Jordan Zimmermann may skip All-Star game because of neck injury

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Jordan Zimmermann finished his first half yesterday with 6.1 innings of two-run ball against the Phillies and heads into the All-Star break at 12-4 with a 2.58 ERA. However, the Nationals right-hander may decide to skip his first All-Star game because of a lingering neck injury.

Here’s what Zimmermann told Bill Ladson of MLB.com:

It’s a little tight. I’ve been dealing with that for a while now. But I got it loosened up. It’s good enough out there to go and pitch. … I’m not sure what I’m going to do. We’ll see how the next few days go and go from there. I would rather be healthy for the second half than pitch [in the All-Star game]. I would like to pitch in it. But I’m not going to go out there and pitch an inning, and I have to battle [with the injury] the whole second half.

That sounds like a perfectly reasonable approach to the situation for Zimmermann, who’s on pace for around 235 innings after throwing a career-high 195 last year. Ladson notes that the right-hander isn’t even sure what’s causing the neck problems, which seems like something that should worry the Nationals.

Diamondbacks place Shelby Miller on the 10-day disabled list

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The Diamondbacks announced on Monday that starter Shelby Miller has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with right elbow inflammation. Miller will get a second opinion on his elbow on Tuesday, per MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert. Pitcher Silvino Bracho has been called up from Triple-A Reno to take Miller’s spot on the roster.

Miller, 26, left Sunday’s start with what was described at the time as forearm tightness. Through his first four starts, Miller is carrying a 4.09 ERA with a 20/12 K/BB ratio in 22 innings.

Bracho, 24, has pitched quite well in 6 2/3 innings of relief at Reno. He’s given up just one unearned run on four hits and a walk (intentional) with 12 strikeouts.

Archie Bradley figures to take Miller’s spot in the starting rotation as Bracho will work middle relief.

Eric Thames hit two more homers

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And John Lackey is livid.

The Brewers’ first baseman homered in each of his first two plate appearances against Reds starter Amir Garrett on Monday evening, helping his team to a 6-1 lead after two frames. The first was a solo blast in the first inning, and the second was a two-run shot to the opposite field in the second inning.

According to MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, Thames has tied the Brewers’ record for home runs in April with 10. Carlos Lee also hit 10 homers in April 2006.

Seven of Thames’ 10 home runs have come against the Reds. Including his first two at-bats on Monday night, Thames is hitting .379/.474/.924 with 17 RBI along with the 10 dingers. Not too shabby from a guy the Brewers signed to a three-year, $16 million contract during the offseason.

Lackey and Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio both recently implied Thames is using performance-enhancing drugs, but Thames was tested immediately after last Monday’s game against the Cubs.