<span class="vcard">D.J. Short</span>

Justin Verlander

Justin Verlander set to test triceps injury with simulated game

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Justin Verlander is ready to take the next step in his long road back from a right triceps strain, as Jason Beck of MLB.com reports that he’s scheduled to throw a simulated game on Tuesday in Oakland.

Verlander originally injured his triceps in spring training and had a setback while attempting to throw a simulated game last month. He resumed throwing earlier this month and felt good after going through an extended bullpen session Thursday at Comerica Park.

The Tigers aren’t going to look too far ahead given how things played out after the last time he tried to throw a simulated game, but a minor league rehab assignment might not be far off if things go according to plan.

UPDATE: David Wright diagnosed with spinal stenosis

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 09:  David Wright #5 of the New York Mets warms up before the game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on April 9, 2015 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)
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UPDATE: Anthony DiComo of MLB.com reports that Wright has been diagnosed with stenosis, which is a narrowing of the spinal column. That doesn’t sound good. In fact, the condition has forced some athletes into early retirement. The Mets believe that the injury will heal, but there’s no timetable. They probably can’t count on him anytime soon.

2:50 p.m. ET: Rough news for the Mets here, as Marc Carig of New York Newsday reports that David Wright has been shut down for another week due to continued back issues.

Wright originally landed on the disabled list in mid-April with a strained right hamstring, but he began having lower back pain while rehabbing the injury earlier this month. As of yesterday, the Mets were hoping that he would be rehab for minor league rehab games next week, but that plan will go on the backburner until he begins to show improvement.

Eric Campbell is currently filling in for Wright at third base, but he’s batting just .197/.323/.303 over 24 games. The Mets have been struggling to score runs for quite a while now and one wonders how much longer they can stand pat without making some sort of move to improve their offense.

Devin Mesoraco had a setback with his hip

Pittsburgh Pirates v Cincinnati Reds
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Devin Mesoraco hasn’t caught since April 12 due to a left hip impingement, but the Reds have kept him active as a pinch-hitter and designated hitter rather than place him on the disabled list. It looks like they aren’t going to have a choice soon.

According to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Mesoraco tested his hip Friday by trying to get into a catching position and doing 15 squats and giving signs. It didn’t go well.

“It was very difficult,” he said. “It’s probably not something that’s going to happen any time soon. It obviously caused some problems afterward. It doesn’t make sense to do a whole lot more right now because it doesn’t feel good.”

Mesoraco plans to make a decision about surgery after the Reds return from their current road trip. Surgery would end his season, but there’s no sense in delaying it any longer if he isn’t seeing improvement.

Tanner Roark to fill in for Doug Fister in Nationals’ rotation

PHOENIX, AZ - MAY 13:  Relief pitcher Tanner Roark #57 of the Washington Nationals pitches against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the MLB game at Chase Field on May 13, 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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UPDATE: Nationals manager Matt Williams said that Roark will start Monday, per Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com.

1:20 p.m. ET: Tanner Roark posted a 2.85 ERA across 31 starts last season, but the Nationals moved him to the bullpen after signing Max Scherzer to a huge contract over the winter. That depth is coming in handy now that Doug Fister is sidelined with a strained flexor muscle in his forearm.

According to Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com, Roark will either start Monday or Tuesday against the Cubs depending on whether he’s needed out of the bullpen this weekend. The 28-year-old right-hander hasn’t thrown more than 52 pitches in game this season, so Nationals manager Matt Williams said he’ll likely be limited to around 70 pitches for his first start back.

There’s still no timetable for Fister’s return, so Roark could keep a spot in the rotation for a while.

Johnny Cueto scratched from Sunday’s start due to elbow soreness

Johnny Cueto
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UPDATE: According to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Cueto has soreness in his elbow. Reds manager Bryan Price said he probably could have pitched tomorrow, but they didn’t want to take any chances.

12:29 p.m. ET: The Reds announced this morning that right-hander Johnny Cueto has been scratched from Sunday’s scheduled start against the Indians due to “general stiffness.” Raisel Iglesias will pitch in his place.

The team says that Cueto has been bothered by stiffness dating back to his last start on Tuesday, where he allowed three runs over seven innings in a loss to the Royals. They’ll have to hope that it’s nothing serious. In addition to being their ace, the impending free agent could net some nice prospects if they decide to sell going into the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. Plenty of teams figure to come calling if he’s healthy.

Cueto, 29, has posted a 3.03 ERA and 60/12 K/BB ratio in 65 1/3 innings this season.