolen bases. The impending free agent has established new career-highs with nine home runs and 56 RBI.

Struggling Francisco Rodriguez’s job seems to be secure

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Tigers closer Francisco Rodriguez continued to struggle on Thursday, allowing a run in a 2-1 loss to the Mariners. It’s the sixth time in nine appearances that the right-handed veteran has allowed a run, bumping his ERA up to 6.23. He’s blown two saves and has two losses on the year.

Despite that, it doesn’t sound like Rodriguez’s job as the Tigers’ closer is in any jeopardy, Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press reports. When asked how much of a leash Rodriguez has, manager Brad Ausmus said, “I’ll let you know.” Ausmus continued, “I think people have short memories. This guy did a pretty good job for us last year. Early on, people were worried because the velocity was down. Well, the velocity is back.”

“But at some point,” Ausmus said, “he does have to pitch the way he pitched last year, because he did an outstanding job for us last year and in a city that has been looking for a closer that was consistent for a long time, he was that.”

Rodriguez, 35, doesn’t have the stuff he once did. And the Tigers do appear to have someone who would be a better option in high-leverage situations. Lefty Justin Wilson has thrown 9 2/3 scoreless, hitless innings so far this season with 15 strikeouts and three walks. But for now, it sounds like Rodriguez will be free to work through his issues.

The Nationals are sad to be leaving Coors Field

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Don’t look now, but the Nationals have the best record in baseball at 16-6. They’re coming off a 10-game road trip in which they went 9-1, including sweeps of the Braves and Mets and a 3-1 series against the Rockies at Coors Field. During that series with the Rockies, the Nationals scored 46 runs, which is nearly as many as the Royals (54) have scored all season long. The Nats scored double-digits in all three wins.

The first game at Coors, an 8-4 loss, saw a three-hit game from Anthony Rendon and a homer from Ryan Zimmerman.

The second game featured Trea Turner hitting for the cycle and driving in seven runs. Daniel Murphy had three hits and five RBI.

The third game saw Turner finish a triple short of the cycle. Bryce Harper had four hits. Zimmerman had three hits including a homer. Murphy homered, too.

The fourth game featured homers from Adam Eaton, Harper, and Murphy. Seven members of the lineup had multiple hits and six had multiple RBI including pitcher Gio Gonzalez.

The series helped the Nationals bring their run differential to +34, the best in the National League. The Yankees are the only team with a better differential at +35.

Indeed, the Nationals are sad to be leaving Coors Field. They return home to open up a three-game set with the ailing Mets on Friday night.