MLive.com’s James Schmehl reports that Tigers closer Joe Nathan threw off a mound for the first time since being diagnosed with a flexor strain in his right elbow. Nathan threw 15 pitches and reported feeling “awesome”. He’s on track to throw a bullpen on Monday. If things go as planned, Nathan could be activated from the disabled list on Wednesday.
Joakim Soria has been closing games out for the Tigers in the interim and has done a good job. In 5 2/3 innings, the right-hander has converted all four save opportunities with a 1.59 ERA and a 4/0 K/BB ratio. Per MLive.com’s Chris Iott, manager Brad Ausmus plans to put Nathan back in the closer’s role and Soria back as the set-up man. Nathan, now 40 years old, is coming off of a miserable 2014 campaign and struggled to open the season prior to his injury.
Last night Cubs catcher Willson Contreras was placed on the injured list with a strained muscle in his right foot. That injury inspired the Cubs to go out and get another catcher. They acquired Martín Maldonado in a trade with Kansas City in exchange for lefty Mike Montgomery, in a deal that was announced after the Cubs loss to the Reds.
Maldonado, 32, was a Gold Glove winner in 2017 with the Angels. At the moment he’s hitting .227 with six homers and 17 RBIs in 74 games. Obviously, though, defense is his calling card, as he’s a .220 career hitter with 57 homers and 210 RBIs in 686 games.
Montgomery, 30, is 1-2 with a 5.67 ERA in 20 relief appearances for the Cubs this year. He’s heading back to where his pro career began. He was drafted by Kanas City in 2008, though he was traded away in the James Shields/Wade David/Wil Myers deal in 2012. He made his big league debut for Seattle in 2015. Dayton Moore said last night that the Royals plan to use Montgomery in the rotation as a replacement for Homer Bailey, who was dealt to Oakland on Sunday.