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Phillies designate Jeanmar Gomez and Michael Saunders for assignment

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Here are a couple of surprising moves: the Philadelphia Phillies have designated righty Jeanmar Gomez and outfielder Michael Saunders for assignment. They gave called up lefty Hoby Milner and outfielder Cameron Perkins to take their places.

Gomez, the team’s closer last season, is making $4.2 million. Saunders, a 2016 All-Star and, somewhat inexplicably, one of the more sought-after bats in a weak free agent market last offseason, was making $9 million. Both have underperformed mightily this year, of course. Gomez lost his closer’s job early this season and has posted a 7.25 ERA over 18 appearances. Saunders was horrible in the second half last season and continued this season apace, hitting .205/.257/.360 over 61 games.

These moves don’t alter the Phillies’ competitive situation all that much but they certainly represent a repudiation of a a big move in the Saunders signing and a rethinking with respect to Gomez and the closer’s role.

The rebuild continues.

Brewers claim Stephen Vogt off waivers from the Athletics

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ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reported on Sunday that the Brewers claimed catcher Stephen Vogt off waivers from the Athletics. Vogt was designated for assignment by the Athletics on Thursday.

Vogt, 32, was an All-Star in each of the last two seasons, but struggled this year. He hit .217/.287/.357 with four home runs and 20 RBI in 174 plate appearances.

With the Brewers, Vogt will likely split time behind the plate with Manny Pina. Meanwhlie, the Athletics’ catching situation will be handled by Josh Phegley and Bruce Maxwell.

Dallas Keuchel is unlikely to return before the All-Star break

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Astros’ left-hander Dallas Keuchel might not return to the rotation before the All-Star break, Houston manager A.J. Hinch told reporters prior to Sunday’s game. The club placed their star southpaw on the 10-day disabled list on June 8, retroactive to June 5, after a nerve issue was revealed in his neck.

Keuchel has taken a conservative approach to his recovery over the last several weeks, and while he appears to have made some progress, still has yet to throw off the mound. The injury interrupted the start of an outstanding run with the Astros, during which the 29-year-old lefty furnished a 9-0 record with a 1.67 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 through his first 75 2/3 innings of 2017.

According to Hinch, it’s certainly possible that Keuchel could return to the team sometime within the next two weeks, but it’s clear that the team would prefer to play it extra safe with their ace. Even assuming that he feels ready to reclaim his spot on the Astros’ pitching staff, he still needs to complete a few key activities before competing in another game — like throwing off a mound, for example. In the meantime, Lance McCullers Jr. will continue to head Houston’s rotation as they try to build on their 12.5-game lead in the AL West.

 

Hinch’s full comments are below: