Author: Drew Silva

Mike Trout

Mike Trout back in Angels’ lineup following heel scare

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Angels center fielder Mike Trout missed his first game of the 2015 season on Tuesday night against the Twins because of soreness in his left heel. But he claimed it was only a minor issue and he is back in the starting lineup Wednesday in the second game of a three-game set versus Minnesota.

Trout, 23, is batting .307/.400/.614 with 28 home runs and 57 RBI in 395 plate appearances this season for the American League West-leading Angels. He ranks second in FanGraphs’ version of WAR, only behind 22-year-old Nationals slugger Bryce Harper. The future is now, people.

Trout was named the MVP of last week’s 2015 All-Star Game at Cincinnati’s Great American Ball Park.

Kevin Gausman returns to O’s rotation amid trade rumors

Kevin Gausman

Orioles right-hander Kevin Gausman has been recalled from Triple-A Norfolk and will return to Baltimore’s rotation Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium, but where will he be after July 31?

ESPN’s Buster Olney reported on Wednesday afternoon that the Orioles “appear to be willing to talk” to other teams about Gausman, who was the fourth overall pick in the 2012 MLB Amateur Draft out of Louisiana State University and has appeared in games for the O’s in each of the last three seasons.

Gausman owns an underwhelming 4.31 ERA and 1.32 WHIP through 188 career major league innings, but he still carries high-level upside at age 24 and he is under contractual control through 2020.

The Orioles, like many teams, are right on the line of buyer or seller as the trade deadline approaches. They are currently 3 1/2 games back in the Wild Card race and five games back in the AL East.

Francisco Liriano to return to Pirates’ rotation on Thursday following minor neck injury

Francisco Liriano

Pirates southpaw Francisco Liriano was scratched from his scheduled start Saturday against the Brewers just minutes before first pitch due to tightness in his neck. But it’s only a minor thing.

Stephen J. Nesbitt of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Liriano made it through a side session Monday without issue and is scheduled to take his next turn in the rotation this Thursday night versus the Nationals. Vance Worley started in his place on Saturday night at Miller Park and surrendered five runs — four earned — over just four innings.

Liriano owns a stellar 2.98 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, and 125/39 K/BB ratio in 114 2/3 innings this season for the Pirates, who currently hold the third-best record (54-39) in Major League Baseball. They’re in the midst of a big three-game series in Kansas City.

Chris Johnson hopes the Braves trade him soon

chris johnson getty

Atlanta’s Chris Johnson has drawn only 16 starts this season at third base and 11 at first base, and he’s batting .258/.297/.342 in 128 plate appearances when he does play. He wants a change of scenery, as he told the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s David O’Brien this week …

“I’d be lying if I said I understood it,” Johnson said of his diminished playing time. “It just seems like there was a point from the end of last year where, you know, the ship has kind of sailed, and it was just hard. So hopefully something (a trade) gets done.”

Johnson had a .653 OPS, 10 home runs, and 58 RBI in 153 games last season as the Braves’ everyday third baseman and an .816 OPS with 12 homers and 68 RBI in 142 games the year before.

Johnson is owed $7.5 million in 2016 and $9 million in 2017, so it may be a little tough to find a taker.

Blue Jays sign Joba Chamberlain to minor league contract

joba chamberlain getty

As first reported by Joel Sherman of the New York Post, the Blue Jays have reached agreement on a minor league deal with reliever Joba Chamberlain.

Joba was cut loose by the Tigers before the All-Star break after posting a 4.09 ERA, 1.68 WHIP, and 15/5 K/BB ratio across 22 innings. He doesn’t seem to be much of a weapon anymore at age 29, but the Blue Jays are desperate for pitching help of any kind.

Entering play Tuesday, the Toronto pitching staff (starters and relievers) had a combined 4.10 ERA. That ranks 23rd out of the 30 major league teams.

Chamberlain will presumably join the bullpen at Triple-A Buffalo for now.