Bill Bray’s deal with Nationals has June opt-out clause

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Bill Bray was signed to compete for a spot in the Nationals’ bullpen, but the left-hander has already been reassigned to minor league camp and figures to begin the season at Triple-A.

And he might be there for a while, because James Wagner of the Washington Post dug into the details of Bray’s contract and found that he has an opt-out clause in June. That’s much later than the typical opt-out clause and means the Nationals can get a long look at Bray in the minors before deciding whether he fits into their plans.

Bray was hurt for most of last season and has a long history of injuries, but when healthy he’s been an effective setup man and posted a 3.40 ERA with 8.7 strikeouts per nine innings in 114 appearances between 2010 and 2011.

Marcus Stroman dealing with blister again

Marcus Stroman
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Blue Jays right-hander Marcus Stroman might be headed to the disabled list soon, manager John Gibbons told reporters following Friday’s rain-shortened loss to the Yankees. The righty lasted just four innings on the mound before calling it a night, and gave up five runs, six hits and two walks in a performance that Gibbons claimed was at least partially affected by recurring blister issues on his right middle finger. Now, it looks like he might be removed from the rotation for some much-needed rest and rehabilitation; if so, it’ll be his second such stint this year.

Stroman, 27, has struggled to return the kind of winning record and sub-4.00 ERA that characterized his previous seasons with the club, mostly due to the combined seven weeks he missed with blisters on his throwing hand and chronic fatigue in his right shoulder. In a recent start against the Rays, things got even more gruesome when his blister appeared to start bleeding in the middle of his outing and MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm notes that the wound has constantly interfered with the right-hander’s pitch selection and delivery. When healthy, Stroman has managed a 4-8 record through 18 starts in 2018 with a career-worst 5.27 ERA, 3.2 BB/9 and 6.8 SO/9 in 100 2/3 innings. This will be the first year since 2015 in which he has not logged at least 200 innings in a single season.

While Stroman may not need an extended stay on the DL before he returns to the mound, it’s not clear what kind of timetable the Blue Jays expect for his recovery. He’s been the second-most valuable starter (behind the now-traded J.A. Happ) in a rotation that currently ranks 17th in the majors with a combined 4.90 ERA and 6.8 fWAR.