Author: D.J. Short

JUPITER, FL - FEBRUARY 25:  Justin Nicolino #79 of the Miami Marlins poses during Photo Day on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Florida.  (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

Marlins call up left-hander Justin Nicolino for his major league debut

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Tom Koehler is dealing with neck/back issue, so the Marlins have called up prospect left-hander Justin Nicolino to make his major league debut tonight against the Reds.

Acquired in the blockbuster 12-player trade with the Blue Jays in November of 2012, Nicolino was ranked as the organization’s No. 3 prospect by Baseball America over the winter. The 23-year-old had a 2.87 ERA over 13 starts with Triple-A New Orleans this season. He’s known for his good control and ability to induce ground balls, but he has averaged just 6.5 K/9 in the minors.

Koehler told Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald that he expects to be ready for his next turn in the rotation, so Nicolino might only be up for one start. Keep in mind, the Marlins also have Jarred Cosart and Jose Fernandez close to returning from the disabled list.

Phillies designate Phillippe Aumont for assignment after seven-walk performance

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JUNE 19: Starting pitcher Phillippe Aumont #48 of the Philadelphia Phillies throws a pitch in the first inning during a game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Citizens Bank Park on June 19, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)

Phillippe Aumont was designated for assignment by the Phillies this afternoon, less than 24 hours after he walked seven batters in a loss to the Cardinals.

With Cole Hamels sidelined due to a minor right hamstring strain, Aumont was called up from Triple-A Lehigh Valley to make a spot start last night. It wasn’t pretty. The 26-year-old right-hander gave up six runs and 12 out of the 23 batters he faced reached base. He threw just 56 out of 104 pitches for strikes.

Aumont was acquired from the Mariners in December of 2009 as part of the Cliff Lee deal and some considered him a potential closer at the time, but he has walked 34 batters over 43 2/3 innings during various stints in the majors and has averaged 5.6 BB/9 in the minors.

Josh Hamilton could begin a minor league rehab assignment next week

Josh Hamilton
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Josh Hamilton’s return to the Rangers lasted just seven games before he went down with a strained left hamstring on June 1, but Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports that he could begin a minor league rehab assignment by the middle of next week.

The plan calls for Hamilton to work out with the Rangers’ Double-A affiliate on Sunday before taking Monday off. He’ll then work out and take batting practice with the Rangers on Tuesday before being re-evaluated. It looks like a return around the start of July is possible if he can avoid setbacks.

Hamilton was 6-for-22 (.273) with two home runs, two doubles, five RBI, and a 4/7 K/BB ratio prior to the injury.

Giancarlo Stanton says he’ll participate in the Home Run Derby if he’s asked

MIAMI, FL - JUNE 15:  Giancarlo Stanton #27 of the Miami Marlins looks on during the game against the New York Yankees at Marlins Park on June 15, 2015 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)

Good news for people who like to see baseballs hit really far.

According to C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton said last night that he plans to participate in this year’s Home Run Derby if he’s asked. This year’s Home Run Derby will take place on July 13, one day before the 2015 All-Star Game at Great American Ball Park. Stanton was asked about it with the Marlins in Cincinnati this weekend.

“I find myself trying to make too much of the little park in previous years,” Stanton said. “Last year I finally calmed down a little bit when I’m here. You get super-excited and by the time your three games are up, you have no homers and nothing hit to the wall. Then your next series you hit five balls that would have been out here — that’s what I feel like I used to do. I’ve kind of calmed it down a little bit.”

Stanton currently leads the majors with 25 home runs. Reds third baseman Todd Frazier is tied with Bryce Harper for second with 22 home runs and figures to be the captain for the National League squad. The field of participants should be made official the week before the event. You know, if you’re into that.

Bryce Harper returns to Nationals’ lineup Saturday

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 18: Bryce Harper #34 of the Washington Nationals walks off the field with trainer Lee Kuntz, Anthony Rendon #6 and manager Matt Williams (R) after being injured and leaving the game in the sixth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Nationals Park on June 18, 2015 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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Bryce Harper gave the Nationals quite a scare when he was forced to exit Thursday’s game with a mild left hamstring strain, but Chase Hughes of reports that he’s back in the starting lineup for today’s game against the Pirates.

It’s a rapid turnaround for Harper, who initially appeared likely to miss a few days at the very least. Nationals manager Matt Williams preached a patient approach to the situation last night, saying that they would “take the appropriate steps necessary to make sure that he’s 100 percent ready to go when he is ready to go.” Apparently Harper has shown enough progress to return.

Here’s Harper’s take on how he’s feeling:

OK, then. Good enough for me.

Harper, 22, is batting .344/.476/.720 with 22 home runs and 53 RBI over 65 games this season.