With three straight wins and seven in their last 10 games, the Blue Jays are finally showing some signs of life. And they should get a nice boost in their lineup soon.
Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com reports that Jose Reyes played two innings and took three at-bats yesterday in a simulated game. It was his first game action since he severely sprained his left ankle on a slide into second base on April 12.
While the Blue Jays have to make an official announcement, Reyes is expected to begin a minor league rehab assignment Monday with High-A Dunedin. Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said that he’ll likely need about two weeks in order to test the ankle and shake the rust, but he should be back in Toronto’s lineup by the end of the month if all goes well.
Blue Jays’ leadoff hitters rank 20th in the majors this season in on-base percentage and OPS. And that’s including a .465 on-base percentage and .991 OPS in 10 games from Reyes. The speedy shortstop will be a welcome sight atop the Blue Jays’ lineup as they attempt to salvage their season.
Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg lasted only two innings in Sunday’s start against the Diamondbacks. The right-hander reportedly had trouble getting loose and it showed: he yielded a hit and three walks to the 10 batters he faced. According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Strasburg had “some nerve impingement that has been alleviated.”
Manager Dusty Baker expects Strasburg to make his next scheduled start on Saturday at home against the Rockies, Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post reports. Strasburg was examined by doctors, who deemed him to be in good shape — enough to not warrant undergoing an MRI.
Through 20 starts, Strasburg owns a 3.25 ERA with a 141/37 K/BB ratio across 121 2/3 innings. Though the injury scare isn’t what the Nationals hoped for, he’s done well in the first year of his seven-year, $175 million contract extension.
Cubs starter John Lackey didn’t have his best stuff on Tuesday afternoon at Wrigley Field against the White Sox. The right-hander hit four White Sox batters over the course of five innings. He yielded just two runs, though, on five hits and two walks with five strikeouts. He left with a 4-2 lead.
Lackey hit Jose Abreu with one out in the first inning, then hit Abreu again in the fifth. He then hit Matt Davidson and Yoan Moncada shortly thereafter. Chris Beck relieved Carlos Rodon for the White Sox in the bottom of the fifth and promptly hit Ian Happ with a fastball to lead off the frame. Home plate umpire Lance Barksdale issued warnings to both benches and the beanings stopped.
So, how often do pitchers hit four batters in a game? Not that often! The last to do it was the Reds’ Josh Smith on July 4, 2015 against the Brewers. Before that, it was the Nationals’ Livan Hernandez on July 20, 2005 against the Rockies. Lackey is only the ninth pitcher to hit four batters in a game since 2000 and the 26th since 1913. The only other Cubs pitcher to do it besides Lackey was Moe Drabowsky in 1957.