Diamondbacks place Cliff Pennington on the disabled list, call up Didi Gregorius from Triple-A

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Didi Gregorius is back with the Diamondbacks after being demoted to Triple-A when he lost the shortstop job to Chris Owings, but this time he’s returning as an injury replacement for utility infielder Cliff Pennington.

Pennington is headed to the disabled list with a sprained thumb ligament and second baseman Aaron Hill has been banged up recently, so Arizona needed the infield depth.

Gregorius started 97 games at shortstop for the Diamondbacks last season and generally played well, but manager Kirk Gibson went with Chris Owings as the shortstop coming out of spring training. That sent Gregorius back to Triple-A, where he’s hit .310 with three homers and an .836 OPS in 57 games, which is good but not spectacular in a hitter-friendly environment like Reno of the Pacific Coast League.

It seems unlikely that Gregorius will steal a ton of playing time from Owings, but it would be a chance for the Diamondbacks to showcase the 24-year-old a bit for a potential trade to a team that would use him as their everyday shortstop.

Stephen Strasburg homers, knocks in five runs vs. Braves

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Stephen Strasburg‘s bat was on fire Thursday night in Atlanta. He hit a three-run home run off of Touki Toussaint to cap off an eight-run third inning, then added a two-run single off of Toussaint in the fifth.

The last time a pitcher knocked in at least five runs was on April 11, 2014 when Madison Bumgarner homered and drove in five runs at home against the Rockies. Strasburg is just the seventh pitcher since 2000 to knock in five runs in one game. The others, along with Strasburg and Bumgarner:

  • Chris Carpenter (Cardinals) vs. Reds, October 1, 2009 (HR, 6 RBI)
  • Jason Marquis (Cubs) vs. Mets, September 22, 2008 (HR, 5 RBI)
  • Micah Owings (Diamondbacks) vs. Braves, August 18, 2007 (2 HR, 6 RBI)
  • Robert Person (Phillies) vs. Expos, June 2, 2002 (HR, 7 RBI)
  • Shawn Estes (Giants) vs. Expos, May 24, 2000 (HR, 5 RBI)

Strasburg is 3-for-3 overall as he also singled to lead off the third. Tonight’s homer marked the fourth of his career and he’s now up to 25 RBI.

Strasburg is performing well on the mound as well. At the time of this writing, he has held the Braves to a lone run on four hits and a walk with six strikeouts over four innings as the Nationals lead 10-1.