Ian Desmond returns ahead of schedule from torn oblique

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Out since mid-July with a torn oblique muscle, Ian Desmond is off the disabled list and back in the Nationals’ lineup well ahead of schedule.

Desmond was having a breakout season before the injury, hitting .286 with 17 homers and an .825 OPS in 89 games while making his first All-Star team. In his absence manager Davey Johnson shifted Danny Espinosa from second base to shortstop and used Stephen Lombardozzi as the everyday second baseman.

To make room for Desmond’s return Washington designated veteran infielder Cesar Izturis for assignment.

Report: Rangers sign Jeff Mathis to two-year deal

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The Rangers have signed catcher Jeff Mathis to a two-year contract, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. The deal is pending a physical.

Mathis turns 36 years old at the end of March and has a career .564 OPS across 14 seasons, but he is well-regarded for his defense and ability to handle a pitching staff.

The arrival of Mathis could mean the Rangers are moving on from Robinson Chirinos behind the plate, as he is now a free agent. The Rangers could go after another catcher to complement Mathis or just have Isiah Kiner-Falefa back up Mathis. Though Kiner-Falefa mostly played elsewhere, including three spots across the infield, he did rack up over 300 defensive innings behind the plate in 2018.