Stephen Strasburg (lat) aiming to pitch Saturday vs. Twins

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Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg was lifted from his start last Friday against the Braves because of a Grade 1 lat strain. But the hope is that he won’t even miss a full turn in the Nats’ starting rotation.

According to CSN Washington’s Mark Zuckerman, Strasburg is scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Wednesday and could be cleared to start Saturday against the Twins if the workout is issue-free. If it does not go according to plan, it’s possible that he will have to be placed on the 15-day disabled list

Strasburg has posted a 2.54 ERA and 1.06 WHIP in 12 starts this season, fanning 73 batters and issuing 21 walks in 74 1/3 innings. He had a 3.16 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 197/48 K/BB ratio in 159 1/3 frames last year.

The Nats will start Gio Gonzalez on Thursday against the Mets and Nate Karns on Friday vs. the Twins.

Yankees to hire Josh Bard as their new bench coach

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Aaron Boone has no experience as a coach or a manager at any level. As such, some have speculated that he’d hire a more seasoned hand as his bench coach as he begins his first season as Yankees manager. Someone like, say, Eric Wedge, who was a candidate for the job Boone got and who once managed Boone in Cleveland.

Nope. According to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, he’s going with Josh Bard.

Bard, 39, was a teammate of Boone’s with the Indians in 2005. He’s not without coaching experience, having spent the last two seasons as the Dodgers’ bullpen coach, but he’s not that Gene Lamont/Don Zimmer-type we often see in the bench coach role.

Which is fine because different managers want different things from their bench coach. Some are strategy guys, helping with in-game decision making. Others are relationship guys who help managers understand all of the dynamics of the clubhouse while they’re worrying more about lineups and stuff. Others are trust guys, who can serve as the manager’s sounding board, among other things. Some are combinations of all of these things. As Feinsand notes in his story, Boone said at his introductory press conference that he’s looking for this:

“I want smart sitting next to me. I want confidence sitting next to me. I want a guy who can walk out into that room and as I talk about relationships I expect to have with my players, I expect that even to be more so with my coaching staff. Whether that is a guy with all kinds of experience or little experience. I am not concerned about that.”