Red Sox release Mark Prior from Triple-A

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Yesterday the Red Sox acquired reliever Pedro Beato from the Mets to complete the Kelly Shoppach trade and to make room for Beato on the Triple-A roster today they released Mark Prior.

Prior had impressively racked up 38 strikeouts in 25 innings as a reliever for Pawtucket, holding opponents to a .172 batting average. So why would the Red Sox release him from Triple-A? Because he couldn’t throw the ball over the plate, walking 23 batters in those 25 frames.

That includes a 15/13 K/BB ratio in 15 innings over his last 10 appearances, during which time Prior coughed up seven runs.

Obviously with nearly 14 strikeouts per nine innings and a sub-.200 batting average against there’s still some juice left in Prior’s oft-injured arm and he’s still only 31 years old, but he hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2006 and clearly wasn’t going to get an opportunity with the Red Sox.

Nationals to reinstate Max Scherzer on Thursday

Max Scherzer
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Some good news for the Nationals today: All-Star hurler Max Scherzer is due back from the injured list this week, this time (hopefully) for good. He’s slated to start during Thursday’s series finale against the Pirates.

It’s been a long road back for the right-hander, who earned his seventh consecutive All-Star designation after heading into the break with a 2.30 ERA, 5.6 fWAR, and a league-leading 7.56 SO/BB rate. An untimely back injury forced him to the injured list in the days leading up to the All-Star Game, however, and he hasn’t returned in any kind of part-time or full-time capacity since.

While Scherzer was originally expected to pitch for the Nationals sometime during their weekend series versus the Brewers, manager Dave Martinez elected to push back his return date by a few days. It’s not clear whether he felt some lingering pain during his 64-pitch simulated start on Saturday or whether the Nationals simply want to play it safe with their ace, but either way, the club apparently feels like Scherzer will be back to full strength before the end of the week.

If so, his return would be a significant asset to the Nationals, who could use a sub-3.00 ERA, 5.0-fWAR starter to help bolster their standing in the NL East. Still, there’s no guarantee that the veteran righty is ready to shoulder a full-time role in Washington’s rotation, nor is it certain that he’ll be able to match his results from the first half of the season. In one start between IL stints last month, he dealt five innings of three-run, two-walk, eight-strikeout ball in an 8-7 loss to the Rockies.