Indians outfielder Shin-Soo Choo was diagnosed with a sprained right thumb in early July and had to be placed on the disabled list.
Early projections, by the the Cleveland Plain Dealer at least, suggested that he could miss a total of two months. Thankfully they were way off.
Choo took 50 swings of batting practice on Sunday, according to Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com, and he is expected to begin a rehab assignment with Double-A Akron on Monday. If all goes well, he should move on to Triple-A Columbus by the middle of next week and could be with the Tribe by next weekend.
Choo, 28, was batting .286/.390/.475 with 13 home runs, 12 stolen bases and 43 RBI in 301 at-bats when he was placed on the disabled list on July 4. Though the Indians are already out of the running in the American League Central, Choo’s spark near the heart of the lineup should help the club maintain a level of respectability through the second half.
The Cardinals have selected right-hander Miles Mikolas as their Opening Day starter, the club revealed Saturday. It’ll mark the first career Opening Day start for Mikolas, who is scheduled to go up against the Brewers when the team hits the road on March 28.
The 29-year-old righty was a strong contender for the 2018 NL Cy Young Award, earning All-Star distinctions and pitching to a career-best 18-4 record with a 2.83 ERA, 1.3 BB/9, 6.5 SO/9, and 4.3 fWAR over 200 2/3 innings. He’s positioned to lead the Cardinals rotation in 2019 as well, with former Opening Day starters Carlos Martínez and Adam Wainwright and some combination of right-handers Jack Flaherty, Michael Wacha, Alex Reyes, and John Gant behind him.
Manager Mike Shildt told reporters that Flaherty, Wacha, Wainwright, and Martínez had all been considered for the honor, but admitted that Opening Day honors were ultimately handed to Mikolas “in recognition of [his performance] last year.” The Cardinals are scheduled to play a four-game set against the Brewers to start the season and will stop over in Pittsburgh for another two games before returning to St. Louis for their opening homestand against the Padres on April 4. Additional pitching assignments have yet to be announced.