Stephen Strasburg expects to return this week

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Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg was scratched from his scheduled Friday start against the Phillies after experiencing forearm tightness while working on a new pitch during his pregame bullpen session. But it wasn’t a major concern then and signs are looking promising for a quick return.

Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com reports that Strasburg played long toss from a distance of 120 feet on Sunday morning at Nationals Park and was free of arm discomfort. He will test himself on a mound on Monday and is aiming to rejoin the Nats’ starting rotation this Thursday against the Marlins.

Strasburg, 25, owns a 2.96 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and 181/52 K/BB ratio in 170 innings this season.

The Nationals are trying to work their way into the NL Central-dominated NL Wild Card mix.

Watch: Brian McCann’s incredible tag nails Greg Bird at home plate

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Things got a little wild in the fifth inning of Game 7 of the ALCS on Saturday. With one out and runners at the corners, Astros’ right-hander Charlie Morton fired a 1-1 fastball to Todd Frazier. Frazier returned the ball to third baseman Alex Bregman, who tossed a perfect throw over to Brian McCann at the plate just as Greg Bird came charging home. McCann’s setup was flawless, nailing Bird as he slid into the plate and nullifying the Yankees’ first real attempt to get on the board.

That’s as close as the Yankees have come to scoring so far. The Astros took an early 1-0 lead with Evan Gattis‘ 405-footer off of CC Sabathia in the top of the fourth inning. Jose Altuve chimed in with an opposite-field solo shot in the fifth, while McCann followed his lead-preserving tag with an equally jaw-dropping two-out, two-RBI double. Houston currently leads 4-0 in the bottom of the fifth.