Colby Rasmus benched by Blue Jays: “I’m just sitting around watching these rookies play”

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Blue Jays center fielder Colby Rasmus hasn’t been playing as much lately and Tuesday manager John Gibbons made it official, telling the 28-year-old he’s been benched.

Or as Rasmus said to John Lott of the National Post:

I’ll be playing whenever they think I should play and I’m just going to be sitting around watching these rookies play. … I’m not down about it. No hard feelings. I’m just going to come in and pull for these boys and hope they do good.

Rasmus has been the Blue Jays’ starting center fielder since they acquired him from the Cardinals in mid-2011, but he’s failed to live up to the promise he showed in St. Louis. Combined in three-plus seasons in Toronto he’s hit .234 with a .725 OPS, including .225 with 16 homers and a .726 OPS in 95 games this season.

The homers are nice and overall Rasmus’ production has been decent for a center fielder offensively, but he’s an impending free agent and the Blue Jays have no intention of re-signing him. Expect to see a lot of 25-year-old rookie Kevin Pillar and 23-year-old rookie Anthony Gose in his place down the stretch.

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.