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.
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’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.
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 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 CSNWashington.com 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.