Strasburg throws in bullpen, cleared for Tuesday return

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Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg passed his final test Saturday and has been cleared to return from the disabled list for a start Tuesday against the Marlins.  He threw a bullpen session under the watch of pitching coach Steve McCatty, and the young phenom reported no pain or discomfort in his throwing arm.

Nats manager Jim Riggleman told the Associated Press that Strasburg will be on a loose 90-pitch limit in his return, which makes plenty of sense.

“I’m not really looking for him to go out there for the seventh inning,”
Riggleman said before Saturday night’s game at Dodger Stadium. “If we
were to get six innings out of him, that would be a huge step. If he got
five, that would be a good number to build on for his next one.”

Strasburg, of course, was mowing batters down before complaining of discomfort in his shoulder before his July 28 start.  Through 51.1 innings and nine starts this season, he’s posted a 5-2 record with a 2.32 ERA and 75 strikeouts.

Ken Giles: ‘I’m actually enjoying the game more than I did for my entire tenure in Houston’

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Blue Jays closer Ken Giles hasn’t exactly turned things around since joining the Blue Jays on July 31, when the club sent embattled closer Roberto Osuna to the Astros. Giles posted a 4.99 ERA in 30 2/3 innings with the Astros, then put up a slightly less miserable 4.58 ERA in 17 2/3 innings with the Jays. Still, he’s much happier with the Jays than he was with the Astros, even after winning the World Series with them last year. He said to Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star, “I’m actually enjoying the game more than I did for my entire tenure in Houston. It’s kind of weird to say that because I won a World Series with that team. But it’s like, I just felt trapped there. I didn’t feel like myself there. Overall, I felt out of place.”

Giles also said “the communication was lost” with the Astros and it was something that came easy with the Jays. He said, “When I came here, they stayed patient with me. I said hey, I want to work on this thing till I’m comfortable. All right. OK, I’m comfortable, let’s move on to this next thing. Pitching, you can’t just try to fix everything at once. For me, I had to take baby steps to get my groove back. The Jays allowed me to do that. Yeah, the team was out of contention, but it doesn’t matter. It’s still my career. I still have to prove myself. Them being so patient with me, understanding what I want to do, was very, very big.”

Giles, 28, has two more years of arbitration eligibility remaining. He has shown promise despite his overall mediocre numbers. In non-save situations this season (with both the Astros and Jays), he has a 9.12 ERA. But in save situations, his ERA is a pristine 0.38. Giles could be a closer the Jays find themselves leaning on as they attempt to get back into competitive shape. Since it sounds like Giles is quite enamored with Toronto and with the Blue Jays, a discussion about a contract extension certainly could be had.