Some positive news on the Joe Nathan front.
According to James Schmehl of MLive.com, the veteran closer has been cleared to make a rehab appearance Wednesday and Triple-A Toledo and he anticipates rejoining the Tigers after just one outing.
Nathan was placed on the 15-day disabled list April 8 with a Grade 1 flexor strain in his elbow. He’d made just one appearance for Detroit this year, earning a one-out save on Opening Day against the Twins.
Joakim Soria has picked up five saves in Nathan’s absence, but he’ll be moved back to a setup role.
Kris Bryant went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in his major league debut last Friday afternoon against the Padres, but he’s now batting .444 with a 1.194 OPS through 24 plate appearances. Addison Russell will be hoping for a similar type of turnaround.
Russell finished 0-for-5 with three strikeouts in his Cubs debut on Tuesday night in Pittsburgh, though Chicago still managed to pull out a 9-8 victory.
Russell had a pretty good RBI opportunity in the top of the eighth inning when Starlin Castro singled and Miguel Montero was intentionally walked, but the 21-year-old top prospect lined out to Pirates shortstop Jung Ho Kang. That was Russell’s final at-bat of the night.
Russell started at second base Tuesday and batted ninth. A bit of trivia here: The last — and only — National League position player to bat ninth in his major league debut was Mark Little of the Cardinals in 1998.
Via Chase Hughes of CSNWashington.com …
Fresh off a week where both Jayson Werth and Denard Span returned to their lineup, the Nationals are close to getting another significant boost, as star third baseman Anthony Rendon is expected to begin a minor league rehab assignment by the end of the week.
Rendon played three innings Monday in an extended spring training game and will try to play five innings on Wednesday as a final test of his injured left knee.
The 24-year-old former first-round pick was diagnosed with a sprained MCL in early March and the Nationals had been easing him back into action this month at their spring training complex in Viera, Florida.
Rendon broke out in 2014 with an .824 OPS, 21 homers, 83 RBI, 17 steals, and 111 runs scored.
Watch this fourth-inning Giancarlo Stanton solo home run soar high and deep — all the way into the visitors bullpen — Tuesday evening at Philadelphia’s Citizens Bank Park …
That was the third home run of the season for Stanton and it netted him his 12th RBI in 14 games.
As first reported by Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic, the Diamondbacks have signed infielder Kevin Frandsen to a minor league contract and assigned him to their Triple-A affiliate in Reno.
Frandsen was released by the Nationals at the end of spring training after recording just three hits over 35 at-bats in the Grapefruit League. He had designs this winter on becoming Washington’s starting second baseman, but that never seemed likely.
The 32-year-old is a .259/.313/.350 career hitter in 1,350 plate appearances at the major league level.
He’ll give Arizona organizational depth at third base while Jake Lamb nurses a foot injury.