Fausto Carmona throws simulated game, declares himself “ready to go”

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On the disabled list with a quadriceps injury suffered while running the bases two weeks ago, Fausto Carmona threw a three-inning simulated game yesterday and declared himself “ready to go.”

He threw 50 pitches and is now on track to return from the disabled list Monday against the Twins, although as Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports Carmona will have to pass a few more agility tests over the weekend first.

Getting Carmona back healthy and effective is a big key for the Indians’ chances of hanging in contention down the stretch. He bounced back from a terrible 2009 season to throw 210 innings with a 3.77 ERA last year, making his first All-Star team, but followed that up by going 4-10 with a 5.78 ERA in 18 starts prior to being shut down with the quadriceps injury, including 1-7 with an 8.20 ERA in his last nine outings.

Healthy or not, Carmona is a huge question mark for the second half.

Pirates activate Starling Marte

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Pirates outfielder Starling Marte is back in the lineup after the team reinstated him from the 10-day disabled list on Saturday. Marte served the bare minimum on the DL after making a rapid recovery from the right oblique strain that sidelined him several weeks ago.

Prior to landing on the disabled list, the 29-year-old outfielder was off to a strong start. He slashed a robust .308/.366/.503 with six home runs, 10 stolen bases and an .869 OPS in 175 plate appearances with the team. This is the first time he’s dealt with an oblique issue, and the first DL stint he’s served since he suffered a bout of back tightness in 2016. While he has yet to prove he can bounce back to his pre-injury production levels, his quick recovery bodes well for a successful return to major-league play.

In a corresponding move, outfielder Jose Osuna was optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis. The move came as somewhat of a surprise, given that the Pirates elected to retain top prospect outfielder Austin Meadows rather than the more established Osuna. Meadows was recalled from Triple-A in the wake of Marte’s injury and has only played seven games at the major league level so far, but he’s already made a strong impression: he went 13-for-29 with three home runs, two stolen bases and five RBI since his call-up on May 18.